June 25th, 2010
01:48 AM GMT
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(CNN) – People in the U.S. used to rail against imported cars that are “run on rice” (read: from Japan). Now it turns out the most corn-fed cars are from two Japanese automakers: Toyota and Honda.

Cars.com in Chicago released its annual ranking of vehicles deemed most “American” based on American production, percentage of domestic parts used and American sales volume. Half of the top 10 cars are made by the Japanese automakers.

Since the 1980s Japanese automakers have cultivated production facilities within the United States to be both closer to delivery in its largest market and undercut the anti-Japanese angst that rose with the country’s global stature and competitiveness in the world markets.

The ranking comes on the heels of Toyota’s announcement that European and North American operations will be run by European and North American managers to improve cross-country communications in the wake of the wave of recalls earlier this year.

Here’s how the most “Made in America” cars stack up, according to Cars.com.

Rank Make/Model U.S. Assembly Location

1. Toyota Camry; Georgetown, Ky.; Lafayette, Ind.

2. Honda Accord: Marysville, Ohio; Lincoln, Ala.

3. Ford Escape; Kansas City, Kan.

4. Ford Focus; Wayne, Mich.

5. Chevrolet Malibu; Kansas City, Kan.

6. Honda Odyssey Lincoln, Ala.

7. Dodge Ram 1500; Warren, Mich.

8. Toyota Tundra; San Antonio

9. Jeep Wrangler; Toledo, Ohio

10. Toyota Sienna; Princeton, Ind.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. William

    Not surprised. All down to built-quality, reliability and re-sale value at the end of 3/5 years of ownership.

    June 25, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  2. Kenny

    This explains why Toyota has been having problems with quality. Shoddy American products and workmanship.

    June 25, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  3. blueviewlaguna

    I have two Japanese cars – one built in the USA (Toyota) and one built in Japan (Nissan) – the build quality differences between the two are easy to see – welding of bodies, seams, weatherstripe fit, interior plastic moldings. The engines and transmissions are the same quality – both of these assemblies come from Japan.

    June 25, 2010 at 3:12 am |
  4. LH

    Having lived in Japan for many years, it's easy to see why. Honestly, it's just a cultural difference. In Japan, people have a very high tendency to do things right, even when doing menial tasks like sweeping streets or wiping down tables at Starbucks. There isn't a lot of creativity or flexibility, because everything is done as prescribed, but it results in unparalleled reliability.

    June 25, 2010 at 4:19 am |
  5. Heriberto Rodriguez

    I made a research in the early 90s for one of my class projects about the automotive industry; and I was surprised that back then even the big three American automakers had associations with Japanese manufacturers to produce better quality cars... In my conclusion, I stated that we would be better off buying a totally Japanese made cars than an American car with Japanese technology... I drive German made cars though... Oops!... I also have a Nissan. `:/

    June 25, 2010 at 4:28 am |
  6. Roger G

    So which one is better ? The Nissan made in Japan or the Toyota? Some say American workers might be less educated and more unionized and less committed and less loyal(typical American culture) than a Japanese . Is that a fair assessment you think? Or is it wrong to assume that? Didn't the acceleration problem occur in Japanese made Toyotas? I have a Nissan and I am happy with it and I get 32 mpg on the highway.

    June 25, 2010 at 4:34 am |
  7. Ricardo Jubelag

    Made in Japan and outside of Japan even of same model are not entirely the same in terms of quality and technology. Japan has higher specs/technology and grade than those made outside. Japan made quality is most reliable. As a worker Japanese are most quality conscious than the others. Must be a cultural value. While a quality maybe "passable" for outside of japan use,it will never passed in japan for domestic use. In other words, Japan gets the best quality, Europe and the Americas gets better while the rest can get good quality. It's good,better,best

    June 25, 2010 at 5:11 am |
  8. Zim

    Toyota got a raw deal on the acceleration issue.
    Strange that it became an issue just as the Hatoyama administration
    was getting ready to move the USA military base out of Okinawa.
    Now that Japan has agreed not to move the base
    all of a sudden CNN is not talking about Toyota acceleration problems.
    Also, USA government has alot vested in GM and Ford.
    Anyway, can not go wrong with Toyota, Nissan, Honda.
    Very good cars.

