The 21 Most Surprising “American” Cars

You hear it all the time in the U.S.: “Buy American.” It’s a marketing effort for Americans to purchase products that are made in the good old U.S. of A. instead of opting for foreign-made goods, which are often less expensive. Probably the most prominent “Buy American”-influenced industry has been passenger vehicles.

But unlike a couple of decades ago, you can’t really tell where a car, truck, minivan, or sport utility vehicle was made just by its hood ornament. Because globalization has swept through the automaking industry, many American cars have parts that are manufactured overseas, while numerous foreign-based carmakers actually assemble their products here in America. In other words, that “Japanese” car might be more American than the brand your father used to drive.

Here are 21 examples of passenger vehicles sold by foreign brands that are actually assembled here in the U.S.

1. Toyota Camry

Made in: Georgetown, Kentucky and Lafayette, Indiana

The hot-selling Camry is so red, white, and blue that it was named’s “Most American” car of 2012.

2. Toyota Sienna

Made in: Princeton, Indiana

The Sienna minivan jumped up a couple spots to #4 on’s Top 10 Most American Cars list from a year ago, and its plant is just 170 miles away from its sister facility in Lafayette.

3. Toyota Tundra

Made in: San Antonio, Texas

Toyota’s third entry on’s list is the second-most American pickup truck behind the Ford F-150.

4. Honda Accord

Made in: Marysville, Ohio

Coming in at number 3 on’s list, the Accord will be joined at the Marysville plant by the Acura NSX in the next few years.

5. Honda Pilot

Made in: Lincoln, Alabama

The automaker’s Pilot SUV is also U.S.-made, as are about 87% of all Honda vehicles sold in America.

6 – 9. BMW X3, X5, X6, Z4

Made in: Spartanburg, South Carolina

By year’s end, some 7,500 people will be employed at the Spartanburg plant assembling the Z4 sports car and the three “X” sport utility vehicles.

10 – 12. Mercedes-Benz M-Class, GL-Class, R-Class

Made in: Tuscaloosa County, Alabama

The daily power required to produce the R-Class crossover and the GL-Class and M-Class SUVs at the Alabama plant could power 8,400 homes.

13 & 14. Kia Sorrento, Optima

Made in: West Point, Georgia

This new Georgia plant, which is practically a stone’s throw from the Alabama line, makes the Sorrento SUV and the Optima sedan.

15. Hyundai Elantra

Made in: Montgomery, Alabama

For 2012, the Elantra sedan will have a fuel economy rating of 29mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway.

16. Volkswagen Passat

Made in: Chattanooga, Tennessee

VW’s first American plant was built last year, and it’s the only automaking facility in the United States to achieve the coveted LEED Platinum designation for environmental sustainability.

17 – 21. Nissan Altima, Maxima, Xterra, Pathfinder, Frontier

Made in: Smyrna, Tennessee

About 110 miles northwest of the VW plant, Nissan can crank out half a million vehicles per year when its only plant in the U.S. is at full capacity.

Now that you know you want a U.S.-made car, it’s time to talk about auto insurance. Get a quick, easy – and affordable – car insurance quote today with

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