Official state car
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An official state car is a vehicle used by a government to transport its head of state or head of government in an official capacity, which may also be used occasionally to transport other members of the government or visiting dignitaries from other countries. A few countries bring their own official state car for state visits to other countries, for instance, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and South Korea. It also may serve as an automotive symbol of the head of state and their country. Part of the criteria for an official state car is to have adequate security, capability and stateliness for its duty. A limousine, executive car, or sport utility vehicle is usually selected.
Due to the high security risk of the passengers, these vehicles are often heavily secured and protected. Vehicles may be armoured by the manufacturer or an after-market specialist. (In this article the term "armored car" invariably means a reinforced civilian vehicle, not the military vehicle). When carrying an important passenger, state vehicles may be surrounded by a motorcade consisting of police or military personnel. The vehicle's driver might also be from the law enforcement or military pool; the driver of the United States Presidential State Car is an experienced agent from the Secret Service and the British prime minister is driven by a Specialist Protection officer from the Metropolitan Police Service.
For state visits and international conferences, the host country usually supplies the ground transportation and security personnel. However, a few countries transport their official state cars to the destination.
In some cases state cars may bear standard number plates; in others special or no plates are used.
In countries that have indigenous automobile manufacturers, the government will usually commission one of the national automakers to provide a state car, or allow several to provide cars for an official state fleet. It is considered an honour for a car manufacturer to be selected to provide a state car for their respective country and a demonstration of the confidence of a government in their national industry. For example, the president of the United States currently uses a Cadillac with special undisclosed security features commissioned by the United States government and built by General Motors, with Lincoln, manufactured by Ford Motor Company and Chrysler vehicles having been used in the past, representing the three major American manufacturers. Soviet leaders used the custom-built limousines by the ZiL company, and though the Russian presidents have switched to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class due to ZiL's decline after the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin has commissioned a new official state car from the national automotive establishment, which was delivered in early 2018. In 2018 the Government of South Korea had commissioned a highly modified Hyundai Nexo SUV to serve as the official state car of South Korea. The emperor of Japan uses a Toyota Century, the prime minister of Italy uses a Maserati, the prime minister of Malaysia uses a Proton Perdana, the president of the Czech Republic rides a Škoda Superb, and the British monarch uses a Bentley. Members of the British royal family are driven in Jaguars, though other makes may be used in other Commonwealth realms. The president of France can choose from cars manufactured by Renault or PSA Peugeot Citroën, and all major German manufacturers (Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen Group) are represented in Germany's pool of vehicles available for use by state officials. The prime minister of India uses a Land Rover Sentinel high security edition as Jaguar and Land Rover is owned by Tata Motors, an Indian automobile company though they are manufactured in the UK.
For countries without major indigenous manufacturers, an official state car may be purchased from a suitable manufacturer in a nation with strong economic and diplomatic ties. Canada exclusively uses state cars manufactured by the Detroit Three, many of which are made in Canadian factories, with the United States and American car manufacturers having a historically strong relationship with Canada.
The following information lists some state cars and their users of sovereign states and other territories; the list is likely to be out of date in some cases as incumbents and cars change.
Governor-general and state governors
The governor-general of Australia travels in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine for ceremonial occasions, such as the State Opening of Parliament. He more commonly uses a white ballistic and bullet-proof armoured BMW 7 series when on official business. The official cars of the governor-general fly the flag of the governor-general of Australia and display St. Edward's Crown instead of number plates.
A similar arrangement is used for the governors of the six states. When the queen is in Australia, the queen's personal Australian flag is flown on the car in which she is travelling. During Queen Elizabeth II's 2011 visit to Australia, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were driven in a Range Rover Vogue.
The official state car of the prime minister of Australia is a white ballistic and bullet-proof armoured BMW 7 Series, supported at all times by an armoured BMW X5. Prior to 2013, vehicles in the prime ministerial fleet were white Ford Territory and Holden Caprice models. The prime ministerial vehicle is also escorted by police vehicles from state and federal authorities. The prime minister's car bears the number plate C1 (meaning "Commonwealth One") and a centrally mounted Australian flag. The prime ministerial car fleet operates as part of COMCAR, a division of the Australian Government's Department of Finance.
In 2013, BMW was selected to provide a fleet of 7 Series High Security vehicles as part of a tender to replace the ageing armoured Holden Caprice fleet that formerly transported the Australian prime minister. The off-the-shelf replacements offer greater protection and better value for money. A BAE and GM-Holden Consortium also bid for the contract.
The Belgian king, Philippe, uses a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a BMW 7 Series, mostly with the number plate '1', because he is the commander in chief of the army. For his inauguration, a Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulette was used. All royal family members drive cars with only numbers.
The prime minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, uses an Audi A6. Federal government officials drive cars with number plates starting with an "A" followed by one to three numbers. Regional government officials drive cars with number plates starting with an "E" followed by one to three numbers. Members of parliament and the senate drive cars with number plates starting with a "P" followed by three numbers.
For personal use, Queen Paola of Belgium drives a Fiat 500 with diplomatic plates. Prince Laurent of Belgium is famous for his speed driving and his fast cars. There is also a Mercedes-Benz 600 and a 1965 Lincoln Continental Convertible in the royal garage. The late Baudouin of Belgium ordered in the 1970s an armored De Tomaso Deauville. He had also an Aston Martin DB2/4. For their marriage in 1960, Baudouin and Fabiola used a 1955 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible, with a bulletproof bubble-top.
The governor-general of Belize and the prime minister of Belize are both driven in a Volvo S80 bearing the Belizean flag and the standard of that office. Ministers generally use a black Toyota Prado, bearing either government plates or civilian plates with tags.
The king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is driven in a Lexus SUV and occasionally in a BMW M5, in an escort led by the Royal Bodyguard in a Jeep Wrangler followed by Toyota Land Cruisers and Hiluxes.
The ceremonial state car of the president of Brazil is a 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, reserved exclusively for Independence Day commemorations, state visits and the presidential inauguration. The current official state car used by the president for regular transportation is a 2011-model armored version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The car is also used as escort car for the presidential motorcade. The Fusion was first used on 17 June 2008 when it replaced a 2004 Chevrolet Omega.
