Incest – the game all the automakers can play

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Indian Herald.

Automobile manufacturing is probably the most incestuous game in the world. I’m not talking about Chinese ‘knock-offs’ here, I mean cars and accessories that turn up with different brand names on different vehicles and built in different countries.

Where was your car manufactured, for example? If it is a Ford Ranger, Mazda, Isuzu or MG, then it was probably made here, but even a brief perusal of the world marketplace will show that your Audi was probably made in India, your Porsche Cayenne was built in Slovakia, but then again, it may have been Leipzig; your Mercedes G Class was built in Austria, and another old Fiat 500 knock-off also in Austria.

The British Triumph Herald bobbed up in India, and was called the standard Herald 20. The Standard 20 diesel in India used the British Triumph Herald as a basis and the extra diesels were sent to the UK for London taxis.

Now here’s an interesting one. Studebaker was able to import Volkswagens from Germany and sell them to Volkswagen of Canada at a lower cost to Volkswagen and Studebaker was still able to make $150 on each car imported.

Studebaker of Canada also attempted to import Datsun cars to North America. It was felt a second vehicle for Studebaker dealers would help increase showroom traffic and sales, and that one of Datsun’s larger models could serve as a Studebaker-badged replacement for its own aging design. Luckily for Datsun, the deal fell through.

Ever heard of Heuliez? A French company which assembled Opel, Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault.

Yes, they make cars in Finland, by a company called Valmet. They manufacture Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lada, Ford, Saab, Opel and Fisker and convertible roofs for Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Mini, Renault and Bentley. Had you ever heard of them?

Continuing on with the incestuous relationships, Magna-Steyr, a motor car manufacturer you’ve probably never heard of, build the new electric Jaguar, the i-Pace, plus many different models for separate automakers such as Toyota sports cars, the Aston Martin Rapide, and they have developed several cars on behalf of other manufacturers such as the Audi TT, Fiat Bravo, BMW 5 Series and Peugeot RCZ. Their workforce totals 12,500 and the factory is in Graz, Austria.

And there are still people who think that their VW was built in Wolfsburg by der elves!

The all-British Aston Martin Rapide.
The all-British Aston Martin Rapide.