Made in the USA: 7 of the best cars made here

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    Along with fireworks and hot dogs, celebrating the Fourth of July may put you in mind to be sure any car you buy is Made in the USA. But in this era of globalization, deciding which vehicles deserve that label is increasingly complicated.

    European and Asian companies hire American workers to assemble cars in this country. Honda (HMC) and Toyota (TM) make parts here as well. But those profits still go to foreign companies.

    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 better rankings for cars made by General Motors (GM) and Ford (F). Jeep and other Chrysler Group products also rank relatively well even though Chrysler now is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU).

    Associate Professor Frank DuBois of American's Kogod School of Business, an expert on the global supply chain, notes that his index goes beyond the data required by the American Automotive Labeling Act, which includes both U.S.- and Canadian-made components as "American" parts for its ranking. He argues that his calculations give the fullest possible picture of which vehicles most support U.S. jobs and company earnings.

    We know shoppers want not only an American-made car but one that looks good, performs well and fits their needs. So, we looked at seven categories of vehicles for models that scored 75 or above (out of a possible 100) and also ranked well in reviews compiled by U.S. News Best Cars.

    Here's more about these models.

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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.