    June 25, 2010 at 6:28 am |
  9. scott

    From the 1980's to the early 2000's I had several Japanese and American autos. The Japanese cars were all going strong at 150k miles with little or no maintenance. My Mitsubishi pickup lasted 220k miles with only replacement of consumables and scheduled maintenance. My American cars all died shortly after the 100k mark - and had significant and costly failures throughout their short lives. Now I have two American-made Hondas. They both have had costly failures in their first 50k miles. At least I bought the extended warranty. In the future, I plan to only buy cars made in Japan. I figure with the extra lifetime, reduced maintenance expenses, and less chance of stranding, a Japanese car is worth about 4 times as much as an American car. "High-end" Cadillacs should sell for $10,000 to be competitive.

    June 25, 2010 at 6:43 am |
  10. jack

    Again CNN's sensationalist media hype. "Most 'made in U.S.A.' cars are Japanese". I count 5 out of 10. That's half. Which is not most.

    June 25, 2010 at 7:03 am |
  11. Andy

    I am not surprised. I will only buy a Japanese car built in Japan. I've long since given up on American cars or American built cars.

    June 25, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  12. Mike

    Take care of your American made cars and they'll run fine. My GMs are every bit as good as the Honda I owned and the ride in them is so much better and the seats aren't those little Japanese seats they put in their cars.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  13. Chris DeVeau

    I'm an American living in Europe, drive a BMW and a Nissan, and must say that every time I go to visit in the U.S. I end up renting an American Car. Each time I am shocked at the sloppy workmanship and quality of materials used.
    They do have some Americans cars that can be purchased over here, and the quality is just slightly better for the European market bur still nowhere close to European or Japanese products.
    As a result American cars sell very poorly in Europe and are often ridiculed. It's a pity but it can be no surprise – people want all they can get for their money.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  14. Blessing

    Japanesse cars are not only making waves in America alone, but also in Africa especially Nigeria where all you see are mostly Toyota and Honda. They are easy to maintain but Honda is mostly associated with shaft problems.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  15. Aaron

    Jack – in the artikel it states, "Half of the top 10 cars are made by the Japanese automakers.", e.g. 5 out of 10. Their claim stating more than half sold refers to the amount of cars sold, not the amount of cars in the ranking.

    June 25, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  16. Matt

    Jack: CNN stated that it was, and I quote directly from the article, "based on American production, percentage of domestic parts used and American sales volume." In the very next sentence, they say, and I quote again, "Half of the top 10 cars are made by the Japanese automakers." So your claim of "sensationalist media hype" misses its mark completely. Perhaps if you had better reading comprehension you wouldn't be stuck working on an assembly line somewhere....sheesh.

    While this is indeed an interesting piece, I wish this article could dig deeper and compare reliability over the years of manufacturers. I'm curious to see if Toyota really did have an increase in reported problems over the years (recent recall madness not included).

    June 25, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  17. rmsbl4

    @blueviewlaguna You say you can spot the differences, so which is better. Your post doesn't specify.

    June 25, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  18. Carman

    Roger G:

    To answer your question about the Toyota accelerator pedal recall, as far as I know the recalled cars were only Anerican made. In fact, the defective parts were designed and made by an American supplier, CTS, which also supplies parts to the domestic car companies.

    June 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  19. Def_Kat

    As far as reliability is concerned, I have an 8 year old Corolla with 130K+ miles on it and the only issue I've had with it was the A/C compressor dying last month. No biggie – got it replaced with a used one for under $200 (parts and labour included). Aside from regular maintenance (oil changes, tire changes, transmission fluid, etc) I haven't really invested much in it. It's a great car. This car was built in Canada, not the US or Japan and had some minor problems (gaps in dash panels) but nothing major. I am definitely buying another Toyota again, whether made in Japan or North America. They're great cars. My dad just retired his 13 year old Corolla with 200K+ miles on it because the brake lines rusted (after 13 years of driving in the salt and snow of the great white north, not the end of the world). Everyone in my family and fiance's family drive a Toyota and plan on continuing in the future. No matter what the US gov't does to try to stop their sales, people will keep coming back because they are great cars.
    After all the law suit nonsense is over, I'd love to find out how many of the plaintifs go out and buy more Toyotas. I bet there will be quite a few!

