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6 Cars Made Not Where Everyone Thinks They Are

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Localization has long become the norm, but most people still associate cars with the country of origin of the brand. Modern MINIs with their Union Jacks in the rear lights, Jaguar F-Type, Dodge Challenger, Mercedes-Benz S-Class… Of the last three, only Jaguar is guaranteed to come from its native England. The fact that Mercedes’ flagship sedan, touted as the pinnacle of German engineering, is assembled not only in Germany but also in Mexico shows how global the auto industry has become. However, there are even more surprises the Indy Auto Man dealership’s team is ready to share.

1. BMW X5

In 2018, during a speech in South Carolina, then-President Trump complained that the European Union supplied Mercedes and BMW but taxed the United States virtually nothing. He thought the USA could not export American cars because taxes in the EU were very high. But he has never been to BMW’s world’s largest auto plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where more than 70 percent of its output (including its best-selling SUV, the X5) goes to other markets. This means that if you’re speeding down the German Autobahn and see BMW’s hottest SUV, it was built in the USA.

2. AUDI Q7-Q8

The AUDI Q7 was the first SUV of the German brand, but they have never produced it in Germany. It debuted at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show but was built primarily at Volkswagen’s plant in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is also assembled in Aurangabad, India. The more coupe-like Q8 is produced in the same places, while its direct relative, the Porsche Cayenne, comes only from the plant in Slovakia.

3. Mercedes-Benz GLB

Mercedes unveiled the GLB in Park City, Utah, in 2019 and assembled its three-row compact crossover in Mexico. It’s a curious move for a brand that has built its reputation on German build quality and design. However, it makes sense because labor is inexpensive in Mexico, and the country has an incredibly extensive network of component manufacturers. The GLB is produced at the Aguascalientes plant, a joint venture of Daimler AG and Nissan Motor Corporation.

4. Chevrolet Trailblazer

The Trailblazer SUV is one of Chevy’s best-selling models, but it should not be confused with the pickup-based SUV still available in Thailand and Brazil. The crossover was built in Incheon, South Korea. The cars, assembled in Shanghai, China, are mainly intended for the local market. GM has three factories in South Korea and produces “assembly kits” at its subsidiaries in the United States, China, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

5. Toyota Tundra

The Tundra pickup truck is known for being a Japanese workhorse, but it’s actually as American as Coca-Cola or McDonald’s. Not only is the Tundra Toyota’s first full-size pickup truck built in North America, but it also features at least 75% American parts. According to the American Made Index, this makes the Japanese pickup truck more American than the locally beloved Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado. Moreover, the Tundra was designed in California and Michigan and assembled in Princeton, Indiana, and San Antonio, Texas. But the most significant American accent in the Tundra is the Fender audio system, which sounds especially good when listening to country music.

6. Jeep Renegade

There’s nothing more American than a Jeep unless it’s a little Renegade built in Brazil, China, or India. North American models are built in Toluca, Mexico, while the European Renegade is assembled in Melfi, Italy. In general, there is a lot of Italian in this compact SUV because the Renegade has a platform developed by FIAT. It underlies many of the company’s cars, including the FIAT 500X.

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