Buy American. What Does That Mean?

For those who live in the U.S., you probably think buy American is a good thing. But, do you really know what that means?

The most American cars are Teslas. Tesla is substantially vertically integrated. That is, most of the pieces that go into making a Tesla are either built by Tesla in the US or sourced from US-based manufacturers. You don’t have to believe me. Here are the top 10 US made for 2023 from

Note that Tesla was the top four. Today, with the Cybertruck, I would guess it is the top five. You can check out the for more details. You will probably notice there are no “US manufactures” in the top 10.

You may be surprised but I am not. The US “big three” do their best to buy parts from Korea and China and do much of their auto assembly in Mexico. After all, it’s cheaper.

This subject just came up because US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been telling China they they are costing the US money because of China selling cheap cars (even with Trump’s 27% chicken tax) to the US market.

If you are a free market capitalist, you probably want Chinese cars without the 27% tax. If you are a person working in the US auto industry, you probably think the 27% tax should be going to pay your current or future unemployment.

OK, my point is that “buy American” may not be what you think it is. Deviation from buying Tesla is likely not really buying American.

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