10 German Vehicles NOT Actually Built in Germany

Made in Germany ... Except Not

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10 German Vehicles NOT Actually Built in Germany

Cultural stereotypes aside, Germany is known for its advanced technology, engineering prowess and top-quality manufacturing. The land of beer, bratwurst and BMW is especially famed for its automobiles, which are renowned the world over for their driving dynamics and Autobahn-proven performance.

But many of the cars and crossover manufactured by Teutonic firms aren’t actually built in the Fatherland. German companies have factories all around the world, from emerging markets like China and India to Eastern Europe, South Africa and even the good old U.S. of A.

Here’s a list of German vehicles that aren’t necessarily built in Germany:

Mercedes Benz G-Class

Of course to the pedantic among us it’s the Geländewagen, but G-Class is close enough for normal folks. These military-grade body-on-frame trucks are a favorite of rappers, celebrities and people that crave attention and for obvious reasons. It’s impossible to travel incognito if you drive one.

Curiously these boxy behemoths are built by Magna-Styer in Graz, Austria. Germany’s mountainous neighbor to the south-east is known for classical music, the Hapsburg Dynasty and Sachertorte, a type of apricot-infused chocolate cake, oh, and apparently for building cars. Several MINI models are also screwed together there.


smart fortwo

Casting a jealous gaze to the west we arrive at the doorstep of Germany’s other neighbor, one they’ve had numerous property disputes with over the years. Daimler’s much-derided smart fortwo city car is assembled in France of all places in a town with a strangely German-sounding name. And if you can believe it, Hambach actually was part of Germany following the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, though it was returned to France after the Treaty of Versailles ended World War I.


Audi A3

Ok, sorry about that. You didn’t click on this link to read a history lesson. You want to learn about cars! And the next one is built a little farther from home but it’s still local. Curiously the sophisticated new Audi A3 is assembled in Győr, Hungary. This Central-European country has become something of a low-cost manufacturing hub; it’s close to other E.U. countries yet far more affordable.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Audi A3 Review


Volkswagen Touareg

Continuing our ongoing Eastern-European theme Volkswagen’s Touareg is assembled in the country immediately north of Hungary. Do you know what it is? Geography quiz aside, this large crossover vehicle along with its platform-mates the Audi Q7 for the most part Porsche’s Cayenne are assembled in Bratislava, Slovakia. And there you go, you can whip this factoid out at the next cocktail party you attend; your friends will be amazed!


BMW X3

But all this crisscrossing the European Union, with its different languages and cultures is really tiring us out. We need a break, not to mention some down-home ‘Murican comfort food. And where better to get some biscuits and fried chicken than in the Palmetto State? South Carolina is good enough for BMW; it should be good enough for you! The Bavarian firm assembles several of its “Sports Activity Vehicles” there including the X3, X4, X5 and X6.


Volkswagen Passat

Like the abovementioned BMW crossovers Volkswagen’s North America-specific Passat is also built in Dixie. The brand’s mass-market sedan is assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And that’s about all there is to say about that, so let’s move on.


Volkswagen Eos

Vee-Dub’s sunshine-loving Eos retractable-hardtop convertible is built in an unusual place. Final assembly takes place in Palmela, Portugal not far from the country’s capital of Lisbon. The facility is called AutoEuropa and it started as a joint-venture project with Ford but the Blue Oval pulled out years ago and now it’s solely owned and operated by VW.


Mercedes CLA-Class

As with other products from major German automakers Mercedes’ newest compact offering is not actually built in Deutschland. This small, coupe-like sedan is assembled in another one of Hungary’s unpronounceable towns. If you’re curious, final assembly of the CLA-Class takes place in Kecskemét. Gesundheit!


Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta, GTI and Beetle are all popular, mass-market cars. The company sells thousands upon thousands of them all around the world each year. And many of these cars are produced south of the border.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta Review

VW’s facility in Puebla, Mexico is one home of these vehicles, though depending on which global market they’re sold in they could be build in one of several other places.


Mercedes Benz-C-Class

The Mercedes C-Class sedan has been totally redesigned for the 2015 model year. This stalwart of the Benz lineup boasts too many improvements and refinements to list, but one of its most enticing items is twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that’s offered in the C400 4Matic model. It cranks out 329 hp and a maximum of 354 lb-ft of twist

SEE ALSO: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

Those are American-sized portions of power and appropriately the new C is built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama alongside the M-Class and GL-Class crossovers. Cars built here are sold in the U.S. and Canada; of course the C-Class is assembled is numerous other plants around the world.

Discuss this story on our Luxury-Lifestyle Forum

  • Glad my MKVI Golf TDI is the last batch of the German-made Golf models to grace our shores…. Shame on you VW for removing the IRS on the 2015+ US TDI models.

  • smartacus

    Good read, learn something new everyday. Had no idea Touareg was made in Pozsony (Bratislava).

  • David L. Thomas

    Roll Tide!

  • Martin Huusfeldt

    Nothing new here, even Harley Davidson motorcycles are not made in the US, only assembled in US. parts made in good old Japan/china if I remember correctly but surely not the US….
    You can say a lot but Japan, China, Korea are way ahead, no matter if it works they just make a lot of them 🙂

    Volvo, Swedish brand yes but same story, only assembled in Sweden, sadly enough 98 % of all Swedes actually thinks and believes this is a 100% Swedish car,
    never was never will be
    (pls dont try disguss this with a Swede lol )

  • Martin Huusfeldt

    Now I understand why the CLA came out that way 🙂

  • bernardofernndez

    You forgot to mention the VW Beetle…

  • klavier285 .

