Five cars named after real places (that weren’t built there)

Image of James Kelly
Author: | Updated: 16 Apr 2024 09:25

Following a throwaway comment from an Italian government minister, Alfa Romeo has decided to rename its upcoming Milano as the Junior. While Junior is a historic name with plenty of Alfa pedigree, the decision is a little bit odd considering the car was revealed just days ago.

Adolfo Urso, the minister in question, commented that the name Milano is illegal because it could mislead customers, who would assume the car is built in Milan. We’re not entirely sure we agree with him.

Here’s five iconic cars built in famous places. We’ve made sure they aren’t built in the place they’re named after too – a list you never knew you needed!

Ferrari Portofino


We’ll kick off with Italy, considering it’s where the naming squabble started. And what better to start with than the beautiful Ferrari Portofino. Named after an equally beautiful coastal resort close to Genoa on the Italian Riviera, this drop-top supercar is actually built in Modena.

Ok, it’s not built in Poland, like the Junior will be; it’s screwed together in Modena – around a 200-mile drive from Portofino. We doubt many Ferrari customers were confused as to where the Portofino was built considering Ferrari has been handcrafting cars in Modena since the 1930s.

Seat Ateca

ateca (1)

It’s quite well-known that Seat names its cars after regions of Spain, its country of origin. Think Ibiza. Think Alhambra. To prove a point to the Italian government though, we’ve picked the Ateca.

It’s one of the brand’s most successful models, and is named after a beautiful area of Zaragoza. But it isn’t built there. It isn’t even built in Barcelona at Seat’s HQ. It’s actually built in the Czech Republic.

Buick Riviera


The Buick Riviera was arguably one of the best-looking American cars of the 1960s, particularly the second and third generation models. As you’d expect, it featured a variety of engines ranging from 6.7 to 7 litres and was as big as a boat.

While its size wasn’t suited to European tastes of the time, it was named after the (French) Riviera. Which was and remains a playground for the rich and famous. It’s certainly a far cry from Buick’s factory in Flint, Michigan, where it was assembled.

Hyundai Santa Fe

santa fe (1)

Hyundai is another contemporary brand that has a naming strategy directly linked to place names. Tucson and Santa Fe are the two that spring immediately to mind. The latter is named after the sun-drenched capital of New Mexico, nestled in the Sangre de Cristo foothills.

The latest generation of this seven seater is built across the globe in locations like South Korea, the US, Vietnam and Indonesia among others. What’s one thing they have in common? They’re all nowhere near New Mexico.

Austin A40 Somerset

a40 somerset

Compared to some other models on this list, the Austin A40 Somerset takes its name from much closer to its factory.

Built in the famous Longbridge assembly plant in the Midlands, the Somerset is just one example of a naming strategy the Austin Motor Company stuck with for many years. There was also the Austin Cambridge, the Austin Westminster and the Austin Devon.

Compare lease deals

Previous Post Next Post
Not sure what car you want?
  • Easy-to-use tool
  • Save time and money
  • Meet your match
Find your dream car