The Tesla Model 3 sedan has become the first all-electric vehicle to top Cars.com's annual American-Made Index, beating out the Ford Mustang.
The Model 3, assembled in Fremont, Calif., jumped to the No. 1 spot from No. 4 last year. It is the first time Tesla Inc. has topped the list after having three vehicles in the top nine in 2020.
The Mustang, built near Detroit in Flat Rock, Mich., made its first top 10 appearance this year.
The 2021 index comes amid a microchip shortage and heightened consumer demand.
"Despite this, there remains a high consumer focus on buying American-made vehicles as the economy is still emerging from the effects of the pandemic," Kelsey Mays, Cars.com assistant managing editor and the index's lead researcher, said in a press release.
Tesla also took the No. 3 spot this year, with the Model Y crossover.
Tesla scores well in the index's analysis of U.S. manufacturing work force and domestic powertrain sourcing and American Automobile Labeling Act content, according to Mays. Tesla is the only major automaker to claim 100 percent domestic production for all cars sold in the U.S., compared with the rough industry average of 52 percent for the 2021 model year.
Last year's No. 1 pick, the Ford Ranger midsize pickup, saw a drop to No. 28. In a statement, Mays attributed that to the change in American Automobile Labeling Act content between the Ranger's 2020 and 2021 model years, despite drivetrain sourcing and assembly location remaining the same.
The act stipulates a complex equation of parts valuation by country of origin, so Cars.com can't speculate on Ford's purchasing decisions, Mays said.
"But it bears mention that some vehicles have more volatility than others in their AALA data, even absent a full redesign," he said in a statement.
The current-generation Ranger spiked from 35 percent U.S. and Canadian content for the 2019 model year to 70 percent for 2020, then back down to 45 percent for 2021. The Ranger gained more domestic engine sourcing between 2019 and 2020 but stayed consistent for 2021, according to Mays.
A Ford spokesman declined comment on the study.
Stellantis' Jeep Cherokee, assembled in Illinois, was in the No. 4 spot, falling slightly from No. 2.
Honda landed nameplates in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth spots with the Ridgeline, Odyssey, Pilot and Passport — all built in Alabama.
The Chevrolet Corvette, made in Bowling Green, Ky., was No. 5, and the Toyota Tundra, made in San Antonio, was No. 10.
According to a press release, Cars.com's index ranks cars based on assembly location, parts sourcing as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, U.S. factory employment relative to vehicle production, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing.
Ninety of 344 models on the market for 2021 qualified for this year's index.