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In pictures: Where are the most-American-made vehicles built?

  by Byron Hurd

In pictures: Where are the most-American-made vehicles built?

Last month, Cars.com released its 2017 "American Made Index" (or AMI), its annual attempt to identify vehicles both built in the United States and from American parts content.  

As they learned, defining American-made vehicles has become more nebulous than ever. So complex is the global marketplace that they were forced to overhaul their methodology, which no longer rewards volume the way it once did. 

You can read more about Cars.com's methodology at the above link. We decided to take a look at their data from a different angle. The AMI tells you which cars are American-made, but not quite as much about the Americans who build them. 

With that in mind, we compared 2017's sales figures to the AMI and came up with a list of our own: These are the six states (and one commonwealth) where those cars are built, ranked by the volume sold so far in 2017. 

#7 - Illinois

Illinois is home to only one car on the AMI, and not one that sells in much volume, but it's one of the most American cars on the list. The Ford Taurus ranks at #3 on the 2017 American Made Index, but unfortunately, it's not responsible for much volume. Just 23,702 examples have been sold so far this year. 

#6 - Kentucky

From the Midwest, we move to the American South. Kentucky may not be a big volume producer on this list, but it is home to the Ford Expedition--#7 on the AMI. The Expedition was just redesigned, so the current model is a bit of a lame duck. Still, Ford has sold 31,117 of them. That's good enough to keep the Commonwealth off the bottom of this list. 

#5 - Tennessee

South of the border in Tennessee, you'l find GM's Spring Hill facility, the home of the Acadia crossover. Acadia is a bit more of a volume player than the Expedition, pushing Tennessee up to fifth on this list with 55,995 units sold so far in 2017. 

#4 - Alabama

Alabama, the land of wayward Brooklyn youts (SIC) and hardspackle Southern law is also home to a great deal of automobile manufacturing. Ironically, it's import nameplates that put this southern stronghold firmly in the American column, thanks to the Honda Pilot (62,174 units), Honda Odyssey (64,661) and Honda Ridgeline (18,596). Honda's far from the only automaker moving metal in Alabama; it just happens to be the most American. 

#3 - Missouri

Missouri, like Illinois and Kentucky, makes this list for just one model, but it's one that won't shock anybody. The Ford F-150, produced in the Kansas City Assembly Plant, puts Missouri's squarely on the map of American-made automobiles. Ford tells us production of the F-150 is split between Kansas City and Dearborn roughly 53/47--enough to keep Missouri behind the number-two producer of American-made cars. 

#2 - Michigan

Michigan, like several others we've mentioned before, makes this list on the strength of a single model, and it should be no surprise which one that is. As we mentioned before, F-150s are produced predominantly in Dearborn, giving Michigan the edge over Missouri in this list. 

One note: heavy-duty trucks are exempt from the AALA (American Automobile Labeling Act), excluding them from these rankings. Making matters more complicated is the fact that Ford does not separate its various F-Series model production figures, meaning we're forced to rely on production estimates rather than hard numbers.

Still, we're confident that these estimates are plenty accurate enough for these purposes. 

#1 - Ohio

Residents call Ohio the "Heart of it All," and we're certain FCA agrees. That's because it produces one of the country's most iconic cars, and, according to the AMI, the single most American; the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited took top honors in this year's AMI rankings. 

Toledo is also home to the Jeep Cherokee (ranked #2 on the AMI) and, a little further south in East Liberty (near Honda's Marysville headquarters), you'll find the home of the Acura RDX (#5).