In addition to the sticker on the window of that new car you’re thinking about buying, reports of the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) can be viewed at the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The site offers the option of viewing the models ranked alphabetically or by percentage of the content for model years 2007-13.
AALA defines a passenger motor vehicle as designed to carry not more than 12 persons with a gross vehicle weight rating of not more than 8,500 pounds. The definition covers multi-purpose passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks but not a motorcycle or delivery truck.
New passenger motor vehicles must be labeled with:
• The percentage U.S./Canadian parts content
• The final assembly point by city and state (where appropriate) and country
• The country of origin of the engine
• A statement which explains that parts content doesn’t include final assembly (except the engine and transmission), distribution, or other non-parts cost.
The percentage U.S./Canada parts content, as well as content percentages for other countries are calculated on a "carline" basis rather than for each individual vehicle and may be rounded to the nearest 5 percent.
Carline refers to a name of a group of vehicles which has common construction features, such as the body and chassis. Light duty trucks are considered to be different carlines than passenger cars.
Vehicle manufacturers must calculate the equipment content percentages for their carlines prior to the beginning of the model year, according to the NHTSA. Manufacturers estimate the number of vehicles and subgroups of vehicles that will be built within each carline, including the number of base level and high-line models.
For each carline, the calculation of U.S./Canadian content percentage also includes:
• The U.S./Canadian content (by value) of each motor vehicle part that will be used to assemble the vehicles within the carline.
• The total value of each part item - the price the manufacturer will pay for it (this information is typically provided by the manufacturer's suppliers).
• The total number of each of the part items that will be used to assemble the vehicles within the car line during the model year.
When optional equipment is offered for vehicles within the carline, the vehicle manufacturer estimates the installation rates for that equipment. For example, if vehicles are offered with a manual and automatic transmission, the manufacturer will estimate how many vehicles will be built with each transmission.
The label must be placed in a prominent location on each vehicle where it can be read from the exterior of the vehicle with the doors closed.