Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The American Pickup

Bloodlines in the world of light trucks are a tangled mix of half-breeds and mongrels. The last 30+ years have seen an influx of foreign brands building manufacturing infrastructure in the United States. The post-NAFTA movement of domestic brand manufacturing between the US, Canada, and Mexico has only added to the confusion.

Anyone can find out the parts content and general manufacturing/assembly point of almost any new vehicle. The NHTSA’s AALA (Part 583, American Automobile Labeling Act) requires that all new vehicles designed to carry less than 12 passengers, or with a GVWR of less than 8500 pounds (the Mahindra TR20/TR40 will be excluded, but obviously will be mostly Indian content) must list US/CAN part content, the names of countries other than the US and Canada who provide more than 15% of total content, and point of final assembly.

The content and country of manufacture are defined by AALA, Part 583. A rough list of the elements of these calculations is listed below:

- US/CAN content is based on a “carline” basis. Meaning vehicles with a common body or frame are lumped together rather than content separated for each individual vehicle. The manufacturer is allowed to round up or down to the nearest 5 percent.
- Manufacturers must calculate equipment content percentages prior to the model year of manufacture.
- For each “carline”, the number of vehicles and subgroups (trim levels) must be estimated. Content by value, and value of equipment is also used in the estimation.

The manufacturers have some wiggle room for these calculations, but it can be assumed that each company’s estimate is pretty close to actual content and assembly

We’ve taken some time to sort out the pure breeds from the mutts. In truth, there really are no purebreds. Some are closer than others, but nearly every vehicle you buy has a good deal of global content. Your new truck, no matter the brand, likely has parts made on every continent, save Antarctica. The list below, takes the AALA data for a sampling of popular light trucks in the US. We’ve gone a step further and also listed the actual point of final assembly for each vehicle. Click for a larger view.

Source: NHTSA and from around the net

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