Many of our customers are rightfully proud of the American Automotive Industry and we occasionally hear from customers that they prefer American auto parts. As a veteran owned shop we completely understand that sentiment, but want to explain why the answer is complicated.
Let’s start at car models and work our way down to individual parts. What exactly should be considered in order to call a car American Made? This one paragraph from the Chicago Tribune illustrates the problem well.
…if you’re buying the redesigned S60 sedan. Volvo just opened its first plant in the U.S. on June 20 in Ridgeville, S.C. The Swedish brand owned by a Chinese multinational with an American factory invested $1.1 billion in the area just inland from the port city of Charleston. It makes the S60 and will employ up to 4,000 people to make the XC90 SUV in 2021.
A foreign brand, owned by a foreign company has a significant impact on the American economy, because of those employed in manufacturing the car here in the States. Cars.com has created one way to evaluate a car’s impact on the American economy. They call it the American-Made Index.
The Jeep Cherokee ranks number one on Cars.com’s 2018 American-Made Index and is manufactured nearby in Belvidere, Illinois. It contains 72% domestic auto parts. However, Honda ranks highest, as a company, with four cars listed in the top ten. Across all their brands, GM (which includes Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC brands) has the most vehicles that qualified for the index.
All the challenges of determining if a car model is American made are there when you ask the question about car parts. For instance, Toyo tires (a common new part here at Hi-Tech) is a tire manufactured here in the US by a Japanese company from rubber sourced out of south-east Asia and Brazil and synthetic rubber that is made from oil (a truly global raw material.) Unfortunately, there is no similar index of American made car parts to help us with this question. There are simply too many parts to have a comprehensive index.
Whether or not a car part is American made goes beyond the brand name on the package. High standards for quality and longevity of parts have always been important to our shop. The American auto industry is a big factor in that high standard and we are proud to be a small part of that industry.