Top Cars Made in America: Foreign Companies

Last Updated Jun 30, 2010 5:51 PM EDT

This is the second of two posts on Cars Made in America. The earlier post is Great Cars Made in America: U.S. Companies
Celebrating the Fourth of July makes us want to do a little holiday shopping. And when shopping for cars, many of us prefer ones made in America to support the jobs they create and the contribution to our economy. But it's often difficult to be sure what "Made in America" means these days, since most vehicles assembled here have at least some parts made elsewhere.

Just in time for America's birthday, however, Cars.com has calculated the most American vehicles, based on the percentage of parts made domestically, and where they are assembled. In this calculation, models rated most American can be from foreign brands. Toyota and Honda, which have had U.S. factories for more than 25 years, have five of the top 10 on this list. Not surprisingly, five of the top ten most American models are from Detroit's Big Three-General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. We discussed those in our earlier post.
Today, we look at the five from Toyota and Honda-including two of the top-selling models in the U.S., Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. (Camry is also, the No. 1 most-American vehicle in the Cars.com compilation.) Here's a closer look at these cars from Japanese companies in the order they finished on Cars.com's list:
Toyota Camry-Assembled in Georgetown, Ky. and Lafayette, Ind., Camry has long been the best-selling car in America, prized for its comfort and reliability. But the Toyota recall in January of the Camry and other models for a sudden acceleration problem has made many buyers nervous. All 2011 Toyota models will include a brake override system, which will stop the car even if the engine is revving. And Toyota says the 2010 Camrys still on sale have been retrofitted with brake override systems. Reviewers continue to praise Camry's comfort but, as before, say that some competitors are more fun to drive. Toyota initiated the spring round of rebates and low-rate financing, but after a sales surge has now dropped incentives on the Camry. (See Grab These Car Deals While You Can). The popular LE version of the Camry (with mileage ratings of 22 mpg city, 32 highway) is selling for an average of $20,900 or $330 over dealer invoice price, according to auto web site Edmunds.com.

Honda Accord-The Accord is both a perennial on Car and Driver's 10 Best Cars List and the top mid-size entry in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study for fewest defects and problems found by new-car buyers. Reviewers find it roomy and comfortable and with a bit sportier performance than competitor Camry. The Accord LX (assembled in Marysville, Ohio and Lincoln, Ala. with mileage ratings of 21 mpg city, 31 highway) is selling for an average of $19,650, according to Edmunds-or $885 below dealer invoice. Honda is offering 0.9% financing for two or three years to buyers with a good credit rating and a three-year lease at $199 per month with $1,800 down.

Honda Odyssey-As with the Accord, Honda has given Odyssey a combination of comfort and performance. Reviewers habitually class it as the best minivan to drive. A redesign of the Odyssey, assembled in Lincoln, Ala., will arrive for the 2011 model year. But you can buy a 2010 Odyssey (mileage rated at 16 mpg city, 23 highway) for an average of $23,767 or $1,240 below the dealer invoice price. Honda offers 1.9% financing for two or three years and a three-year lease at $249 a month with no down payment.

Toyota Tundra-The Tundra is Toyota's entry in the full-size pickup market traditionally dominated by Detroit brands. Reviewers praise its powerful V-8 engine for its towing and hauling capacity but say the Tundra isn't as comfortable as more recently redesigned competitors like the Ford F-150. Tundra, assembled in San Antonio with rated mileage of 15 mpg city, 19 highway, is selling in its base model regular cab for $22,095 including a $1,000 rebate. Or you can pass on the rebate and get 0% financing for three, four or five years if your credit rating qualifies you. The 2010 models do not have the brake override, but the 2011 models with override included go on sale in early August.

Toyota Sienna-Sienna can boast both a top finish among minivans in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and an escape from the widespread sudden acceleration recall of Toyota models. Reviewers praise the combination of driveability, interior space and manufacturing quality. A redesigned 2011 Sienna--which reviewers praise for its exterior redesign--is already on sale . But you also can buy a 2010 Sienna for an average of $23, 225-or $40 below the dealer's invoice price. Like Camry, Toyota no longer offers rebates, low-rate financing or special lease deals on the Sienna

Photos courtesy of the manufacturers

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.

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