The mainstream, mass-market automakers that drive the industry have long since broken beyond the borders of the countries in which they’re based.
That Toyota you’re driving, for instance, was probably made in America, not in Japan. The Fiat 500 may be quintessentially Italian, but it’s made in Poland and Mexico. And despite its all-American image, the Jeep Renegade is made in Italy.
Even luxury automakers are manufacturing abroad, with BMW and Mercedes, for example, making most of their high-end crossovers in the southern United States. One strange set of circumstances even has the latter’s R-Class manufactured under contract in Indiana for export exclusively to China. But what about supercars?
The most exotic of automobiles arguably embody the ethos of their home countries more than any other. So we expect Ferraris to be made in Italy, Porsches to be made in Germany, Koenigseggs in Sweden, and McLarens in England. But that’s not always the case.
Some supercars are made far away from the home bases of their “manufacturers.” And while that may be more the exception than the rule when it comes to these high-end performance machines, we’ve put together several examples to show that nationality, when it comes to supercars, isn’t what it used to be.
Production of the previous Ford GT was split between several locations – all of them in the United States, with final assembly taking place in Michigan. But not its successor. Though it may be the most exciting supercar currently offered by an American automaker, it’s actually made in Canada. And not just across the river from Detroit in Windsor, either: to build the new EcoBoost-powered supercar, Ford contracted OEM supplier and engineering consultancy Multimatic – based in the Markham, Ontario, on the outskirts of Toronto.
The NSX is sold in some markets as an Acura and in others as a Honda. So it must be made in Japan… right? Sure, the first one was – initially in Tochigi and then in Suzuka. But not the new one. To build its latest supercar, Honda constructed a new Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, of all places. That’s where Honda undertakes the bulk of its North American manufacturing, and the same state also where the bulk of the prep work was done on the previous Ford GT (and where GM once built the third-generation Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird).
Spyker is the boutique automaker based in Holland that made a name for itself by ambitiously assuming control over Saab in Sweden. But its cars aren’t made in either country. Instead they’re made in England’s historic automotive hub of Coventry, thanks to a longstanding collaboration with CPP Metalcraft. That extends to the Preliator, the latest version of the C8 that has formed the backbone of everything Spyker has made since its rebirth in 1999.
Aston Martin Rapide
At this point, all Aston Martins are made at the company’s main facility at Gaydon in Warwickshire, England. But that wasn’t always the case, and won’t always be. Never mind the old factory at Newport Pagnell or the one it’s building in Wales (both also in the UK). The Rapide was made in another country entirely, manufactured in Graz, Austria, under contract by Magna Steyr – the same company that makes the G-Class for Mercedes, the Countryman for Mini, and will soon start building the BMW 5 Series and the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover. Aston Martin moved production of what’s arguably the most exotic of four-door sports cars in-house after 2012, just in time for the introduction of the revised Rapide S.
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Before Mercedes moved its flagship gradually downmarket with the SLS and the AMG GT, it offered the SLR – a suitably exotic supercar that tangled with the Ferrari Enzo and Porsche Carrera GT in the mid-2000s. But where its successors have been built in Sindelfingen, the SLR wasn’t made in Germany at all: it was built in Woking, England, at the McLaren Technology Center. Mercedes owned 40 percent of McLaren at the time and had a longstanding partnership with the Formula One team, and though McLaren is keen to put that era behind it, the SLR was the second road car it ever made – following the legendary McLaren F1 and preceding the 12C that launched McLaren Automotive.
The Ford GT, Acura NSX, Spyker C8, Mercedes SLR, and Aston Martin Rapide aren’t the only sports cars manufactured outside of their creators’ home countries. Though finally assembled in Italy, the Lamborghini Huracan (like the Gallardo before it) is built on a chassis and with a powertrain made by parent company Audi in Germany. And there are many more commonplace sports cars that have been made elsewhere as well, like the new Fiat 124 (made by Mazda in Japan), the Porsche Boxster and Cayman (previously made by Valmet in Finland), and the Pontiac GTO (by Holden in Australia). And let’s not forget all those sports cars made by Hi-Tech Automotive in South Africa, like the Perana Z-One, Noble M400, and the Superformance continuation Shelby Cobras and Ford GT40s.
The bottom line is that cars aren’t necessarily made where you think they are, and that applies to sports cars just like it does to the boxes in which we transport our families.