Tesla Model 3 named most American-Made car

Annual list considers a number of factors

Tesla may be on its way toward becoming a global automaker, with new plants in China and Germany, but it's still very much an American car company.

Tesla Model 3 sedans sold in the U.S. are built in Fremont, Calif.

Tesla Model 3 sedans sold in the U.S. are built in Fremont, Calif. (Tesla)

The Tesla Model 3 has been ranked number one on the Cars.com American-Made Index for 2021, marking the first time an electric car has taken the top spot, and the Model Y built at the same Fremont, Calif., factory finished third.

The annual survey compiles a number of factors including the final manufacturing location of the vehicle and its parts plus jobs created by its production. Components sourced from Canada are included, however, as they fall under the criteria of the American Automobile Labeling Act.

Tesla sold approximately 206,500 Model 3 sedans in the U.S. in 2020, according to GoodCarBadCar.net.

A survey by Cars.com found that 72% of American car shoppers consider the local economic impact of their purchase decision, which was up from 70% last year, while 29% say it is "unpatriotic" to buy an imported car.

"The 2021 AMI arrives against a backdrop of scarce inventory amid a microchip shortage and heightened consumer demand. Despite this, there remains a high consumer focus on buying American-made vehicles as the economy is still emerging from the effects of the pandemic. For those interested in making the biggest impact here, the index gives shoppers a way to purchase the most American-made vehicle," lead index researcher Kelsey Mays said.

Both Teslas are also built at its Shanghai factory, but all of the ones sold in the U.S. are sourced from California. The Michigan-made Ford Mustang coupe made its debut in the top 10 in second place, while Tesla-rivaling electric Mustang Mach-E was not on the list as it is imported from Mexico.

The Jeep Cherokee dropped two places from last year to fourth while the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray jumped from eighth to fifth despite a low supply due to manufacturing issues caused by parts supply problems.

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The Honda Ridgeline, Odyssey, Pilot and Passport, which all share a common architecture and are manufactured at the same Lincoln, Ala., factory ranked sixth through ninth, while the San Antonio-made Toyota Tundra rounded out the top 10.

Last year's number one, the Ford Ranger, dropped to 28th this year due in large part to a change in parts content, according to Cars.com.