10 Of The World’s Most Famous Car Factories From The Air
For any car enthusiast, the places where cars are actually made are a source of endless wonder.
These incredible factories churn out the objects of our affection on a minute-by-minute basis, but sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate their sheer scale and majesty. Thanks to the magic of Google Maps, though, we’ve been taking an aerial look at 10 of the most famous vehicle factories in the world.
Ferrari – Maranello
The most famous car brand in the world naturally has one of the most famous factories. Maranello is a motorhead’s Mecca, and there’s a museum on site to cater to all of the Ferrari fans. Across the way is Ferrari’s own Fiorano test track, where the famous road cars and even the company’s F1 cars get shakedown tests.
Nissan – Sunderland
Nissan’s Sunderland factory is the epicentre of the UK’s car manufacturing industry. The Japanese brand builds more cars here each year for both its main Nissan brand and the Infiniti sports/luxury marque than the entire nation of Italy builds across all manufacturers…
Aston Martin & Jaguar Land Rover – Gaydon
Among the smaller facilities here, both Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have factories on the Gaydon site (to the top right of the shot). This particular plot is notable for having both the Heritage Motor Museum and an absolutely colossal test track behind it, where the two brands’ 200mph+ cars are routinely tested.
Volkswagen – Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is one of the more impressive facilities here, particularly considering that it was largely flattened at the end of 1945. The car maker is now so synonymous with the town that even the local football team, Bundesliga side VfB Wolfsburg, play in the Volkswagen Stadium on the right of the image.
Mazda – Hiroshima
This is the home of the Mazda MX-5, one of the world’s most famous cars and the perpetual answer to any petrolhead question of ‘What car should I buy?’. Located about three miles from the hypocentre of the first atomic bomb used in war, the Hiroshima plant is one of the symbols of what amazing success can come from devastation.
BMW – Munich
The huge manufacturing facility in Munich is the most easily identifiable from the air thanks to the large BMW logo (centre right of the image). Packing in a sprawling factory (complete with secret pick-up trucks), a museum, BMW exhibition and a visitors’ centre, the Munich plant is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous.
Ford – Dearborn
Dearborn and Ford are practically inseparable entities, as this sprawling image shows. Just about everything in the area is named for some part of the Ford Motor Company. In the east of our image you can see the Rouge River manufacturing complex, with the test circuit of the development centre to the west and Ford’s HQ just to the north of the track.
Toyota – Toyota City
If it’s difficult to separate Ford from Dearborn, it’s impossible to distinguish Toyota from its host city… also called Toyota. Part of the Aichi Prefecture and neighbouring the city of Nagoya, the city changed its name from Koromo to Toyota in 1959 because of the economic importance of its major employer. Given that Toyota is perpetually one of the biggest three car manufacturers in the world, it’s only appropriate it should have its own city.
Fiat – Lingotto
It’s possible that this factory is the most famous of any on this list, thanks to its appearance in the original The Italian Job film in 1969. Built with a banked oval test circuit on the roof, it’s not just an iconic factory but an iconic building.
Tesla – Reno
The colossal Tesla Gigafactory near Reno in Nevada doesn’t technically build any cars – that’s all done at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California – but it’s a vital part of the Tesla production chain. A joint venture between Tesla and Panasonic, the Gigafactory produces the batteries for all Tesla models and is the largest building in the world by physical footprint.
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