Hooniverse Asks- What Car’s Nation of Origin Do You Find Most Incongruous?


Last November at the LA Auto Show, I was discussing with a Ford engineer the origins of the upcoming Transit Connect consumer van. He said that the new van – set for a US debut late in the year – will be built in Valencia, Spain. That’s in contrast to the current, primarily commercial edition, which is sourced from of all places, Turkey.

BMWs built in South Carolina, KIAs shunning their South Korean origins for Eastern Europe, and even US destined Hondas built in China, it’s all so confusing. It used to be that German cars came from Germany, Japanese cars from Japan, and if you wanted American iron, well Detroit U. S. A. wasn’t called Motor City for nothing.

Today, cars come from almost every corner of the globe and I won’t be surprised to one day hear the announcement of the first car plant on Antarctica – which will probably come from Fiat. What about you, what do you find to be the most incredulous car or truck point of origin? 

Image: NetCarShow

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94 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Car’s Nation of Origin Do You Find Most Incongruous?”

  1. Kris_01 Avatar

    These days, it's amazing to find a Toyota still built in Japan. My '02 Echo is just such a beast, but the current lineup includes only the 4Runner, Highlander Hybrid, Yaris and Prius. Some Camries and Corollas still come from the Land Of The Rising Sun, but most are currently built in the Land Of The Falling Dollar.
    That said, the most incongruous country to have a car built would be one of those little wartorn African countries. Or maybe Chile.

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      I love that three of the four cars I've owned have been built in Japan.
      *Two Toyotas and a Subaru

      1. chrystlubitshi Avatar

        depending on which models, those could (nowadays) be built in the land of Purdue grads, dropouts, and "high school is enough school for me"—- Lafayette, IN.

    1. Irishzombieman Avatar

      /starts whistling Niel Young

      1. pj134 Avatar

        But… he was built in Canada.

        1. Irishzombieman Avatar

          Every time I hear the word "Ohio".
          [youtube 82CYNj7noic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82CYNj7noic youtube]

          1. pj134 Avatar

            I got your reference. I love Mr. Young, just find something like that and Southern Man kind of funny.

      2. dculberson Avatar


        1. Irishzombieman Avatar

          Dang it.

        2. dead_elvis Avatar

          As someone who shares Mr. Young's first name, thank you.

    2. Felis_Concolor Avatar

      I found it amusing that "import racers" booed the imported from Australia Holden Monaro/Pontiac GTO at powersliding events (sorry kiddies; that's not a drift) while giving the Marysville Hondas a pass.
      Where will you run to now?
      You will get hurt somehow
      I know that time will tell on you

  2. Paul_y Avatar

    A while back, my girlfriend was considering replacing her Altima (built in Tennessee) with either a Hyundai Genesis coupe or a Dodge Challenger. Her dad was rooting for the Challenger, because it was "American," in that it was built in Canada, by an Italian company, and had suspension geometry from the W201 Mercedes Benz, never mind that her Altima coupe was built in Tennessee, and designed in California.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      <img src="http://stwot.motortrend.com/files/2010/07/28289831.jpeg&quot; width=500>
      The original Challengers were all built in American factories, by an American company, using American design.

  3. JayP2112 Avatar

    Westmoreland PA
    My first "Amercian" car.
    It did not suck.
    <img src="http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/12448_212087827852_1449891_n.jpg&quot; >

    1. pj134 Avatar

      You were probably one of the few lucky ones that got a Westmoreland VW that didn't suck.

      1. VolvoNut Avatar

        Too true. Who thought a bunch of racist yinzers would be able to assemble a decent car?

        1. pj134 Avatar

          You speak with the fire of someone from the other side of the state.
          Freaking Northern West Virginia.

  4. Maxichamp Avatar

    New FIAT 500 from Mexico.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      The ones in Europe are made in Poland, and that makes sense, little FIAT after all.

      1. Vavon Avatar

        Maluch FTW!!!

  5. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Well Brazil builds
    – French Peugeot, Citroen and Renault
    – German Mercedes-Benz (trucks), Volkswagen, MAN trucks, Chevrolet badged Opels, BMW motorcycles
    – Swedish Scania and Volvo trucks
    – Chinese Sinotruk trucks
    – Italian Fiat, Iveco trucks, MV Agusta motorcycles
    – Dutch DAF trucks
    – Japanese Toyota, Honda, Nissan
    – Korean Kia, Hyundai
    and there may be others I´ve forgotten.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      A few of those even escaped South America – we got the Brazillian-built MkIV City Golf/Jetta for several years in Canada

    2. dead_elvis Avatar

      I had no idea about BMW & MV building motorcycles there – do you know which models, and are they for worldwide export or only certain markets?