The federal government's most important officials (President, ministers, magistrates, etc.) use yellow-green brass plates adorned with the coat of arms of Brazil and their titles engraved on them (e.g., President of the Republic, President of the Senate, Defense Minister, Supreme Court president, etc.).
The ceremonial state car of the sultan of Brunei is a 1992 state landaulette Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. On non-ceremonial occasions, the sultan of Brunei personally drives a black Mercedes-Benz M-Class W163 ML55 AMG, usually escorted by either a Secret Service BMW E39 540i or a BMW E61 545i, and a few Lexus LX470. Recently, the Sultan drives around in a black Brabus G700. On other occasions he drives a Maybach 62. The sultan and his brother Prince Jefri Bolkiah own several luxury and exotic cars, one of the largest collections in the world.
The sultan drives a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the 2009 Facelifted G55 AMG instead of the W163 ML55 AMG.
The cars of the president of Bulgaria include Mercedes-Benz S600 and BMW 5 Series and BMW 7 Series. The prime minister is driven in a Toyota Land Cruiser, he very often drives it himself with the security guards sitting in the back of the car. The prime minister is also driven in a black BMW X5. The pilot cars are usually Ford, Toyota or Audi A6 and Audi A8. As of 18 December, the prime minister and the president of Bulgaria are transported in a top of the line Mercedes S600 Guard, 517 hp.
The royal king of Cambodia Norodom Sihamoni is driven in a black Mercedes S-Class 600 with the Royal Palace plate number and the logo of Royal Standard of the King of Cambodia behind. The king has owned two black Mercedes-Benz 600s and also a black Lexus SUV and uses an armoured Range Rover Sentinel stretch for his visits to provinces and rural area.
The prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia has owned more than four Mercedes-Benz guard cars and more than five Chevrolet Suburbans in his houses. He also had a black Mercedes-Benz S-Class 600 Carat Duchatelet bullet proof with plate number
2Z-9999 and another black Mercedes-Benz S600 (V221) with plate number
2AA-9999 and two gold Mercedes-Benz S600 (W220)s.
The president of Cameroon, Paul Biya, uses an armoured Range Rover Sentinel as his official car. Other vehicles forming part of his motorcade include Toyota Land Cruiser's which transport his security detail.
The monarch of Canada and governor general of Canada are driven in a Lincoln Town Car or a Lincoln MKS, with the appropriate flag of office on a metal flagstaff affixed to the right-side front fender. The sovereign's car bears a licence plate with a gold St. Edward's Crown on a red field. The governor general's car bears a standard licence plate of the province of Ontario, but the car displays the governor general's flag to distinguish it. The governor general has also been driven in a Chevrolet Suburban or at times in a Cadillac DTS stretched limousine. A Toyota Highlander Hybrid has also been available for use by governors general. All vehicle are from the VIP fleet of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The prime minister of Canada is driven in a motorcade of five vehicles or more. The motorcade's size is adjusted for certain events, as seen fit by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The prime minister usually rides in an armoured Chevrolet Suburban or long-wheelbase Cadillac DTS, but he has also been seen arriving at various events in a Toyota Sienna minivan when travelling with members of his family. The prime minister's vehicle bears a standard Ontario licence plate. The motorcade is usually led by a Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, or Mercury Grand Marquis sedan.
Certain government ministers and officials are driven in Chrysler 300 sedans. There is also a Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid for official transportation.
Official ceremonial vehicle
The president of Chile traditionally used an elegant horse drawn "Bandeja" Carriage imported from France by President José Manuel Balmaceda for ceremonial events until president Salvador Allende, not wanting to project the image of royalty that carriages now confer, acquired a used 1966 black Ford Galaxie XL convertible in 1970 for Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Chile. Allende then used the vehicle as his official vehicle, with a normally issued license plate (EL-2801).
Both the carriage and the Galaxie have since been maintained by the state and are now used only for official ceremonies, such as state visits and the national holidays on 21 May and 19 September.
President Ricardo Lagos used a Lincoln Town Car, while President Michelle Bachelet introduced a 2008-model Peugeot 607 saloon in her first term in office. Her motorcade was also often seen driving 2006 Audi A4 and A6s. Various Dodge Durangos also composed the presidential motorcade.
During his first term, Sebastián Piñera used a Lexus LS 600h as his daily transport. Bachelet introduced the use of a Hyundai Equus in 2014 for her second term, a marque that has continued into Piñera's second term in 2018 with his choice of the Genesis G90. Whether Piñera's G90 is comparable to South Korean president Moon Jae-in's bulletproof and customized Genesis EQ900 Limousine or a standard issue G90 is unknown.
People's Republic of China
Before production began of the Hongqi, Chinese leaders used various foreign luxury cars. For example, Chairman Mao Zedong used a bullet-proofed ZIS-115 donated by Stalin, while Premier Zhou Enlai used a GAZ-12 ZIM, later a ZIL-115 and Foreign Minister Chen Yi used a Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman before Hongqi began production of its CA770. Since the 1960s Chinese leaders have traditionally used limousines produced under the Hongqi brand for official events. Before the new Hongqi HQE (official name L9) was introduced, the Chinese leaders used a special version of CA770 limousine to review the troops on National Days. During former leader Hu Jintao's review of troops on National Day in 2009, he was seen in a Hongqi HQE Limousine. The HQE is powered by an aluminium V12 cylinder engine of Chinese design (designation CA12VG), with a displacement of 6.0 liters and producing 370 kW (470 hp) at 5600 rpm and 550 N m (405 lb·ft) of torque at 4400 rpm. It is bulletproof, completely hand built and comes with run-flat tyres. When the Kuomintang was still in power, Provisional president Sun Yatsen used a Ford Model T and his successor Chiang Kaishek used an armoured Packard limousine in China and a Cadillac 75 armoured limo in Taiwan.
