In our world of 24/7 rolling news and instant journalism, we definitely see political leaders more often than we did in the past. In fact, we probably know more about them than at any point in history before. We know bizarre facts about their lives, like where they go on holiday, what they watch and even what they eat.
So, have you ever watched footage of a huge political motorcade and wondering just what car they actually use? The type of car you choose obviously says a lot about you.
I definitely did. So I tracked down the official state cars for the most important political and royal leaders in the world!
Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments!
Government: Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, is ferried around in the Audi A8L– Audi’s flagship, luxury saloon that was rumoured to have cost the government around $520,000. It’s equipped with satellite navigation, runflats (a tire that can be used relatively safely if punctured) and bullet-proof armour.
Royal Family: For day-to-day use, the Spanish royals use a Mercedes-Benz S600. In terms of their wider fleet of cars, they have several Audi A6s, Cadillac Broughams, Mercedes-Benz S-Class models. They also have an exclusive Rolls-Royce Phantom IV (which the family inherited from the Spanish dictator General Franco). Side note: only 18 copies Phantom IV were made and they were only sold to people that Rolls Royce considered ‘worthy’ enough of them.
Government: Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands normally uses a Mercedes-Benz S-Class that utilizes added armour. He has previously used a BMW 7-Series and Audi A6.
Royal Family: The Dutch royal family have history when it comes to choosing classy state cars. With Cadillac limousines and bespoke Rolls Royce Silver Wraiths, the Dutch royals certainly have taste. Current King Willem-Alexander uses a custom-built, stretched Audi A8L. The former Queen Beatrix uses a bespoke Volvo S80 limousine.
The President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, and Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, both use heavily armoured Mercedes-Benz W222, which are variants of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
If the prime minister or the president ever drives within a motorcade, they are surrounded by six identical components. Each component is formed of one police car at the front, one armoured Mercedes W222 in the centre, and three Toyota Land Cruisers at the end.
Government: The Prime Minister of Sweden uses the same model Audi A8L as the Dutch King and Spanish Prime Minister.
Royal Family: The King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, uses a stretched Volvo S80, which is escorted by the Swedish Security Service in a mix of BMW X5, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars. Occasionally, he’ll use an English-built Daimler DS420 for official engagements.
Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italy has two identical armoured Lancia Thesis. Other previous heads of state have used custom-built Lancia Flaminia limousines, a Lancia Flaminia 355 Presidenziale and a Maserati Quattroporte III.
Government: The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, uses a ballistic and bullet-proof armoured BMW 7 Series.
Royal Family: Australia is a Commonwealth country, which means that the British monarch appoints someone in the country to be their official representative. This role is called the Governor-General and it’s currently General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
The Governor-General has a Rolls Royce Phantom VI that they use for official events and a BMW 7 that is kitted out with bulletproof armour.
President: The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, uses a custom-built, heavily armoured Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard.
Prime Minister: Narenda Modi, the Prime Minister of India, is driven around in a BMW 7 Series that’s been fitted with bullet-proof armour that can stop a armour piercing round in its tracks.
Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, probably has the strangest taste in official vehicles we’ve come across. He uses a bizarre variety of cars, ranging from a Toyota Cressida to a BMW 5 Series and a Peugeot 607.
Turkey’s controversial president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırı, both use Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles that have been equipped with bulletproof armour.
Government: Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, changes the vehicles like his socks. For most day-to-day situations, he uses an armoured long-wheelbase Cadillac DTS or Chevrolet Suburban.
Royal Family: Similar to Australia, Canada is a Commonwealth country and so has a Governor General who represents that country on behalf of the British Monarchy. Currently, Julie Payette is the Governor General of Canada, and uses a Lincoln Town Car and Lincoln MKS.
Fittingly, the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, uses an armored Hyundai Equus VL500 to get around. (Hyundai’s a South Korean car manufacturer, obviously).
Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu has one of the largest fleets of state cars going. He uses everything from a Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus IS 250, Audi A8 and Volvo S80 to get around.
President: Reuven Rivlin, normally uses either an Audi A8 or a Volvo stretch limousine.
Royal Family: Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, use a bespoke Toyota Century Royal for their day-to-day duties, which was rumoured to cost around $500,000 and is the only one like it in existence.
Government: Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe, is known to use a Lexus LS 600h L but in some situations he uses an unmodified Toyota Century with a police escort.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, has a lot of choice when it comes to luxury cars. He’s got the likes of the Citroën DS5, Citroën C6 and Renault Vel Satis in his collection to choose from– all of which are kitted out with heavy duty armour.
Germany’s current president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier uses a very heavily armoured Mercedes-Benz S600. The Chancellor, Angela Merkel, usually uses an Audi A8 L Security that is fitted out with armour that can survive impact with bullets and even landmines.
Government: Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is ferried about in a Jaguar XJ Sentinel most of time and is also escorted by security forces in Range Rover Land Rovers. With an explosive-resistant, steel underbelly, Kevlar cabin cladding and bulletproof glass, the Jag is rumoured to cost around £300,000. It even has mini-gun ports, so bodyguards can return fire if the car is ever attacked.
Royal Family: Elizabeth II and her family have an awful lot of cars. The Queen usually travels in one of two armoured Bentley State Limousines, but she also has a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV and stretched Jaguar XJ Limousines at her disposal too.
Chinese leaders have made a habit of using the Chinese car brand, Hongqi since the middle of the 20th century. The current President of China, Xi Jinping, is continuing this and uses a special stretch versions of the Hongqi CA72, CA770, L5 and HQE.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, normally uses an armoured Mercedes S-Class stretched limousine to get around.
The current President of the United States, Donald Trump, uses a heavily armoured, bespoke limousine that’s called Limo One. It’s also known as The Beast because of how it looks– it’s based on the GMC Topkick platform which is actually a medium-duty truck platform! Limo One is designed to look like a beefier version of the Cadillac DTS limousine.
About the Author
Tom Butcher is a freelance writer who recently escaped the world of print journalism. He covers a wide range of topics, including finance, business and motoring. At the moment, he is working with car leasing startup LeaseFetcher.