Tip of the Week

New import duties on vehicles or changes to NAFTA could have a big impact on the prices of some vehicles. Here’s a list of popular vehicles from each automotive segment that you need not worry about paying more for due to these possible changes.

Pickup Trucks

The most popular vehicles on the road in America today are pickup trucks. Although pickups were recently passed by compact crossovers in new sales, pickups have been a staple of American motoring for the past century. During most of that time, they have been subject to a 25% import duty. The duty started during a trade disagreement during the Kennedy administration and President Johnson instituted it. Every president since, from both political parties, has kept that import duty in place. Mexico and Canada were exempt. However, with talk of NAFTA being “renegotiated” pickups built in Mexico and Canada, like GM’s Silverado and Sierra, for example, may be impacted. However, the top-selling pickup, the Ford F-150, won’t be. Ford builds its pickups in Missouri and Kentucky. Another truck that won’t be affected is the Nissan Titan. The Titan is assembled in Canton, Mississippi. Both its V8 gasoline engine and its diesel engine options are also built in the United States. The Honda Ridgeline midsized pickup is built in Alabama. The Ridgeline was the BestRide Best Truck pick in 2016. It has also been named the “most American pickup” by another publication based on its U.S. content. Most other sources name the Ford F-150 the most American truck.

Compact Crossovers

The top-selling Nissan Rogue and popular Honda CR-V come primarily from inside the United States in Ohio and Tennessee. Jeep Cherokee fans also need not worry. The Cherokee is built in Belvidere, Illinois. Mazda fans, you should prepare for short-term increases if tariffs are put in place. Mazda imports all of its U.S. models. However, Mazda is planning to shift crossover manufacturing to a new plant being co-built with Toyota in Alabama. Production is set to begin in early 2021.

3-Row Crossovers

The top-selling three-row crossover in America for most of the past decade is the Toyota Highlander. It has been built in Indiana since 2009. Its main rival, the Honda Pilot, is built in Alabama. The Ford Explorer is built in Chicago. Chevy’s Traverse is built in Michigan.

Luxury Crossovers

Mercedes-Benz builds its GLE and GLS crossovers in Alabama. The plant also makes its top-selling car, the C-Class. BMW manufactures its X3 and X5 crossovers in South Carolina. The top-selling Lexus RX crossover is made in Canada so would be subject to NAFTA changes, but not any blanket import duties on vehicles from Japan.

Midsized Sedans

Almost every top-selling midsize sedan model sold in America is built inside the United States. The number-one-selling Camry is built in plants in Kentucky and Indiana. The Accord is built in Ohio. The Altima is built in Ohio and Tennessee. These three dominate this class. The Chevy Malibu is built in Kansas. One exception is the Ford Fusion, made in Mexico.

Compact Sedans

The Toyota Corolla is the sales leader in this class. Toyota produces the Corolla in Mississippi. If NAFTA is renegotiated and that results in import duties, the Civic may be at a disadvantage in this segment. The Civic is built in multiple plants including a plant in the U.K. Most come to the U.S. from Canada.


The top-selling Honda Odyssey is built in Alabama. Its engine is also built in that plant. The Toyota Sienna is built in Indiana. Chrysler’s new Pacifica is an import, not from Detroit, but rather Canada.

Affordable All-Wheel Drive Wagons and Hatchbacks

Subaru builds the majority of its U.S. models in the United States. One exception is the Forester, which is only built in Japan and imported to the U.S.

Sports Cars, Muscle Cars, Coupes

Chevrolet has long built its Corvette in the United States, but its Camaro is a recent addition to GM’s U.S.-produced fleet. GM moved the Camaro from Ontario, Canada to Lansing, Michigan. Dodge’s Challenger is another story. Despite the “Imported from Michigan” marketing blurb FCA US likes to use, the Challenger is actually imported from Canada. Ford builds its Mustang in Michigan.

Off-Road Capable Vehicles

OK, we selected this category just to highlight that every Jeep Wrangler sold in America is made in Toledo, Ohio. Jeep defines this segment so completely, there is no need to list the alternatives. But why not? About half of Toyota’s Tacomas are built in Texas and Chevy’s Colorado ZR2 is built in Missouri.

Full-Sized SUVs

General Motors has built vehicles in Arlington Texas for sixty years. Today, it builds the Chevy Silverado and GMC Yukon there. GM has SUV engine plants in Michigan, Indiana, and New York. The Ford Expedition is built in Kentucky. Like trucks, most body-on-frame SUVs are still subject to President Johnson’s 55-year old import duty on light trucks, and therefore most are built in the USA.

Luxury Full-Sized SUVs

It’s no secret that many of GM’s vehicles are simply re-branding of other vehicles. Like the Silverado and Yukon, the Cadillac Escalade is built in Texas. Infiniti builds its full-sized QX80 SUV in Los Angeles, California.

Green Vehicles and EVs (and Luxury Cars)

Tesla builds its Model S, Model 3, and Model X in Fremont, California in a plant formerly shared by GM and Toyota. Tesla also has worked very hard to bring its supply chain to the U.S., building its massive battery plant in Nevada. In addition to being top-selling EVs, the Tesla Model S is now the top-selling large luxury/performance car in America and the Tesla Model 3 the top-selling compact luxury/performance car in America. GM’s all-electric Bolt, as well as its upcoming driverless ride sharing sedan model, are both built in Lake Orion, Michigan. Nissan builds its Leaf in multiple locations globally, but the most recent 2018 Leaf we tested was built in Smyrna, Tennessee.

The media frequently presents any talk of import duties or tariffs in a way that makes the topic seem scary and divisive. The fact is that America and most of our top trading partners have had import duties on automobiles for as long as cars and trucks have been made. The best way to avoid any difficulties with duties and tariffs was figured out by automakers long ago. Simply produce vehicles inside the markets in which they will be sold.

— John Goreham/BestRide.com

Auto news

Ford issued a recall of more than 500,000 Escape SUVs and Fusion sedans in the U.S. over rollaway concerns due to a faulty shifter cable bushing. A degraded shifter cable bushing that detaches from the transmission may allow the transmission to be in a gear state different than the gear shift position selected by the driver.

The following vehicles are part of the recall:

• 2013-14 Ford Escape SUVs built at Louisville, Kentucky, Assembly Plant between May 15, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013

• 2014 Ford Fusion sedans built at Flat Rock, Michigan, Assembly Plant between June 18, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013

• 2014-16 Ford Fusion built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant between June 2, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015

• 2013-14 Ford Fusion built at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant in Sonora, Mexico, between May 15, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013

• 2014-16 Ford Fusion built at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant between June 2, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015

Ford dealers will replace the shifter cable bushing at no cost to the customer. But in the meantime, the company has said car owners should use their parking brake whenever they are parking.

Did you know

Engine coolant performs three vital jobs — it lowers the freezing point of the cooling system on cold days, it raises the boiling point of the cooling system on hot days, and it protects the engine and cooling system from rust and corrosion year round. Expensive problems can happen if your car’s cooling system is not topped off or refilled with the correct coolant.

Many modern automobiles require enhanced engine coolants to properly maintain the vehicle’s cooling system and protect the engine from damage.

The type of coolant required by your vehicle can also vary by year, make, model, engine and even the country where the car was made.

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