'Made in America' Takes on Auto Industry to Find Which Car Creates Most U.S. Jobs

"World News" tags along with New Jersey family as it shops for new car.

June 8, 2011 — -- For decades, much of what has driven the American dream has been the idea of going out and buying that brand-new car.

And for as much pride as Americans took in buying one, this country took just as much pride in making them. That's why starting today our series "Made in America" takes on the auto industry to find out which car and car company creates the most American jobs.

Watch "World News" tonight for more on the "Made in America" series.

Would it be a classic American brand? Or one of the foreign cars assembled here?

In the early 1960s, 94 percent of all cars sold in the U.S. were American brands.

Today that number stands at 45 percent, less than half.

Twenty-five years ago, there were 65 automobile plants in the country. In the last decade, a third of them have vanished, taking hundreds of thousands of jobs with them.

Auto-Industry Job Creates Nine Jobs in U.S.

There are 698,700 people employed in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry. An auto-industry job creates nine other jobs in the U.S. -- the factory worker buys groceries, goes to the doctor and takes his/her child to school.

So we wondered: What would it take to bring back some of those American jobs?

We began our journey in a Ford Mustang, made in America in 1970. That was the decade that brought the world Fleetwood Mac -- and us.

We were driven by one simple question: If you're about to buy a new car, which one would create the most American jobs? And what better way to find out than to find another brave American family willing to answer the door, just like the Usrys of Dallas.

We ended up at the Stewarts' door, in Hillsdale, N.J. They have been driving a Ford Explorer since before they had children. "We drive this everywhere!" they said.

"Are you ready to buy a car?" we asked. Then we all loaded into the car and headed for the dealerships.

During the drive, the music -- "Justin Bieber! You guys listen to Justin Bieber?!?" -- muffled the struggling transmission. But it couldn't hide everything as the transmission started to die. "This is kind of frightening."

"Thirty miles per hour is as fast as this goes."

"I smell something." Then the car started to smoke.

"I pray, yes, I pray."

Watch "World News" tonight for more on the "Made in America" series.