When visiting a foreign country, Chinese leaders generally use vehicles supplied by the host country. This custom began to change in November 2014, when Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party, used his own Hongqi L5 limousine on a state visit to New Zealand. Chinese premiers continue to use cars supplied by the host country.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The official vehicle of the chief executive of Hong Kong bears no license plate but the Emblem of Hong Kong. This follows the practice of the British governor, as the representative of the British Crown, the laws of Hong Kong did not apply, including the need for a number plate on the car. Hence the official limousine simply had a Crown emblem front and rear in place of number plates. The current chief executive Carrie Lam is usually driven in a Lexus LS 600h L hybrid vehicle. Occasionally, the chief executive is also seen using a 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500L.
Senior government officials, including the chief secretary, chief justice and commissioner of police, are each assigned a Volkswagen Phaeton. The president of the Legislative Council is driven in a Lexus GS450h, with the number plate "LC1".
Prior to 1997, the Governor of Hong Kong used a Rolls-Royce Phantom V for ceremonial occasions and a Daimler DS420 limousine for everyday use. Both were removed from Hong Kong by the Royal Navy immediately following the handover to China on 1 July 1997. The Phantom V displayed St Edward's Crown instead of a front license plate.
Since 1991, the Colombian presidential vehicles have usually been BMWs. In 2006, the presidential fleet included four armored BMW 7 Series and several units of Toyota Land Cruiser 100, whose level of armor is a state secret. These BMWs and Toyotas are equipped with GPS and run-flat tires. The motorcade is made up of 3 BMWs plus 5 Toyota 100s, all armored, plus a Prado armored level IIIA for Police Escort, an ambulance and no less than 8 motorcycles. All the vehicles have presidential tags.
The president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís as well as his vice-presidents, Helio Fallas and Ana Helena Chacon, use grey or black Toyota Prado Land Cruisers as their official state cars. More recently, the Hyundai Equus is now being used as the Presidential State Car.
The president of Croatia is driven in an armored black BMW 7 Series and escorted by a selection of marked and unmarked BMW and Audi models driven by the members of the Croatian Secret Service. The president occasionally uses Volkswagen Passat and Mercedes-Benz E250. These vehicles are part of the vehicle fleet of the Honor Guard Battalion.
The prime minister of Croatia and speaker of the Croatian Parliament, similar to the president, are driven in an armored Black BMW 7 Series with an escort, while government ministers use BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. These vehicles are part of the vehicle fleet of Ministry of the Interior's Department of Protection of Protected Persons.
Historically, presidents of Czechoslovakia were driven in cars manufactured by Škoda (Hispano-Suiza and VOS), Praga (Grand and Golden), Tatra (80, 603 and 613), Daimler (EL24 and DE36), ZiL (110, 111, 114 and 115) and GAZ (12-ZIM and M13-Čajka). After 1989, Czech presidents used Renault 21, BMW 735i and 750i, Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL and thereafter Škoda Superb.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Queen Margrethe II uses a 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith seven-seater limousine (LGLW 25 body no. 10181), commonly referred to as "Store Krone" (Great Crown). It was purchased by her father, Frederick IX of Denmark, as new. The coachbuilder and seller was Hooper & Co. in London.
In addition, she uses several lesser cars for more common occasions. Noteworthy are Krone (Crown) 1, 2 and 5, which are all Daimler DS420 eight-seater limousines made in 1970, 1989 (purchased in 1994 with 1500 km on the odometer) and 1986. There was also a Bentley Arnage that was replaced by a Bentley Mulsanne in 2012. The name Krone with a number, like Krone 121, refers to the license plate used when carrying members of the Danish royal family inside Denmark.
The queen also uses a hybrid limousine, the Lexus LS 600h L. In July 2016, the queen and prince-consort used a stretched Volvo S80 by Nilsson. Crown Prince Frederik has been using a fully electric Tesla Model S since the summer of 2013.
The current prime minister of Denmark uses an Audi A8 L. The former one was driven in an armored Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The ministers in the Danish government have different cars, including the VW Phaeton, BMW 5 Series, BMW 7 Series, Audi A6, Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina actually uses a black Toyota Land Cruiser 200 and a black Lexus LX 570, which can be seen normally with the 0–1 plate (Presidential Plate) and it is mostly chosen by the government for its reliability and bulletproof armor, a black Ford Expedition which was used during his campaign and is now being used as a security car and back up, a black BMW 7 Series used the inaugural parade, only used to go to events in or near the Distrito Nacional, Santo Domingo. All of the cars have been modified with bullet-proof tires and bullet-proof windows. The Presidential Plate will be changed to the car that the president will use for the day. The Escort teams use black Toyota 4Runner fourth and fifth generation, Toyota Fortuner, and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado J120 and the J150 on the motorcade.
Since 2013, the fleet of official state vehicles for the Governor of the state or province were changed from first generation Nissan X-Trail and Nissan Frontier D22 to new 2014 Mitsubishi Montero fourth generation. They could also use their own personal vehicles.
The presidential state car in Ecuador is an armored Lincoln Town Car purchased by president Lucio Gutierrez in 2005. An armored Chevrolet Trooper is also used. Before that, Abdala Bucaram and Rosalia Arteaga used an armored Volvo 900 Series in 1996 to 1997. The president Rafael Correa used to travel in one of several armored Nissan Patrol scholastic level 7 for several Ford Explorer, Chevrolet D-Max and Toyota Hilux. On 30 September 2011, the Nissan Patrol withstood high caliber ammunition in the midst of a shooting in the Police hospital in the city of Quito. The Nissan Patrol fleet was changed for Toyota Land Cruiser 200s. The current president Lenin Moreno uses a fleet of Mitsubishi Outlander jeeps for himself and his guards, in behalf of his austerity policies.
The presidential state car in Egypt used by Hosni Mubarak until February 2011 was a black armored 1998 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. An earlier model of it helped save his life in Ethiopia in 1995. The current vehicle used by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a black armored variant of the 2013 Mercedes Benz S-Class with a special black number plate with the presidential crest above an Arabic 1. Ministers and highly placed government officials are sometimes seen driving black BMW 7 Series, or Audi A8s, all with special government number plates. Parliamentary vehicles are often Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, uses an armored Mercedes-Benz W220 as its official state car. He also drives or is driven in a Lexus LX 570, a Hummer H3, a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8, a Chevrolet Suburban and a 200 Series Toyota Land Cruiser. The president is generally escorted by six Toyota Land Cruiser Prados.
