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Silverado ZR2 vs. F-150 Raptor: Which truck is more American?

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I recently had the chance to do an at-home test of the Chevy Silverado ZR2, and one of the social comments I received was that the Ford F-150 Raptor was more American because the ZR2 is built in Mexico. But is it? I figured this opened the door to answer the Silverado ZR2 vs. F-150 Raptor American-made question.

To do this, we took another look at the Cars.com American-Made Index (AMI).

Where are the trucks built?

The Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado both have final assembly in the U.S. Mostly.

The Raptor trim is built in Dearborn Michigan, so the Ford truck is 100% assembled in the U.S. But here’s the thing about the ZR2, there are two plants that build the Silverado: one is in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and the other is in Silao, Mexico. According to Patrick Masterson, Cars.com editor and compiler of the annual AMI, General Motors refuses to state which trims are built in which plant. So, we can only confirm that the truck is built either in Indiana or Mexico.

What we do know is that the test truck we drove in Chicago was built in Mexico, according to the sticker sheet and VIN number, which began with a “3.”

Silverado ZR2 vs. F-150 Raptor Americanness

Final assembly, however, only tells part of the story. The AMI also looks at percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts, countries of origin for the engines, countries of origin for the transmission and the U.S. manufacturing workforce.

In the case of the ZR2 and the Raptor, both engines and transmissions are built in the U.S.

So, you would think that would make the two trucks close in the Americanness department. But it doesn’t. According to the AMI, there is a HUGE disparity between the two vehicles.

The Ford F-150 ranks No. 21 on the AMI, whereas the Chevy Silverado is all the way at the bottom of the list, raking No. 93.

It comes down to parts

So, why is the ZR2 ranked so much lower than the Raptor? Masterson said it comes down to parts.

“The key difference between the trucks is that domestic parts content per USCPC guidelines for the F-150 across the board is 50%, while it’s only 42% for the Silverado (regardless of trim),” Masterson said. “That’s a significant factor in elevating the F-150 over other vehicles in the rankings, not just the Silverado.”

The bottom line

My social commentor was correct in the Silverado ZR2 vs. F-150 Raptor American debate.

In general, I am fascinated by the AMI and write about it every year. I am always flummoxed by the fact that the Honda Ridgeline is the most American truck, and the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan are more American than the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Such is the global economy today.

The end of this story is this: If Americanness matters to you, buy the Raptor.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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