      1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

        I think Brazil or South America (mercosul) only

      2. Syrax Avatar

        Ducati started porducing here too, the Diavel at first. I don't think the Superbikes will be made here but the Streetfighter and Monster probably.

  6. $kaycog Avatar

    Monaco. In 1989, Monte Carlo Automobiles built five of these Centenaires that had a Lamborghini engine.
    <img src="http://kaw.stb.s-msn.com/i/37/9B94F7B9386223771B9D1696FAAD1.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

  7. PotbellyJoe Avatar

    Made in the country of California.
    <img src="http://encarsglobe.com/data_images/models/pontiac-vibe/pontiac-vibe-01.jpg"&gt;
    right next to:
    <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IAbtwjkG0nU/TmEmbNM9ZiI/AAAAAAAE9j4/jLhEz5vPXco/s1600/2012-Toyota-Tacoma-16.jpg&quot; width=375>
    In a factory that now produces:
    <img src="http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2013-tesla-model-s_100412524_m.jpg&quot; width=375>
    Of that list only one makes sense really.

  8. HSA Avatar

    It has been such a mess for years that basically nothing comes as a surprise any more. Hondas are shipped from the USA to Japan, Toyotas are assembled in Turkey, Fisker Karmas and Mercedes-Benzes come from Finland… business as usual.
    Still, as I have some interest in everything related to the Cold War, I find it (albeit only slightly) amusing that there is at least one Ford and one GM factory in Russia nowadays. Plus that some Russian-built Volgas are originally Chryslers. There's absolutely nothing strange in that by today's standards, but would you have imagined that in 1985?

  9. OA5599 Avatar

    Not so much an issue of nation of origin, but I find it incongruous that automakers still make autos in union factories.
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2012/12/chrysler-workers-drinking.jpg"&gt;

    1. erikgrad Avatar

      FWIW, if the news investigators bothered to follow the auto executives on their lunch breaks, they would encounter many of the same habits (without the brown bag)

      1. PotbellyJoe Avatar

        Lunch anyone? Who wants a Highball?
        <img src="http://i-cdn.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/kitchen/2010_04_16-3MartiniLunch4.jpg"&gt;

  10. engineerd Avatar

    I think you win.

  11. HSA Avatar

    My both Lancias are actually made in Italy. When basically any car can come from almost any country (at least so it seems), I find this positively surprising. Then again, the electrical modules in my Italian car come from Siemens, Bosch, Sachs, Hella… Sprechen Sie Deutsch, Lancia? …but the alternator of my workmate's German-built Ford is labeled Magneti Marelli.

  12. I Think Not Avatar
    I Think Not

    This thing, built in West Point, GA, just down the road from where I grew up:
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/2012_Kia_Sorento_LX_–_NHTSA_2.jpg/640px-2012_Kia_Sorento_LX_–_NHTSA_2.jpg"&gt;
    The second-generation Kia Sorento. It makes sense that they'd build that model there, at least — the south loves it some SUV.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      It's supposed to be a pretty awesome facility too

  13. Vavon Avatar

    Peugeot 4008, imported from Japan…
    <img src="http://www.feline208.net/photos/cache/modeles/peugeot-4008/peugeot-4008-officiel-2-019_960.jpg&quot; width="650/">

  14. Devin Avatar

    I've always found it strange that the Metropolitan was actually a Brit.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/ed/Series_III_Hardtop.jpg/280px-Series_III_Hardtop.jpg"&gt;

  15. subtlemel Avatar

    Mercedes-Benz from Alabama.

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      I drove by that facility- and it is a huge place. Looked pretty awesome.
      On that same drive we passed the VW plant. Can't see it for the trees.

    2. vwminispeedster Avatar

      Guten Tag Yall!!

  16. Maymar Avatar

    I found it peculiar that for a stretch of 6-7 years, it was pretty much guaranteed that if you were a cop, even if you were driving a big proper American sedan for your cruiser, the VIN would start with 2.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      That probably has a lot to do with CAFE standards. If you build the Panther high-production gas hogs non-domestically, their fuel economy gets blended in the averages for cheap economy cars instead of torpedoing the numbers for "domestic" cars. I think the CAFE rules have been updated since then so that everything counts equally.

