x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Top 5: Marques that fly the flag for their homeland

There are plenty of countries, apart from Italy, that are identifiable by the cars they produce. Here are five of the most obvious candidates, for better and worse, synonymous with their homeland.

Juergen Poenisch stands next to the last Trabant, a 1.1er with four-stroke engine with 40hp of the car manufacturer Volkswagen, at the August Horch Museum in Zwickau, Germany, in April. EPA
Juergen Poenisch stands next to the last Trabant, a 1.1er with four-stroke engine with 40hp of the car manufacturer Volkswagen, at the August Horch Museum in Zwickau, Germany, in April. EPA

Trabant

Think of communist-era East Germany and, chances are, the lowly Trabant will come quickly to mind. It's an icon of a time and place that, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, found favour with many who didn't know it even existed. The Trabant was cheap and was in continuous production, virtually unchanged, between 1957 and 1991. It had a smoky two-stroke engine, seating for four and a durable, composite bodyshell. If you'd owned anything more luxurious in Berlin, the Stasi would have been bugging your apartment.

Rolls-Royce

It's impossible, even though the company is now owned by BMW, to view Rolls-Royce as anything other than quintessentially British. It's as British as bad weather, fish and chips and a stiff upper lip. The favoured transport of royalty and football club managers the world over, Rollers have always been viewed, even when they weren't very good, as the pinnacle of luxury, refinement and engineering excellence. Majestic, serene and possessed of gravitas aplenty, nothing says Rule Britannia like a Rolls-Royce.

Cadillac

One of the world's oldest car manufacturers, Cadillac is synonymous with the US. It's been responsible for some of the most outrageous cars in history, both in design and sheer size, and has found fame in countless movies and pop songs. In fact, it's difficult to talk about American culture without mentioning Cadillac. Owned by General Motors, it's still going strong today, having emerged from its 1970s low point with an extended range of cars that now even appeals to Europeans. Who would have thought?

Citroën

Or, more specifically, the unique 2CV (or "deux chevaux" if you're French). This humble car was built for 42 years, finally hanging up its hat in 1990 after 8.7 million were sold. It's a triumph of beautifully simplistic design - quirky, cute and adorable. Woefully underpowered, owners used to joke about it taking an entire day to reach 100kph but the 2CV was extremely durable, one having been driven around the globe in 1958-59. It's only a matter of time before Citroen resurrects this legend, trust us.

Holden

Yes, Australia has its own motor industry and Holden is undoubtedly its most famous name. Famed for its 1970s muscle car, the Monaro (which, in 2001, was reintroduced and even sold in the UK badged as a Vauxhall), Holden managed to take on Ford at its own game and is now owned by GM. The Aussies are very proud of Holden and it's namechecked in plenty of Antipodean rock songs, just like Cadillac in the US of A. Another famous Holden model, the Commodore, is still produced today and exported to other markets.