    I guess I’m one of the few people who cares where their car is made. I’d rather have a German car that was imported from Germany, not Mexico. I don’t care if it’s 99% done by machines.

  • parttimetourist .

    What I object to is being expected to pay top $ for a German luxcury car which I expect to be built in a top class factory in Germany by highly skilled german engineers which is actually slapped together in China by a bunch of peasants who are the cheapest workers on earth

  • parttimetourist .

    Ditto If I have to pay top $ for a german car I want it to be made in GERMANY otherwise it is not a GERMAN car if it is made elsewhere by a bunch peasants employed for cheap labour.Then they lose their prestige and are no better than an average banger so they should also lose their value by the same ratio.Thus since labour in China is $1.32 compared to $25.80 an hour in Germany which is a ratio of 19 times cheaper then the car should be reduced by 19 times cheaper

  • Disappointed

    Speaking of a VW engine manufactured in Mexico, I just took my 2014 Passat TDI Sel that was purchased at the end of Oct 2015 because it is leaking oil, currently at 39,000 miles. When I pointed out to the VW Service rep that the car was recalled for a similar problem (oil leak at Transmission Oil Cooler/VW recall 38B9/9V.) He promptly points to his computer monitor and says my car’s specific VIN wasn’t recalled. It was very clear that he had no idea that the U.S. Dept. of Transporation., NHTSA recall notice concerns specific makes of automobiles. I’m certain it never occurred to him that the VW computer system wasn’t up-to-date.
    Still waiting for an updated eval????

  • BahamaTodd

    A recall will often times only apply to a certain VIN range. If your vehicle has the same problem they can report it, then it is up to VW to expand the recall if necessary.
    The VW powertrain warranty is 5 years / 60k miles, so it should be covered anyway.

  • FUPubs

    and because they are not built in Germany I won’t even consider buying a single car on that list.

  • Gentiler

    Disappointed paying high prices for cars which ain’t made in Germany, was planning to by a X5 for the wife in Europe but have changed my mind, cannot buy also a Volvo nor a Range Rover which are Chinese and Indian own, maybe will settle for a Q7, if made in Germany of course

  • Abby

    Last BMW I will purchase. Guess Chevy or Ford will be a better choice!!! Will not pay for more expensive vehicle built down the street. Pulled one over on those of us who thought we were purchasing quality product. Suppose back too old say never purchase vehicle made on Monday or Friday.

  • tedmingo

    Hats off to the folks in South Carolina, my X5 is a great vehicle.

  • Francis Dec

    Mercedes such junk. Repairs a nightmare. Get a Lexus for crying out loud.

  • Voice Boxer

    Lexus…eww.

  • Voice Boxer

    That’s ridiculous, machines don’t care what country they assemble the cars in, it’s all up to how well the standards are kept at the factory.

  • Voice Boxer

    That’s stupid, it’s still German engineered. Who cares if it’s put together by Germans or Mexicans, if the standards are put into place it doesn’t matter. Can a German screw a bolt in better than a Mexican? Ridiculous.

  • Gentiler

    Ok, buy a Indian Range Rover then

  • They assembled the cars in other countries… but the pieces are made in Germany… like a puzzle…made in …Switzerland….bought in US and assembled in your home… 🙂

  • Rob McLennan

    Get a Camry and save 20k!

  • Oliver Magnus

    i do believe Audi does use Samsung a computer system, unlike my Hyundai Genesis which uses Siemens!!!

  • Oliver Magnus

    Engineers generally do not build cars they design them,

  • Enoch Chi Lok Tse

    I know what you mean, but it does make a difference where it’s made. It’s the prestige, the value of the product, it’s the “Made in ……” label you see in every product. It’s like a human being. You may be conceived in China, and grew in the womb in the US, but if you came out in Germany, that makes you a German. Your passport doesn’t say your nationality is Chinese or American. It’s German.

  • crawford

    its still made in england

  • Michael Cawthorn

    Lexus offer some of the ugliest cars in history at the moment. No thanks.

  • Michael Cawthorn

    China wasnt even on the list m8

  • back in town

    Mercedes only became junk after the merger with Chrysler. In a few years the German culture will be back in the cars. Or probably already happened.

  • Gentiler

    The money goes to India anyway not uk

  • Cheng Jac

    GREAT words !!

  • NovoCinncinatus

    And it’ll look just as hideous.

  • Damon Frost

    Apple is made in China.

  • TheOtherOtherWhiteMeat

    Some of you people are sickening. Outraged that you are paying “top-dollar” for 30-40k cars that would cost 60k if made in Germany. You would think you were shopping for a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta the way you go on. I see many blaming the countries workers where the cars were assembled in for their woahs, real or imagined (probably the latter), when the parts still come from the same places they came from before. “Oh the CLR has no power, I see why now”, powertrain not even built in Hungary. “Mercedes is junk now that Chrysler merged”.. Chrysler is German and has been since 1998. “I paid $35k for a car made in ALABAMA?!!” 1 in 5 cars in America are made in Alabama. Alabama built the Saturn V rocket that sent men to the moon. ALL the western world’s missile defence electronics are made there and many of the complete systems out right. So many stereotypes and predjudices on display here. If your country is now making these cars, BE PROUD!, support your workers and buy them. If you want a “German car” or a “British car”, or an “American car” in a global market economy, GOOD LUCK. Maybe you can find one, but I can guarentee it will not be 30k, Mr. and Miss “Top Dollar”. “Prestige” LMAO.