  17. stickmanonymous Avatar

    <img src="http://ford-parts.uneedapart.com/images/ford-police-interceptor-parts.jpg"&gt;
    One of the most iconic American vehicles of the modern era was made in…
    A nation which itself (valiantly) struggles to maintain much of a unique identity in the onslaught of the Behemoth-to-the-South.

    1. stickmanonymous Avatar

      I should have read the post above mine.

    2. karmatose Avatar

      FWIW, The parking lot at that facility would be pretty kick ass for some autocross now that it's all but abandoned. Just wish I knew who to contact about that.

  18. Dan Avatar

    My truck is built in Tennessee, with a majority of parts being American, but I still get crap once in a while about buying a "Jap car" (pardon the expression) from my grandparents and my more redneck friends and coworkers. I don't really see what the problem with buying a foreign car in the first place is anyways…
    <img src=http://content.homenetiol.com/2000015/2058222/640×480/07ee51ca4db1480795072f4fb68d319a.jpg width="600">

    1. Dan Avatar

      <img src=http://content.homenetiol.com/2000015/2058222/640×480/07ee51ca4db1480795072f4fb68d319a.jpgwidth="600">

      1. Dan Avatar

        I give up… Apparently imbedding pictures is impossible for me.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          You can just take a link and paste it, then stick:
          <img src="
          on the front, and:
          on the end.

          1. Dan Avatar

            That's what I did…

          2. OA5599 Avatar

            You need a close quote at the end of the filename then optionally a space and width=500. I think you ran yours together.
            <img src="http://content.homenetiol.com/2000015/2058222/640×480/07ee51ca4db1480795072f4fb68d319a.jpg&quot; width=500>

          3. Dan Avatar

            Ah! Thank you.

    2. mallthus Avatar

      I enjoy getting those same sorts of comments from people in Ram, Chevy and Ford people. I ask them to look at their VIN numbers and then tell me about their "American" trucks. A good percentage of most of them are made in Canada or Mexico.
      Truth is, there is no such thing as a vehicle that's 100% anything anymore.

  19. Synchromesh Avatar

    The Honda Civic Si ('02-05) that was built in England. That was just weird.
    My last 4 cars (2 Miatas, 1 Integra, 1 WRX) were all built in Japan! Best place for a car to be built.

  20. dukeisduke Avatar

    Our two Toyotas are both US-built: the 2088 Sienna in Princeton, Indiana, and the 2013 Tacoma in San Antonio. My '95 F-150 was built in Claycomo, Missouri, but had plenty of parts marked "MADE IN MEXICO", along with a Brazilian-made radio, and FIAMM horns made in Italy. Yep, buy American.

    1. Devin Avatar

      You've got a Sienna from the FUTURE? Can it fly?
      (Someone had to).

      1. Vairship Avatar

        Either that, or it's really old: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar

  21. mallthus Avatar

    The Mitsubishi Diamante was built in Japan Australia.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Mitsubishi_Diamante_LS_Wagon.jpeg&quot; width="600/">

  22. mallthus Avatar

    The 3rd Mercury Capri was a Mazda built in Australia.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Mercury-Capri.jpg/800px-Mercury-Capri.jpg&quot; width=600>

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Wat the?

    2. sporty88au Avatar

      The Crapi Capri was not built by Mazda. It was built by Ford in their old assembly plant in Homebush (Sydney). Most of the major mechanical parts (and possibly the floorpan and some other underbody parts) were shared with the Ford Laser and the Mazda 323 of the period. It was not built or sold as a Mazda – they introduced the MX-5/Miata at about the same time.

      1. mallthus Avatar

        My point was that it was a car sold in the US as a Mercury that was built by Ford Australia on a Mazda platform.
        The base engine came from the 323 (ne Laser). The turbo engine and suspension were from the Astina. The platform was used by the 323, Astina, Laser, US Escort, Tracer and Sephia. (Yeah, it got around.)
        I recall (as I'm sure you do too) that the automotive press at the time made the point, "If you're going to buy a 2 seat convertible with Mazda mechanicals, why not buy the good one, given that they're roughly the same price?"

