Thematically, when we imagine the Most American Car, we might think of the Ford F-150 or the Chevrolet Corvette or maybe the Jeep Wrangler. But for business-school nerds, there is no question whose answer cannot be deduced with a formula. So it is in this case with associate professor Frank DuBois, at American University’s Kogod School of Business. Taking as its start the domestic-parts content figure on every new car’s Monroney, his index further takes into account where the car and its major components are assembled and where the company headquarters and research-and-development centers are. His formula then spits out the answer to this almost existential question—and does so to one-tenth of a percent, no less.
Turns out there are five cars that are equally almost-all-American: the Buick Enclave, the Chevy Traverse, the GMC Acadia, the Chevy Corvette (automatic), and the Cadillac ATS coupe. All score an 87.5 out of 100 on the good professor’s ’Murican index. And clearly, all should come standard with at least two stars-and-stripes clip-on window flags.
GM isn’t all apple pie, however. The Australian-built Chevrolet SS/Caprice and the Korean-made Spark rang in with a positively un-American score of only 15.5.
Meanwhile, the Ford F-150? It scored an 82.5, tied for the top spot at the blue oval with the Expedition, the Explorer, and the Taurus. And the Jeep Wrangler (79) was just edged out by the Cherokee (79.5) as the most American offering at FCA.
Just behind the Wrangler, at 78.5, were the three foreign-brand models with the best showing: the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Camry, and the Toyota Sienna. Which pretty much makes sense.
Frankly, though, it’s more fun to think about this question without the formula. In that case, the most ’Murican car is the Ford Mustang. Or the Chevy Suburban. Or the anything Hellcat. It used to be the Hummer H1, that we’re pretty sure of. Before that, it was the Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am. Turns out, there have been plenty of Most American Cars in our nation’s history.