During the first republic (1918–1940), the first president, Konstantin Päts, preferred American cars, such as the Studebaker Dictator. After officially becoming a President in 1938, he also bought a Packard Super 8 Touring Sedan, and in the following year a Studebaker Commander Cruising Sedan.
The president of Estonia uses a Mercedes-Benz S350dL with the coat of arms of Estonia as its license plate. The car is escorted by an Audi Q7. The Estonian prime minister uses an Audi A8L registered in 2015.
The president of Finland uses an armoured Mercedes-Benz S600L with the coat of arms of Finland in lieu of a license plate. Armoured Audi A8Ls are used for visiting dignitaries and government officials. A similar car is used by the speaker of the Parliament, whereas the prime minister's official car is a grey armoured Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard.
The president of France can choose between several armoured versions of high-end French cars including the Citroën DS5 Hybrid4, Citroën C6, Renault Vel Satis and Peugeot 607. These are traditionally provided by the manufacturers and different -residents will have their own preference. Jacques Chirac preferred Citroën while François Mitterrand was a Renault fan, occasionally using his own Renault 5 model and the presidential Renault Safrane.
For his inauguration parade in 2007, Sarkozy used the one-off Peugeot 607 Paladine model, a stretched limousine with landaulette body, originally built as a concept car in 2000. The model was brought out of storage for the occasion and updated with a new grille and lights to bring it in line with the 2004 re-style of the mainstream model. It has since been returned to Peugeot and, as it effectively remains a concept car in its fit and finish, will not become part of the Élysée fleet. President Hollande used a one-off convertible version of the Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 for his inauguration parade on 15 May 2012. The car, owned by Citroën, has since been displayed at various events throughout the world. President François Hollande is usually chauffeured in an armoured Citroën C6, although he has been known to make private trips by moped. President Emmanuel Macron has used a DS 7 Crossback as the first luxury SUV by French manufacturer DS Automobiles for his investiture. But for his current displacements, he uses an armoured Peugeot 5008 and a Renault Espace, also the Acmat military command car for the military parade.
The most famous association between a president of France and a single model was that of Charles de Gaulle with the Citroën DS, as portrayed in the film, The Day of the Jackal. The president was saved in two assassination attempts by French Algeria supporters by the car's unique ability to drive on three wheels and to keep running when more than one tyre is punctured.
For ceremonial occasions, the president also has access to two special open top Citroën SM Présidentielle models, created for President Georges Pompidou by the coach-builder Henri Chapron. Based on the SM Opera, itself a special edition four-door coupé, these cars are still used for state occasions and military parades, when the open-top layout enables the president to stand in the back seat and survey the crowd. Built for an official visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, the cars have a standard mechanical layout with the addition of a special gear for low-speed cruising. One of these cars was also used by President François Mitterrand for the official opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994, when it accompanied the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI of Elizabeth II. Number plates on these cars are standard French ones, although specially created for the model (2 PR 75 and 3 PR 75, '75' denoting the Paris region). Both are still maintained in working order, but are now rarely seen in use.
An international museum of official state cars also exists in France.
Known for his large car interest, former president Omar Bongo, had one of three ever built Stutz Royales. The other two are in Saudi Arabia.
Over the years, German presidents, chancellors and senior politicians have often used Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles and their predecessor models. The most famous variants were the Mercedes 300 series "Adenauer" and the stretched "Pullman" variants. Currently the State Car of the president of Germany is an armored Mercedes-Benz S600 with license plate 0–1, but the president has also used an Audi A8. The president is (besides the minister of defense) the only German official whose official car regularly shows a flag (a version of the President's standard) placed on the front of the hood.
All officials under close personal protection from the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), one of Germany's federal police forces, are transported by the BKA pool of armoured cars and BKA driving staff. The car pool includes armored limousines from all German car manufacturers, usually high-end models such as the Audi A8, Volkswagen Phaeton, BMW 7 Series, Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Some German politicians choose to express their regional origins through the make of car they use. In particular officials from Bavaria customarily prefer cars from Munich-based BMW over the more common Mercedes brand. Some high-ranking politicians from Alliance '90/The Greens (Germany's green party) have chosen Audi, VW or BMW cars to avoid the posh and elitist image of Mercedes models. While in office, former chancellor Gerhard Schröder initially used an Audi for his official car, a brand he is known to prefer as his personal car as well. Later during his administrative term, Volkswagen presented him with a VW Phaeton which found its way into the car pool. Before becoming the chancellor, he had been the minister president of Lower Saxony, where Volkswagen is headquartered and is a major employer; and the state government owns several stocks in the company. His successor in office, current chancellor Angela Merkel is known to alternate between brands as to project neutrality and support the German car industry in general.
One of the earliest links between a leader and a particular marque was the association of Paul von Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler with Mercedes-Benz. Especially Hitler was known for his love of luxury cars and ordered a succession of custom vehicles from Mercedes, culminating in the 770K model of 1941, which was rumoured to weigh up to five tonnes. These cars and their predecessors were most prominently seen at Nazi parades and Hitler's visits to conquered cities such as Vienna and Paris.
The former East Germany manufactured the Trabant and Wartburg, both deemed unsuitable for state car usage. The leaders of the country used Soviet-made cars and Swedish Volvo models, while the Communist Party general secretary, Erich Honecker, used a fleet of stretched Citroën CX and Volvo 700 Series models.
The Prime Minister of Greece used to use a heavy armoured, custom-built W221 Mercedes-Benz S600 escorted by custom built Mercedes-Benz G-Class vehicles. George Papandreou displaced it with a standard Toyota Prius. On official events the car of the president was used.
Past Prime Ministers have also used a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Long-Wheelbase Limousine. The president, also, uses a W221 Mercedes-Benz S600, wearing the Greek coat of arms. The monarchs in the 1930s used a Maybach Zeppelin. The official state car of the king of Greece in the 1960s was a 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith (LHLW44 chassis).
The governor general of Grenada is driven in a white BMW 750Li with a crown license plate symbolizing the queen while the prime minister drives in a black BMW 750Li bearing a Grenadian flag and a coat of arms license plate, escorted by police motorcycle outriders and two black Prado SUVs.
