* Cars not always built where you think * Some VW Polos built in South Africa, Nissans in India * Should you be concerned where it's built?...


Some brands seem to be inextricably linked to the country in which they are made; think Rolls-Royce and you think England, for instance. Likewise Ferrari and Italy.

Yet two of the most British of brands, Aston Martin and Mini, have out-sourced work to a company in Austria, both seemingly without any adverse reaction from customers.

'The only noticeable difference with the end product is that the engineer's name on the sign-off plaque attached to each car is sometimes Germanic now,' says Aston's Matt Clarke. Robertson says BMW-owned Mini has had no negative feedback regarding the Countryman being built abroad.

However, Robertson also says it's unlikely a Rolls-Royce (which is also owned by BMW) would ever be built outside of the UK. 'It's difficult to imagine, although in the 1920s cars were built in the US, albeit by coachbuilders working on UK-built chassis.'

Despite Aston and Mini's positive reports, out-sourcing manufacturing doesn't always have a happy ending, proving that it can matter where your car is built, even if it is nothing to do with nationality.

The Ford Focus CC has perennially come last in What Car?'s Reader Awards, getting low marks for a troublesome roof mechanism.

Ford believes it's no coincidence given that this car was produced by an Italian company on its behalf. Asked why there won't be a CC version of the new Focus, Ford of Britain chairman Nigel Sharp pulls no punches. 'It isn't worth the trip,' he says, adding that Ford now wants to bring all production in-house so it can keep a closer eye on quality.