June 10, 2011 -- The ABC News "Made in America" team has been working this week with the Stewart family of Hillsdale, N.J., as it looks for a new car. We asked which car would create more jobs, an American car made in the United States, or a foreign car that is also made here.
There are 698,700 people employed in the U.S. motor vehicle manufacturing industry, and each auto industry job supports nine others in the United States. It is an industry that is on the rise, employing an estimated 40,000 more people than this time last year.
We followed the Stewarts as they went to check out the Toyota Camry and the Ford Escape, two of the most popular cars in the country. The Camry is the top-selling family sedan in the country, while the Escape is the most popular compact SUV in America.
"It was a very smooth ride, very nice, very comfortable inside," Brian Stewart said of the Camry.
Than ABC News traveled to the Ford plant in Kansas City, Mo., and the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Ky., to investigate both cars and find out which one creates the most U.S. jobs. To do that, we had to find the answers to these three questions:
Is the car assembled here?
Toyota: Yes, it takes more than 6,000 American workers to build the Camrys we buy. Ford: Yes, it takes 2,250 workers to build the Escape.
How much of the car contains U.S. parts?
Toyota Camry: 80 percent. Ford Escape: 65 percent.
How many cars were sold in a given year?
Toyota Camry: The most pospular seller, 328,000 were sold last year. Ford Escape: Just under 200,000 were sold in 2010.
Using that formula, the answer might not be what you think.
The U.S. brand that creates the most American jobs? The Ford Escape, which creates 13 assembly line jobs for every 100 cars sold, based on 2010 sales figures and company supplied information on how many workers actually man the assembly lines.
That is good, but doesn't top the Kentucky-built Toyota, which creates almost 20 U.S.-based manufacturing jobs for every 100 cars sold.
In the end, the Stewarts chose a good ol' American Ford Explorer, with 85 percent of its parts made in America. Although it will not create as many jobs as either the Camry or the Escape because the scale of production is smaller, the Stewarts can still be proud to be supporting jobs in this country with their purchase."
Check back in with "World News" on ABC as we continue our Made in America series in the coming weeks.
ABC News' Michael Murray and Ben Forer contributed to this article.