Hungarian public key dignitaries and security personnel use armored Audi A8Ls. Also used in official convoys are the Audi A7, Audi Q7, and Audi A6. The prime minister, however, prefers to ride in a Volkswagen Multivan. Members of the government use the Škoda Superb, while lower-ranking officials use Škoda Octavias.
The president of India, travels in a black asthetic Mercedes S600 Pullman Guard. It is a custom-built, heavily armoured stretch limousine which meets the requirements of the highest protection class BR7-level. The president's motorcade always consists of the former presidential car, a black Mercedes-Benz armoured limousine, which is used as a spare vehicle. The presidential car used to display the National Emblem of India instead of the number plates but this tradition was changed recently. Now, the presidential car is allotted a registration number. They are protected and followed by the President's Bodyguard.
The prime minister of India, the head of the government, uses Land Rover's Range Rover Sentinel with BR7-level with several other decoys. PM Narendra Modi prefers using Land Rover because it is owned by Tata Sons which is an Indian company and also this car was assembled in India to promote his Make in India initiative. Occasionally, BR7-level highly modified armoured BMW 7 Series (F01) are also used. The prime minister also travels in armored Toyota Land Cruiser and several decoys. The motorcade is escorted by the SPG usually in several Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Scorpios, BMW X5 or Tata Safaris, a jammer vehicle along with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van are a permanent part of the prime minister's convoy. When visiting a foreign country, Indian leaders generally use vehicles supplied by the host country.
The president of Indonesia is driven in one of several armored black Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard bearing the "RI 1" or "INDONESIA 1" license plate and sometimes with the Indonesian flag mounted on the bonnet at formal events. The vice president of Indonesia is driven in a similar car bearing similar attributes.
The president and vice president of Indonesia are escorted by the Paspampres in a number of cars depending on the security detail, where the fleet consists of the majority of Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota Fortuner, and Toyota Land Cruiser models as well as a Volkswagen Caravelle carrying a communications jammer device. In addition to the escort cars, the fleet also includes several Toyota Hiace to carry their entourage and additional security forces in Yamaha FZ1 motorcycles.
The Presidential Fleet contains other vehicles such as BMW 760Li Security, BMW X5 Security, a newer Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser, and the recently acquired Volkswagen Caravelle and Toyota Alphard models, all armored and in black. These cars are also available for use by visiting foreign dignitaries.
For trips outside Jakarta the SUV models are preferred to the usual Mercedes sedans. During military exercises, the president of Indonesia is driven in armored personnel carriers bearing the 'INDONESIA 1" license plate, usually in the Anoa. Incumbent president Joko Widodo preferred using the newly acquired Volkswagen Caravelle or Toyota Land Cruiser for trips outside of Jakarta. An older BMW X5 was notably used by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the 2007 Jakarta flood.
Cabinet ministers of Indonesia are driven in black Toyota Crown models, escorted by black Nissan X-Trail or Toyota Fortuner vehicles. The Indonesian National Police vehicles, either a motorcycle or an unmarked Nissan X-Trail is always present in all cabinet minister motorcades.
The current president of Iran has used different vehicles over the years ranging from Toyota Cressida, BMW 5 Series and recently a Peugeot 607. The former president of Iran used a 1977 Peugeot 504. Cars for diplomatic and official purposes range from various types of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Peugeot, through to domestically-made Samand model Sarir.
While in power, Saddam Hussein normally traveled in a Mercedes-Benz W126, and also bought a large fleet of luxury cars for himself and his family. Some were classic American cars, many from the era of Al Capone of whom Saddam Hussein was an admirer.
The daily transport for Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin is a blue 2019 Lexus LS hybrid, which replaced the 2017 BMW 7 Series, a 3.0 litre diesel, that was used by Leo Varadkar. Enda Kenny, when he was Taoiseach, was driven in a 2014 BMW 7 Series with a 3.0 litre Diesel engine, or a dark coloured 2013 Audi A6 3.0 TDI Quattro model with 242 BHP. Previously, Enda Kenny was driven in a 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which was also the state car for previous taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern. The taoiseach is driven by specially trained and armed members of the Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU). The car the Taoiseach travels in is always accompanied by a follow car, usually an identical Audi A6 or BMW 7 Series, or an unmarked BMW 5 Series (2.5 petrol), containing armed close protection officers from the SDU and staff/minders. The taoiseach's car is usually escorted by motorcycle outriders from the Garda Traffic Corps, and further marked and unmarked patrol cars are added to the escort when the taoiseach is attending sensitive events or during times of a heightened security risk. The Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) usually travels in a similar Audi A6.
The daily transport of the president of Ireland is a black 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (3.5 petrol). The president receives the highest protection in the land by law. The president's car is driven by a specially trained and armed member of the Garda Special Branch. The motorcade is led by Garda motorbikes to fend off traffic for the oncoming motorcade. A marked patrol car follows and then the president's car proceeds. Two unmarked cars from the Special Detective Unit follow, they are usually BMW 5 Series, Volvo S60 and/or Audi A6, containing armed bodyguards and the president's staff. The president's aide-de-camp always travels with him in the cavalcade. The convoy occasionally contains a vehicle from the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) for increased security.
The Presidential State Car is a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith landaulette, license plate ZJ 5000, nicknamed "DeV's car" because of its association with former president Éamon de Valera. It is only used occasionally by the president for ceremonial occasions.
Uniquely in Ireland, politicians (taoiseach, tánaiste, ministers) usually sit in the front of the car, especially when Fianna Fáil are in government, while the president sits in the back.
Full-time armed protection and transport is also afforded to the tánaiste, minister for justice and equality, attorney general, chief justice, director of public prosecutions and Garda commissioner. All government ministers and former -residents and taoisigh are provided with armed protection and transport when their security is deemed under threat, otherwise it is reserved for official state occasions. Ambassadors and high-ranking foreign diplomats in Ireland are given protection by the SDU when their safety or security is "at risk", such as the ambassadors of the United Kingdom, United States and Israel in Dublin. This fleet includes Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volvo S60 and Lexus GS. A fleet of armoured vehicles are deployed for visiting dignitaries, such as heads of state.
