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Published: Saturday, 7/14/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Toyota Camry voted most American car

Factory site, parts source among factors for rankings

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The 2012 Toyota was judged the most American car for 2012, for the fourth year in a row. The rankings by Cars.com put the Toledo-built Jeep Liberty eighth on the list. Wrangler did not make the cut. The 2012 Toyota was judged the most American car for 2012, for the fourth year in a row. The rankings by Cars.com put the Toledo-built Jeep Liberty eighth on the list. Wrangler did not make the cut.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES Enlarge

Baseball and apple pie, sure. But Chevrolet? Try Toyota.

According to Cars.com, the Toyota Camry is the most "American" of cars in 2012.

The automotive Web site recently released its annual "American-Made Index," and despite its Japanese roots, the Camry again claimed the top spot.

Cars.com uses a formula that takes into account where the car is built, the percentage of American-sourced parts, and U.S. sales to spit out its rankings. It's the fourth straight year the Camry has been No. 1.

"When people think about buying an 'American' car, they might just think automatically of the Detroit Three," said Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com. "In reality, this classification isn't as cut and dry as it used to be."

The Ford Edge and Chevrolet Camaro are assembled in Canada, and Dodge builds its Journey in Mexico. Meanwhile, Hyundai builds its Sonata in Alabama, the Volkswagen Passat is built in Tennessee, and the BMW X3 is built in South Carolina.

Parts are sourced the world over.

That's what kept the Toledo-built Jeep Wrangler, which placed seventh last year, off this year's list. To make the cut, vehicles must have at least 75 percent of their parts domestically sourced.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Wrangler comes in at 71 percent.

The Liberty, Toledo's other Jeep, did make the list, placing eighth.

The Camry, which is the best-selling car in the United States so far this year, is built in Georgetown, Ky., and Lafayette, Ind.

The top-selling Ford F-150 pickup was No. 2, and the Honda Accord, which is built in Marysville, Ohio, was No. 3. Rounding out the list were the Toyota Sienna, Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Tundra, the Liberty, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave.

For many U.S. buyers, American-made still matters -- and where a car is built is more important than the badge on the hood.

A recent survey from AutoTrader.com found 41 percent of car shoppers say it is important to buy a vehicle built in the United States by U.S. workers, while 28 percent of shoppers said buying a car made by a U.S. company was important.

Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights at AutoTrader.com, said consumers pay attention to those distinctions. "There is awareness when a company builds a car in America, even if it's not an American company," he said in a phone interview.

Of the buyers AutoTrader surveyed who said buying an American-built car was important, a large majority said their reasoning was a belief it supports the U.S. economy and protects U.S. jobs. For foreign car companies that build cars on U.S. soil, Mr. Wainschel said the results show they can benefit from making sure people know that.

In case you were wondering, the least-American American-made car might be the Ford Fiesta. According to the safety agency, only 15 percent of the Fiesta's components are domestically sourced, and the economy car is assembled in Mexico.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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