PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- If you're looking for an “American-made” car, prepare to be extremely flexible with that definition.
The subject of American-made cars is a bit tricky to begin with, but becomes even more so when you change the rules as you go. The folks at vehicle pricing site Cars.com decided it isn't enough to know where the car was assembled or how many U.S.-made parts went into it: "American" apparently also means popular.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration strongly disagrees. The agency admits freely there's no such thing as a 100% American car and notes that one of its most American vehicles, the 70% U.S.-produced Ford Edge, has a base motor made in Mexico and is assembled in Canada. You can have a car with 70% American-made parts, such as the Chevrolet Captiva, which doesn't mean much if it's assembled elsewhere, or a car such as the BMW AG that is assembled right here in the U.S., but gets only 20% of its parts from this country.
More than 20 years ago, Congress passed the American Automobile Labeling Act requiring cars to have labels specifying their percentage of U.S./Canadian parts, the country of assembly and the country of origin for the engine and transmission. The NHTSB has compiled lists of these vehicles for each model year to help consumers who care about such things get more homegrown product for their money.
The NHTSB has its own list of vehicles assembled in the U.S. using the most U.S. and Canadian parts, but Cars.com's insistence on popularity led it to devise a list of its own. These may not be the “most” American-made cars available, but they're the American-made cars that the site feels American drivers are most likely to own. Keep that caveat in mind for the first entry on this list:
10. 2014 SRT Viper
Assembled: Detroit, Mich.
Percentage made In U.S.: 75%
This ranked No. 3 on the AALA list, but Cars.com didn't think all that much of its U.S. sales.
But this is one of the few vehicles that can actually claim it was built in in Detroit itself. This six-figure supercar comes absolutely stacked for the price, too. Its all-aluminum 8.4-liter V-10 engine produces 640 horsepower while electronic stability control, traction control, four-channel antilock brake system, carbon fiber and aluminum skin, Pirelli P Zero Z-rated tires, four-piston Brembo brakes, low seating position and 7-inch full-color customizable instrument clusters come track-ready ... if it ever sees one.
Just in case it never makes it beyond the strip in South Beach, there's a Uconnect in-vehicle connectivity system, Harman Kardon audio system, bi-xenon projector headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and LED turn signals, LED taillights and snakeskin texture lens all look and sounds sweet at cruising speed. The Viper tops out at 206 mph, but looks best at about 25.