  23. JayP2112 Avatar

    Rolls-Royce out of Springfield, Massachusetts:
    <img src="http://www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/media/85630/1920c_d.jpg?1361468065285&quot; width="600">

    1. Alff Avatar

      Growing up, a neighbor had a decrepit Springfield Ghost. Dilapidated as it was, it was amazing.

  24. Sjalabais Avatar

    Whatever the question, when I hear "incongruous", I think North Korea. An ancient Hiace comes to mind – originating from Japan, China's worst foe and one of the closest allies of…beware…the USA.
    <img src="http://m0.i.pbase.com/o6/93/329493/1/116326780.uoiBMQsM.NorthKoreaAug091012.jpg"&gt;
    Weak exports though.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        It surely doesn't make any sense at all. Wonder how reliable they are? Nice!

        1. mallthus Avatar

          Well, Car & Driver had this to say about it…

          So when the South Koreans began designing and producing cars from scratch, the dictator Kim Il-sung ordered his minions to show that the North could build cars, too. Except they had no clue what they were doing. The North Korean automotive “engineers” imported several Mercedes 190Es and copied most of the parts with workmanship that made the Yugo look like a Rolls-Royce. The result was the Kaengsaeng 88. Allegedly, it had a four-cylinder engine, no heat, and no air conditioning, and the cabin was prone to fill with dust while driving. Kaengsaeng made several examples, and this one was spotted in the capital, Pyongyang, in 1989. It is possibly the only photo of this vehicle ever taken.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar


  25. mallthus Avatar

    If you're in the US, your new BMW F30 was probably built at the BMW Rosslyn Plant in South Africa. Now go and try not feel like an ass for smugly claiming your car was built in Germany while mocking the guy with a Mexican built Jetta.
    [youtube 26EulqZigWA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26EulqZigWA youtube]

  26. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    I'm accustomed to Volkswagen's presence in Brazil, but here's a French car built there by an American company:
    <img src="http://www.coisasdeagora.com.br/admin/fotos/Willys%20Interlagos_01.JPG"&gt;

    1. Imaragtopman Avatar

      That is beautiful! What is it? Looks like a cross between a first generation Miata and a Karmann Ghia. My heart skipped a beat…

      1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

        Willys Interlagos, based on an Alpine A108;
        <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VPaJ_frokuc/TdLZnMwbvbI/AAAAAAAAA6I/v93uT1_ajq8/s1600/A108+1960-1962+%25283%2529.JPG&quot; width=500>
        Also available as a cabriolet:
        <img src="http://www.motorstown.com/images/alpine-a108-cabriolet-01.jpg&quot; width=500>
        I get sort of a warm fuzzy feeling for getting to tell you that these exist.

    2. mallthus Avatar

      Let's not exclude the Dinalpine (made in Mexico) from this party…
      <img src="http://www.dinalpin.com/images/ga02.jpg&quot; width=600>
      …or the Bulgaralpine (made in Bulgaria) either…
      <img src="http://iedei.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/bulgaralpine_a110.jpeg&quot; width=600>

  27. marmer01 Avatar

    Brass-era Fiats in Poughkeepsie, NY
    and a handful of Daimler's by Steinway and Sons in Long Island pre-1907

  28. Sjalabais Avatar

    Wolga Siber. You all know where it came from, but did it really want to go to Russia?
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Volga_Siber_front_Moscow_autoshow_2008_26_08.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Alff Avatar

      Russia needs rental cars.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        This is the best four word analysis I've read all week.

    2. zsvdkhnorc Avatar

      Russia could do worse. They could have licensed a Sebring.

  29. mdharrell Avatar

    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2547/4185821292_b243381858.jpg&quot; width="450">
    Is there anything more quintessentially Spanish than an Authi Mini? Or more British than a BMW Isetta?
    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7227/7231858144_0d83236631.jpg&quot; width="450">
    Perhaps a British 2CV:
    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3031/2680857075_db3950d737_z.jpg&quot; width="450">

    1. P161911 Avatar

      They even still have Desoto in Turkey.
      <img src="http://www.roadkillontheweb.com/images/dt006.jpg"width=500&gt;

      1. marmer01 Avatar

        Yes, I didn't really like how that pic looked, so I chose the Dodge. Apparently Chrysler sold the names to Asram in Turkey, so you can still get Dodge, DeSoto, and Fargo trucks built by Asram, but with a different logo instead of the Pentastar.

  30. Christopher Avatar

    I was quite surprised to discover that my wife's 2006 Honda CR-V was built in the U.K.

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