When the president or taoiseach visits Northern Ireland, they are driven in armoured vehicles and security in their motorcade increases. The Garda SDU and ERU liaise with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Close Protection Unit (CPU) during visits to Northern Ireland.
The official car of the prime minister of Israel is an Audi A8 modified by the Israeli security service to meet certain security measures. The prime minister is also escorted by a fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers, Lexus IS 250, and Volvo S80. The president of Israel uses a Volvo stretch limousine and Audi A8.
In 1960, the then president of Italy, Giovanni Gronchi, personally ordered custom-built Lancia Flaminia limousines for a state visit by Queen Elizabeth II. Four Lancia Flaminia 355 Presidenziale models were delivered, coachbuilt by Pininfarina with landaulet body on an extended wheelbase. All of the original four cars survive today, with two being leased to different automobile museums and two still in service for the most significant state occasions, like the Republic Day parade or presidential inaugurations.
Sandro Pertini drove a Maserati Quattroporte III during his tenure. The current presidential cars are two identical armoured Audi A8L. A Lancia Thesis Stola S85 limousine and three Maserati Quattroporte V are at the disposal for State Visit.
There is also a curious three-wheeled Piaggio Ape Calessino, in service at the presidential summer residence Villa Rosebery and therefore rarely seen. It was donated in 2008 by Roberto Colaninno, head of Piaggio industries, on the 60th anniversary of both the Italian Constitution and Calessino. Its blue livery is decorated with the emblem of the Presidency of the Italian Republic, while the interior is trimmed in wood and white leather.
The government fleet includes a varied array of vehicles, notably Alfa Romeo 159 and 166, Audi A6 and A8, Bentley Continental Flying Spur, BMW 5 Series and 7 Series, Lancia Thesis and Lancia Thema, Maserati Quattroporte V and VI, Mercedes-Benz W212 and W221 models.
The official state vehicles of the governor-general of Jamaica and the prime minister of Jamaica are modified BMW 740Li cars bearing the Jamaican flag and the standard of each office respectively. The governor-general's vehicle carries license plates bearing the state crown, whilst the prime minister's car carries the island's standard private license plate. The prime minister also has at his disposal, and often uses in lieu of the state BMW 740Li on a day-to-day basis, two customized Land Rover Discovery vehicles along with dark blue BMW 5 Series for his accompanying security detail. Both chief officials are driven by members of the protective services branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The Government of Jamaica also maintains a fleet of modified BMW 5 Series as protocol vehicles for visiting heads of state/government, in addition to other foreign dignitaries. Ministers of government generally use a Toyota Prado or Mitsubishi Pajero, bearing either government plates (yellow plates with black numbering) or civilian plates with tags. They are also accompanied by a follow Toyota Rav4 or a vehicle of similar class for their security detail.
Previous vehicles used by holders of these offices include:
The official state car currently used by the emperor of Japan and the empress of Japan is a specially prepared Toyota Century Royal, a one-off $500,000 custom car. Custom built by Toyota, it is 20 feet (6.1 m) long and 6.5 feet (2.0 m) wide, with extra amenities such as bulletproofing and a granite entryway. The emperor was previously transported in multiple vehicles including a Nissan Prince Royal (1967–2008), Cadillac Series 75 (1951–1970), Mercedes-Benz 770 W07 Series (1932–1968), Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (1921–1936) and a Daimler (1913–1927). From 1935 to 1963, the Royal Household also possessed a fleet of five 1935 Packard Eights, one of which was Emperor Hirohito's personal car during that period. The prime minister of Japan travels in a Lexus LS 600h L, the official transport for the head of government, or an unmodified Toyota Century escorted by a police motorcade of numerous Toyota Celsiors
The president of the Republic of Kenya has several official cars that he uses during his travels. The most common one that he uses is an armoured Mercedes Benz Pullman S600 with the Kenyan coat of arms instead of the licence plate. The other fleet he normally uses from time to time includes an armoured Range Rover Vogue, armoured Toyota Land Cruiser and several other Mercedes-Benz's at his disposal. Additionally, he has an open top military Land Cruiser, covered with bullet proof glass on the side, used during state functions with licence plates CIC (Commander in Chief). For a long time an open top military Land Rover 109 was used during state ceremonies but it was replaced by the Land Cruiser. His escort includes several Mercedes-Benz E-Classes, BMW 5 Series, a Range Rover, Toyota Land Cruisers and an ambulance. Cabinet ministers are supplied with Volkswagen Passats, Mercedes Benz E & S – Classes and Toyota Land Cruisers in addition to other vehicles in the ministerial car pool. The prime minister in office from 2008 to 2013 was equipped with similar vehicles to the president; Mercedes-Benz limousines, Range Rovers and Land Cruisers, however, he had a substantially smaller escort.
The emir of Kuwait uses a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Maybach on a daily basis. His motorcade consists of three identical cars escorted by GMC Yukon Denalis and marked police vehicles. For state occasions he uses a Rolls-Royce or Bentley.
The president's car is a W221 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard armored limousine. It is escorted by the Republican Guard's SUVs (Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon) and other security vehicles, including the preceding official state car (an armored W140 Mercedes-Benz S600 now possibly used as a back-up limo) as well as other W220 Mercedes-Benz S500L models. Another vehicle that is used sometimes is the J200 Toyota Land Cruiser. The motorcade would be generally escorted by a dozen other Land Cruisers of the same color, as well as the regular Republican Guard's General Motors SUVs. Other government representatives have their own private cars but are still provided with police escorts. The most notable motorcade was Saad Hariri's (when he was prime minister of Lebanon) motorcade, which contained around 25 cars, 6 armoured W222 Mercedes S600, a dozen J200 Land Cruiser, some Chevrolet Tahoe and some Nissan Xterra used as spotting cars.
The current president of Liberia is driven in a black Mercedes-Benz W220 S-class. The presidential car is often escorted by several Nissan SUVs carrying security personnel. Previous presidents, such as Charles Taylor and Samuel Doe, were also driven in Mercedes-Benz cars. Some claim that Doe had purchased over 60 luxury Mercedes, which cost over US$60,000 each.
