In most parts of the world, cars are major status symbols and considering that, it comes as little surprise that major politicians put a lot of care into choosing their official state vehicle. Taste veries considerably with some leaders choosing nonchalant models while others go for something sager, with armor plating and bullet-proof glass. Some governments opt for older classics that ooze ceremonial pomp. Being shuttled around in a domestically built vehicle also sends a message about that industry and branding in that leader's country.
Both Xi Xinping and Donald Trump
are transported in cars built in their own countries. The Chinese president travels in a Hongqi L5, China's most expensive car, which retails at about $800,000. It's 20 feet long, weights 3 tons and has jade door handles. The U.S. presidential car is quite literally a different beast. Probably the most iconic state vehicle worldwide, it boasts bullet-proof glass 5 inches thick, along and has armor plating designed to withstand an attack from rocket propelled grenades. It is also designed to be impervious to chemical weapons and if the worst comes to the worst, two U.S. pints of the president's blood type
are kept in the vehicle.
Kim Jong-Un still travels in a vintage Meredes-Benz 600 Landau which also transports other high-level North Korean officials. The Pope of course relies on the famous popemobiles, versions of which have been supplied by Fiat, Kia and Mercedes. Francis is something of an anomaly though and he is well-known for his love of the simpler life. That was evident on the night of his election when he chose to travel in a minibus with Vatican officials rather than the papal limousine. When he isn't being transported in the popemobile, Francis prefers to personally drive a Renault 4 from 1984 with more than 170,000 miles on the clock.