    June 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  20. james

    It's funny how Americans, Talk down about American Car builders and people who work in the Car Factories. Most work hard, do the best they can to make the cars well, but you guys make them sound lazy, ignorant, and stupid. What are you guys saying of your selves do you think your inferior. I still like American cars better, I like The Chevy HHR, the Escape, The Chevy Cobalt. the Ford Ranger, Mustang. I am not a Fan of Civic, altma, Getta, Tundra. So here's one for the US aUTOS OUT THERE

    June 26, 2010 at 2:59 am |
  21. Carl

    As an American ex-pat living in Japan for over 20 years, I have learned how the Japanese are more concerned about quality than in most countries, and at times, it is almost an obsession...it can be at times funny to see how articulate they can be in a simple dinner or the way something is packaged or presented.

    I know that there are those in the USA and other countries that wish to produce the highest quality possible, but there needs to be a major revolutionary change in the mind set of both company leadership and the average employee as well.

    I may strike a bad nerve in saying that there seems to be so much more concern as for what kind of benefits people get from their employment than what they are actually doing to benefit their employer-which should mean better benefits for all involved. I am from the old school of believing the customer comes first and if you take care of them (within reason), they will take care of you. This includes customer service at which many companies in the USA (I am involved in importing to here from USA) seem to have little desire to make many transactions work and show little effort in them....unless there is a very big dollar sign attached to it. I can think of at least 7 different companies (a couple are major companies) that have declined terribly in their ability to make much effort in company-client relationships. This is something that Japan does so much better.

    To be honest, the younger generations here in Japan are also slowly becoming more uninterested (and in some cases almost apathetic) in quality as in just getting their monthly paycheck. And as long as their company comes through with their salary, just performing their work with minimum effort and just keeping quota.

    In the end, I think it is just another sorry sign of where society has degraded to simple greed and self-centeredness. I do hope there are those that can inspire others to do otherwise...

    June 26, 2010 at 4:49 am |
  22. Robert Barrows

    Take a look at the labels on the clothing you are wearing. Go into an electronics store. Where is all that stuff being made? What are the consequences of outsourcing all of that manufacturing to other countries? What are the social consequences?

    Along these lines, you might want to read a poem I wrote called “It used to be made in America.” You can see it online at http://www.itusedtobemadeinamerica.com. The poem is about the loss of jobs and the consequences of the outsourcing of jobs.

    It’s a business story. It’s a social story. It’s a national story. It’s a local story, and it paints a vivid picture of conflicting economic forces. If you would like to discuss it in further detail, please contact me at


    Robert Barrows
    R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations
    Burlingame, California
    email: barrows@barrows.com

    June 27, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  23. Strangewalk

    Some of the commentators are missing a point. We live in a throw-away world, and it has to be that way, we're trapped in it. If things don't wear out and break down, there will be few factories and few jobs.

    You can think of buying union made, USA cars that don't last as long as a tax that you are willingly paying to give someone else a job, so that he or she can buy the junk you make or the shoddy service you provide.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:55 am |
  24. J.L.W.

    Car manufactures owned and operated in U.S. lost the market for the following reasons.
    1.Poor management
    2.Huge power of labor unions
    3.Politicians who passed laws that helped foreign owned car
    companies. Foreigners learned the U. S. has the best politicans
    money can bur.

    Obma's move having government and unions take over business will
    be the last nail in the coffin. When will Americans wake up?

    June 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  25. ELK

    I'm an American in Japan and I can tell you that it's going to be difficult for anyone to produce like the Japanese do because of the cultural differences. You don't have to be stupid or lazy to lose to the Japanese, you can be quite capable but lose just the same.

    Japanese culture puts immense pressure on people to perform as well as not speak out. It helps to produce great cars and TVs, but it creates a lot of other problems like a suicide rate that is far higher than in the US. People seem that you can look at a few design examples and say that one country is better than the other but there is a tidal wave of different factors, both good and bad, that goes into that result.

