Once considered an American EV startup, automaker Tesla has progressed far beyond that status now, though it still holds the American part at its core.
That's why Tesla landed the first four spots in the 2023 Cars.com American-Made Index ranking. According to the index, the top 10 most American-made cars are:
- Tesla Model Y
- Tesla Model 3
- Tesla Model X
- Tesla Model S
- Honda Passport
- Volkswagen ID.4
- Honda Odyssey
- Acura MDX
- Honda Ridgeline
- Acura RDX
Gallery: 2021 Tesla Model Y
Cars.com explains the criteria for making the list and it's a bit more complex than you might think, so we've included it below:
The AMI’s criteria for judgment include percentage of domestic parts content and country of origin both for engines and transmissions, but arguably its most important are U.S. manufacturing workforce and location of final assembly. Though the other factors are accounted for in scoring, without people on the ground in plants to build them, a car’s not making the list no matter the rest of its credentials.
Tesla got boosted higher up the list in this year's ranking due to Giga Austin coming online and producing vehicles in volume. The added American workforce pushed other Tesla vehicles up the list. Per Cars.com:
A substantial year-over-year boost in employment at its plant in Austin, Texas — where the No. 1-ranked Model Y is produced — aided all Teslas in our workforce calculations and ultimately lifted the Model X and Model S, lagging of yesteryear, to complete the sweep.
With Tesla capturing the top 4 spots, there's no doubt it's the most American-made automaker out there, but Volkswagen grabbing the sixth spot with the ID.4 is a bit of a surprise. Initial production of the ID.4 for US consumption was based in Germany. However, more recently, VW started producing the US ID.4 in Tennessee and that move was enough to place it sixth on the list.
If you're thinking, why didn't Rivian make the cut (in fact, it's not even on the list of the top 100) that's because the weight of the R1T and R1S put both outside of the light-duty vehicle category. Likewise for the GMC Hummer EV pickup truck and SUV. The upcoming Tesla Cybertruck will probably exceed the 8,500-pound weight limit too, which means it doesn't have to comply with the American Automobile Labeling Act and therefore it won't make the rankings.
Lucid presumably didn't make the cut due to it small workforce here in the US. However, the Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV also didn't make the cut. Looking at the criteria, it seems both were disqualified due to the fact that they are being discontinued.
A few more EVs made the top 100 American-Made list:
- 38. Ford F-150 Lightning
- 92. Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV
- 93. Nissan Leaf
Looking at automakers as a whole, the top three for share of US light-duty sales from domestic assembly for the 2023 Model Year are as follows:
- Tesla Inc. (Tesla): 100.0%
- Ford Motor Co. (Ford, Lincoln): 77.5%
- Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (Acura, Honda): 73.1%
Tesla again leads by a wide margin and will likely retain that 100% figure for the foreseeable future.