PORTLAND, Ore. (MainStreet) An automaker's headquarters in the U.S. doesn't guarantee it makes the "most American" vehicles on the road. Using U.S. labor is a bit more of a guarantee.
Buying from a U.S.-based maker won't guarantee you're getting an "American" car, nor will buying a car with a high percentage of American-made parts in that car if the vehicle isn't assembled here. Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration argues there's no such thing as a 100% "American" car, the United Auto Workers see things a bit differently.
More than 20 years ago, Congress passed the American Automobile Labeling Act requiring cars to have labels specifying their percentage of U.S./Canadian parts, the country of assembly and country of origin for the engine and transmission. Even with this information, however, representatives of the nearly 400,000 active members and 600,000 retired members of the UAW say the only way to ensure you're getting a quality American automobile built to the highest standards at decent wages is to buy a car built using union labor.
Union backer and detractors will continue to debate that point. Those who judge their "American-made" vehicle by who worked on it, however, tend to value the union label. We've gone through the UAW's list of union-made vehicles and found 10 standout models that are not only assembled here, but are prime examples of the best union shops have to offer:
Assembled: Lansing, Mich.
NHTSA percentage made in the U.S.: 70%