    Would you like to see better US cars but also see the suicide rate increase? Would you like to see TVs manufactured in the US at plants that force unpaid overtime? Would you like to see "working to death" as an actual cause of death in the US? Would you like to lose innovation?

    I prefer to buy Japanese because overall the quality really is amazing. And the service is something that I really enjoy while living here. But...I can't say that I'd actually like being Japanese.

    July 1, 2010 at 4:19 am |
  26. Cambojah

    Japan is on winning spree with industrial army equipped with tools not guns.

    July 1, 2010 at 6:11 am |
  27. Aaron Poscovsky

    I had a Ford built in Mexico. The metal pull apart on some parts, and the driver seat broke lose from the floor.
    So, junk is built all over the world.

    July 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  28. J.L.W.

    U.S. has lost tow important industries to foreign interests. The car & steel industries. Who is to blame? The unions, Washington D.C.and to a lesser extent management of companies involved in those two important industries.

    The US has capable management that can operate these industries.
    The companies need to be owned and operated by the privet sector with available financing available.

    A major change needs to be made with the leadership in Washington and constraints put the power of Unions.

    This president, his administration and majority of legislators will not do this. A big change in Washington is crucial if.

    July 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  29. Nikhil


    Lmao, good one

    August 4, 2010 at 5:02 am |
  30. e-barke

    I think this is much bigger than the auto industry. I drive ony Amercan made cars and excluding one caddilac, all have been more then reliabe. I think the bigger discussion is that too many manufactoring jobs have been take out of this country first to Mexico now to China not for better quality but for cheaper cost both in labor and goverment regulations. The communicaitons and high tech industries are going the same way. As a nation I am afraid that we cannot sustain the American dream on the service sector.

    I believe both some of big business and our political leadership in both parties have lost thier sense of loyalty to the American public. I was in Japan for 3.5 yrs they are very proud and very nationalistic.

    We can keep nocking the American worker but my guess is that as many of the jobs that are going overseas are both from union as well as non-union facilities. Look at the mess we are in economically right now, it surely isn't because of Big Labor they only represent 3% fo the non goverment work force.

    I wish I had the answers but I don't. I just don't like where I see our great nation heading.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  31. GTO

    Total domenstic content doesn't make a vehicle american. It's a very clever buisiness strategy to assemble american imports over here. It helps solidify Japanese manufatures as non-threatening, but it doesn't address the real concern over buying imports. When we purchase a foreign car we are supporting the corporate structure that produced it. If its Japanese, where supporting Japanese engineering, Japanese corporate culture and foreign automotive industry control. We give up the creative license to maintain and keep american leadership in this industry. In essense we become the last man on the totum pole...assembly workers. I'd rather have my child grow up to have a chance and become an engineer, work for a buisiness that is controlled by americans than to become a line worker.

    November 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  32. Libby

    It seems like some of y'all need to read a little US history to understand where this country would be without labor unions - or just take a look at the working conditions in most of the countries to which we're outsourcing for cheap labor. Unions are not the problem and in fact are among the last bastions of any hope for a middle class in our country. What we need is some enforced patriotism by big business.

    February 20, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  33. Chris

    I've owned american and foreign vehicles...I totaled my Honda accord with 169000 miles on it and it was running like a top before the wreck. It was built in the US... by Americans... and it was a very good car. I now drive a Hyundai... and it is a very good car...I'm very pleased with the fit and finish (although insurance on Korean cars is a little high). My wife refuses to drive anything but Chevrolet Tahoes or GMC Yukon equivalent. One Tahoe made it to 100,000 miles... the newer Yukon started having steering and engine problems at 76,000 miles. Traded for another Yukon... hoping it lasts better. I'm a firm believer in buying american... but, cars and trucks are expensive... it's not like buying a toaster. I have to get my money's worth, as do most americans. I'm not sure that GM products (or Dodge, for that matter) ... but the Ford products have consistently been rated better quality than their japanese counterparts recently.

    May 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  34. speedyjerry

    All one need do is look at a new Chevy or Dodge in the sunlight at the sheet metal / plastic work, paint quality and fitting of the pieces. It's obvious the UAW workers smoke too much dope at work, it's disgusting.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
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