American Made SUVs


The automotive industry has become a global enterprise. An American automotive company may make models entirely in another country while a Japanese automotive company may have a large manufacturing plant in the U.S.

Just because your SUV says Chevrolet on it, doesn’t mean it’s going to be made in America. And even if their manufacturing in a certain country, that doesn’t mean the parts are from that country. It’s a tangled automotive web of parts, assembly, and operations.

Made in America Auto Index 2020

A 2020 study from the American University shows which cars ranked highest in terms of total domestic content (TDC).

The factors involved in the study and calculating how American the model is was based on the location of the brand’s headquarters, research and development, final assembly, engine source, transmission source, and where the profit lands.

So which SUV models are the most American made? Find out which 2020 models have the highest TDC below.

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep has been a quintessential American auto brand for over 75 years. The Cherokee has been part of the Jeep family for over four decades and production remains close to home.


Now a compact crossover, the Cherokee is manufactured at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. The trim line with the highest domestic content was the Cherokee Latitude AWD closely followed by the Cherokee Trailhawk.

Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer

The Explorer has been on the market for 30 years and maintains a stronghold on the title of best selling midsize SUV. It competes in the three-row crossover class against models such as the Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, and Chevrolet Traverse.

Since its inception, the Explorer has been made in the USA. The current generation of the model is assembled in Chicago, Illinois.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y

Coming in as the third most American SUV is the Tesla Model Y, a new compact electric crossover.

Built at the company’s manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, the Model Y is not only green it’s also American made.

Cadillac XT4

Cadillac XT4

The XT4 is a luxury compact/subcompact crossover model. In the U.S. market, the XT4 is manufactured at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

The XT4 is also popular in China and GM actually sells more units of the model in that market than in the U.S. China market units are manufactured in Shanghai.

Cadillac XT5

Cadillac XT5

The Cadillac XT5 is a compact luxury crossover that replaced the SRX in the brand’s lineup for the 2017 model year. The XT5 is manufactured at GM’s Spring Hill Manufacturing Plant in Tennessee.

Cadillac XT6

Cadillac XT6

The XT6 is built on the same platform and factory floor as the XT5. It is essentially a stretched version that adds more length, allowing room for a third-row of seats. Cadillac describes the XT6 as a “mid-size plus” crossover.

GMC Acadia

GMC Acadia

GM is a fan of sharing vehicle production across its platform and the Acadia is no exception. It’s assembled alongside the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, and Cadillac XT6 in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The Acadia is the lowest cost model on this list with a starting retail price of $30,000.

Honda Passport

Honda Passport

The Passport is a midsize SUV that returned to the company’s lineup for the 2019 model year. It’s built at Honda’s factory in Lincoln, Alabama. The Passport is built on the same platform as the larger three-row Honda Pilot.

The Passport is the only 2020 model in the top 10 most American made SUVs that isn’t from a U.S. company.

Ford Expedition

Ford Expedition

The Expedition is a full-size body-on-frame SUV that is built on the same platform as the best-selling Ford F-150 pickup. The Expedition has been on the market since the 1997 model year. It’s assembled at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.

Lincoln Aviator

Lincoln Aviator

The Aviator, a mid-size luxury crossover, returned to Ford’s vehicle lineup for the 2020 model year slotting in between the smaller Lincoln Nautilus and full-size Lincoln Navigator.

The Aviator is assembled at the Chicago Assembly Plant alongside the Ford Explorer and Police Interceptor Utility models.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model X

The Model X is Tesla’s midsize three-row crossover. It’s assembled at the company’s Fremont, California plant. The Model X is the most expensive model on this list with a starting retail price of $80,000.

SUV models a little further down the TDC list include the Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Jeep Wrangler.

The models that were the least American made SUVs include the Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota C-HR, and Toyota 4Runner, along with a host of Lexus models.

Buy American Buy SUV

If you want to buy American and want an SUV, the good news is that the majority of 2020 SUV models sold in the U.S. are assembled in the U.S. All of the above models have total domestic content of 50% or greater. They also represent a wide swath of the SUV industry including subcompact, compact, midsize, three-row, full-size, electric, and luxury models.

To recap, the top 10 American made SUVs for 2020 were:

  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Ford Explorer
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Cadillac XT4
  • Cadillac XT5
  • Cadillac XT6
  • GMC Acadia
  • Honda Passport
  • Ford Expedition
  • Lincoln Aviator

Want to see how vehicle production trends have changes in a six year period? Then check out the most American SUVs article from 2014.

More Foreign Automakers With Production in the U.S.

U.S. automakers have kept larger vehicle production, including SUVs close to home. Japanese and European manufacturers have moved production of SUV models for the U.S. market stateside. Honda was a standout among foreign companies ranking second overall in TDC behind GM.

Another takeaway from the study is that Japanese companies are doing a better job of having total U.S. content than their European counterparts. No European companies made the list.

So while German companies like Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have production facilities in the U.S., their scores weren’t high enough to crack the top 10 made in America SUVs.

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