While celebrating American independence this Fourth of July, you may wish you could buy a car made in the U.S.A. and free of foreign influences. But in this era of globalization, deciding which cars deserve the Made in America label is trickier than ever.
The traditional approach was scored according to where a car was assembled and where the parts were made. But now, German and Japanese car companies hire American workers to assemble their vehicles. And Honda (HMC) and Toyota (TM) even make parts here. But those profits still go home to headquarters in other countries.
An index calculated by an American University professor takes all those factors into account -- not only parts and assembly but where the parent company is based and where research and development is done. The result is higher rankings especially for cars made by General Motors (GM). Ford Motor (F) also ranks well, as does Chrysler Group, now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) .
Frank DuBois of American's Kogod School of Business, an expert on the global supply chain, notes that his Made in America Auto Index goes beyond the data required by the American Automotive Labeling Act, which includes both U.S. and Canadian manufacture as "American" parts for its ranking.
"This index is an alternative ranking system that provides consumers with the most accurate reflection of the true country of origin of a car and the impact of its purchase on the U.S. economy," he said. "That helps consumers make sense of automakers' marketing claims."
Just being an American-made car isn't enough for many shoppers. They also want one that looks good, performs well and fits their needs. So we looked at cars that scored 75 or above (out of a possible 100) in the Kogod Made in America index -- and also ranked well in reviews compiled by U.S. News Best Cars.
Read on for a closer look at seven of the vehicles with the combined best ratings, ranked in order of their score on the American-made index.