The first official Lithuanian state car was bought in 1919 from war-losing Germany. It was a Benz 25/55PS with four cylinder, 6.3-liter engine. The car had a Vytis symbol on the left back door and Lithuanian flags in the front. The car was used by Antanas Smetona and Aleksandras Stulginskis. Later Lithuania bought a French-made Delauney-Belleville 12 CV which was used along with Benz 25/55PS by third Lithuania president Kazys Grinius. After that Antanas Smetona became president of Lithuania again and ordered to buy a new car – Fiat 519, however, it was soon replaced with armored Lincoln K-series due to his wife's wishes. None of these cars remain. After the restoration of Lithuanian independence, leader of the Supreme Council, Vytautas Landsbergis used Soviet-built Čaika M14, after some time it was replaced with armored Opel Senator. Later Lithuania bought armored Mercedes-Benz W126, which was used by Vytautas Landsbergis and Algirdas Brazauskas. The car is now owned by businessman Robertas Dargis. During Algirdas Brazauskas' term of office, two brand-new Audi V8 Lang arrived, they were later replaced with newer version Audi A8 Lang. Valdas Adamkus was driven in a long-wheelbase BMW 7 Series for a short amount of time, however, it was later replaced with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W220), which was used until 2013. In 2013, four armoured BMW 7 (F01) were purchased.
The grand duke of Luxembourg and his family are driven in an Audi A8 or similar vehicle. The grand duke's car generally displays his personal flag on a flagstaff, and the car bears a registration plate with a large gold crown (from the Luxembourg coat of arms) on a plain white background.
Official cars used by other members of the ruling family of Luxembourg normally display registration plates that have an orange stripe over a blue stripe (the flag of the House of Nassau-Weilburg), without any numbers. For important ceremonial occasions like state visits, there is a Daimler DS420 limousine and also a Bentley Mulsanne. Most of the official cars are painted black or dark blue.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong and other sultans
All the sultans in Malaysia are also transported in official cars bearing their respective royal emblems; common choices include Rolls-Royce Phantom and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Bentley Mulsanne, Lexus LS and Maybach 62.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia normally using the Proton Perdana Executive Limousine as official car to transport within Klang Valley. He will use other official state's car provided by the government of the state.
The former president of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, was driven in an armored Black Mercedes Benz S Class, a Toyota Land Cruiser or Range Rover, the security features remain a state secret. The president traveled in a motorcade of four Hummer H3 and eight escort motorcycles, along with police cars.
Among the presidential cars are a pair of Vanden Plas Princess limousines, one dating from 1960 and the other, a convertible, from 1955. Both remain in use for state visits and similar occasions; they were originally imported and used by the British governor of Malta.
The prime minister of the Republic of Mauritius uses an armored BMW 7 Series on a daily basis. He is escorted by one BMW 5 Series and five police motorcycles. The president of the Republic of Mauritius uses a BMW 750Li or a Mercedes S600. She is escorted by a BMW 5 Series and at least two police motorcycles.
Under the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, he later sold the vehicles in an auction for US$3.25 million and since being president, used his Volkswagen Jettaas his mode of transport. As President of Mexico, he sometimes continues to ride in an armored Chevy Suburban
The president, the prime minister, and the speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova have three long-wheelbase Mercedes Benz S500s at their disposal, all of which were purchased in 2012 and are operated by the State Protection and Guard Service. The vehicles are not armoured.
The king of Morocco, Muhammad VI Normally, when inside Morocco uses his Mercedes 600 Pullman. The royal fleet also includes Range Rover models (when he goes to mountainous places only), Mercedes-Benz S500 and various Lexus models. One BMW 5 Series, which travels in the King's motorcade, contains a communications jammer. An ambulance is always present in the royal motorcade, which is usually escorted by police motorcycles.
The prime minister of Morocco is driven in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, like all other ministers. The king also has a personal garage, which consists of sports cars, including three Laraki Fulgura models, and an Aston Martin DB7.
In 2011, Prince Albert II acquired a one off Lexus LS 600h L Landaulet hybrid sedan, making it his official state car. In addition, he owns a variety of eco friendly cars including a Lexus LS 600h, BMW Hydrogen 7, Toyota Prius, Lexus RX 400h, Fisker Karma, Tesla Roadster (2008), and a limited production Venturi Fétish. He also owns a collection of vintage cars, which number over 100, and include prestigious models from Maserati, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
The president of Mongolia uses a Mercedes Benz S-Class with number plate 0001, the Speaker of the Parliament, an S-Class with number plate 0003 and the prime minister an S-Class with number plate 0001, all escorted by a traffic police car and either a Nissan GT-R and Toyota Land Cruiser series 100 or 200, all protected by the State Special Protection Agency.
The prime minister of Montenegro and senior state officials of Montenegro use a fleet of Audi limousines, notably the Audi A8 models, and lower ranked officials travel in Mercedes-Benz E-Class models. Mercedes M-Class, Volkswagen Passat are also seen. They are escorted by BMW 5-Series, and additional police Mercedes A-class and VW Golf 4 and VW Golf 5.
The first state vehicles were a fleet of vehicles, unknown by model names, probably from Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Russia and the United Kingdom. They were bought in the period 1908–1910 and most are seen in a 1910 Coronation video from an archive where Knyaz Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš was proclaimed King of Montenegro.
The current president of Namibia, Hage Geingob is driven in a fleet of armoured Mercedes- Benz S600Ls, escorted by 2-3 unmarked Mercedes Benz E500s, Double cab Toyota Hilux 4.0 v6 cars used by the VIPPD and a fleet of police cars. As an offroad vehicle, the president uses armored black Mercedes-Benz ML500s or armored Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series presidential car always bearing the presidential seal. The vice president of Namibia is driven in an armoured Mercedes-Benz S550 (bearing GRN plate number) or S600 which is escorted by Black Mercedes E250s. As an offroad car, the vice president uses armored Toyota Land Cruiser 200s, under the escort of Toyota Prado V6 VX, Toyota Hilux Double cab 4.0 V6 and police cars. The prime minister of Namibia uses an armored black Mercedes-Benz E500(GRN plates) V8 and Black Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series SUVs. Cabinet ministers and their deputies are driven in Black Mercedes-Benz E400s and E250s and use White toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 or Toyota Hilux Double cab V6 as off-road vehicles (All bearing GRN plates). The current First Lady of Namibia uses a fleet of armored Mercedes Benz E400s, escorted by VIPPD Toyota Corolla 1.8 Exclusive or Hyundai Sonatas. The FLON utilizes Black armored Toyota Land Cruisers Prado VX V6 as off-road vehicles. The two former presidents of Namibia, Nujoma and Pohamba are driven in a fleet of armored Mercedes Benz S550/S500 and Black Toyota Land cruiser 200 series. usually escorted by VIPPD police cars.
