Once considered an EV startup, automaker Tesla has progressed far beyond that status now, recently landing the top four spots in Cars.com's 2023 American-Made Index ranking.
According to the index, the top 10 most American-made cars are:
1. Tesla Model Y
2. Tesla Model 3
3. Tesla Model X
4. Tesla Model S
5. Honda Passport
6. Volkswagen ID.4
7. Honda Odyssey
8. Acura MDX
9. Honda Ridgeline
10. Acura RDX
Cars.com explained the criteria for making the list and it's a bit more complex than you might think:
"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," Cars.com said. "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 further boosted in this year's rankings due to Giga Austin coming online and producing vehicles in volume.
"A substantial year-over-year boost in employment at its plant in Austin, TX---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," Cars.com said.
With Tesla capturing the top four spots, there's no doubt it's the most American-made automaker out there. Volkswagen grabbing the sixth spot with the ID.4 is a bit of a surprise. Initial production of the ID.4 for U.S. consumption was based in Germany. However, VW started producing the U.S. ID.4 in Tennessee, enough to place it sixth on the list.
If you're wondering why Rivian didn't 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 won't make the rankings.
Lucid presumably didn't make the cut due to its small workforce here in the U.S. 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 they are being discontinued.
A few more EVs made the top 100 American-Made list: the Ford F-150 Lightning came in 38th, the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is 92nd and the Nissan Leaf is 93rd.
Looking at automakers as a whole, the top three for share of U.S. light-duty sales from domestic assembly for the 2023 Model Year are Tesla Inc. with 100%, Ford Motor Co. with 77.5% and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. with 73.1%. Tesla again leads by a wide margin and will likely retain that 100% figure for the foreseeable future.