How Do You Define A Car's Nationality?

Illustration for article titled How Do You Define A Cars Nationality?

The way we talk about cars, regulate cars, and think about cars is often based on their country of origin. These days, though, that's a little hard to define.

Take, for instance, Infiniti. It's going to Japan for the first time, which is odd, since it's a Japanese company, right? 472CID is particularly confused.

So it's a Japanese company started in America based in China run by a German and has a British spokesperson, oh yeah a the CEO of their parent company is French


Then vc-10 explained that things aren't quite that simple.

Carlos Ghosn isn't even simply French- he's French-Lebanese, and born in Brazil.

Tons of car companies nowadays are built in far-flung reaches of the world and are run by people who didn't necessarily start their lives speaking the language of the company's founders. What does it take for a car to have a strong national character? Is the Porsche Cayenne still German, even though it's made in Slovakia? Is Mercedes really German, even though its most groundbreaking car was designed at the behest of an Austro-Hungarian?

How do you define a car's national character, and what cars make such a definition difficult?

Photo Credit: Infniti, Tom Thai

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I'd have to say that the country of origin of the company or its CEO doesn't define a car's nationality, but rather where it was designed and what market it is originally intended for.

The VW Gol was designed by VW Brazil for the Brazilian market, so it is Brazilian.

The Toyota Solara was designed by Toyota USA for the American market, so it is American.

The Infiniti M45 was designed and built in Japan to be the Nissan Fuga, hence Japanese.

The Ford Falcon was designed, built and sold all by Ford of Australia, hence Australian.

The Chevy Sonic was designed and made by GM Korea (formerly Daewoo) as an updated Daewoo Kalos and sold in Korea, so Korean.