It's a universal truth in high school that you're defined as much by who you hang with as you are. Maybe it's universal in adult life, as well. I remember a few friends who thought they were cooler-than-thou because they'd hang out with some upperclassman and even a few college kids. They'd hang out with me, too, when they didn't have better plans. I was a sort of last resort compatriot. It didn't particularly bother me, but I remember one of them pitching a fit when they realized that their cooler friends only spent time with them when they couldn't spend time with older, even more interesting companions. It's kind of the way we feel about the U.S. leading Honda production given brisbrd's comment.

America: Japan's Mexico