The president of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari uses a Mercedes Benz E-Class W210 Bullet Proof Car for her daily transport, while the Nepalese state car is an armoured stretched Jaguar XJ. The former prime minister of Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai used a Nepali-made Mustang bullet proof Max four-wheel drive. All the State Cars in Nepal are international standard giving all the facilities.
Dutch Royal Family
The first car to be owned by the Dutch royal family was a 1908 Renault, purchased by Prince Hendrik. In the years that followed, it would be joined by nine royal limousines from the Amsterdam carriage maker Spijker. Between 1925 and the late 1950s, the royal limousines were supplied by Cadillac, after which the royal household switched to the Ford Motor Company. However, in 1957, a customized Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith was commissioned by Queen Juliana and delivered in 1958.
The current official royal limousine is a custom built stretched Audi A8L model, to be used by King Willem Alexander. This stretched A8L is 45 cm longer compared to the normal A8L. A custom-built stretched Volvo S80 limousine is still being used by the former queen, Beatrix. Other members of the royal family use different cars. Visiting heads of state are chauffeured in a stretched and armoured Cadillac DTS, which replaced a 20-year-old Lincoln Town Car.
Other cars are a few non-stretched Volvo S80s and a V70, Audi A6 and A8, and Ford Focus, Mondeo and Galaxy for the royal household. The Royal Stables have also a Ford Scorpio Landaulet, a Mercedes W126 4-door convertible, a blue coach, and a blue Mercedes-Benz Viano and Volkswagen Crafter VIP bus. The royal bodyguards drive Audi A6 models.
All royal automobiles are painted in royal-blue, with standard Dutch number plates, as well as a plate beginning with AA, a special designation for the royal household. Other vehicles used by the royal family are Audi or Mercedes. The members of the royal family have private vehicles also for their own use. King Willem-Alexander has owned a red Volvo XC90. The late Prince Bernhard, the former queen's father had a collection of Ferraris, and other exotic cars.
The prime minister of the Netherlands uses an armoured Mercedes-Benz S-Class and sometimes an Audi A6. Previously, an armoured BMW 7 Series was used. Both cars are owned by the Royal and Diplomatic Security Service (DKDB).
The governor-general travels in a long wheel base BMW 7 Series (F02). Although this vehicle has been debadged, it is most likely a 730LD, as are all other state BMWs. However, while all other state BMWs are silver, the governor-general's BMW is black. Between 1996 and 2011, the governor-general used a Jaguar XJ Sovereign. Before 1996, he or she traveled in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. During official travel, it is the only vehicle in the country not required to use standard number plates. The official flag of the governor-general is flown on the car in which he/she is travelling. The queen of New Zealand, Elizabeth II, has her own flag, which is used when she is travelling in the country, but there are no specific cars reserved for her use.
From the 1960s up until 2011, The prime minister used to travel in one of two cars, one being a Holden Statesman/Caprice sedan or Ford Fairlane, usually followed by the other vehicle containing their security detail. The prime minister's Wellington-based car has the number plate CR1, and all other cars in the fleet for ministers have number plates starting in the CR series. The main motorcade vehicles consist of Toyota Highlanders operated by the New Zealand Police Diplomatic Protection Service. The estimated purchase price per unit is NZ$69,900 In 2011 the government upgraded the ministerial fleet with 34 new BMW F02 730Ld limousines. The retiring fleet was kept on for use during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In October 2014 it was announced the BMW limousines were to be replaced.
The president of Nicaragua uses a Mercedes-Benz G-Class. In the past, the Somoza family used several luxury cars during their 43 years in the presidency. A Mercedes-Benz Type 300 was used for official ceremonies. Others were Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac limousines.
The president of Nigeria and other high-profile government officials use a black armored Mercedes Benz S-Class 2016 model adorned with the Nigerian flag and official party flag. Other luxury cars, like the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Range Rover, all armoured, are used. The president travels in a motorcade of 30 cars and ten escort motorcycles, along with police cars and 6 Mercedes S-550 of SSS surrounding the president's car. Foreign visitors also travel along in the president's car.
The founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, initiated the trend with the purchase of two W100 Mercedes-Benz 600 Landaulets in the 1960s. Daimler-Benz made fifty-nine 600 Landaulets, twelve with a longer convertible roof which (while not an official factory designation) are usually referred to as presidential landaulets. The North Korean 600s have the longer roof. Both [[Kim Jong-il][ and Kim Jong-un have continued to use these W100 laudaulets for ceremonial occasions.
When Kim Il-sung died in 1994, official state propaganda proclaims that "1000 cranes descended from the heavens to take Kim Il Sung," while his worldly possessions, including a black Mercedes-Benz W140 500 SEL have been entombed at the Mansoosan Memorial Palace where Kim Il-sung's body lies in state.
The UN sanctions were reportedly a sticking point brought up by Kim Jong-un at the 2019 Vietnam Summit, one which he also frequently makes a point of flaunting with his own use of post sanction Mercedes-Maybach W222 S600 Pullman Guards at the summit, and the use of a Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII at a summit with United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
The king and queen use a 2016 Audi A8 L Extended (known as A-2) for formal use, and a stretched Mercedes E-Class (Binz Business) (known as A-7) as HM queen's private limousine. The crown prince and crown princess use a Lexus LS 600h limousine (known as A-8), acquired in early 2008, A BMW 7-series long Hybrid (known as A-6) and a stretched Binz Limousine (known as A-3), the former A-2. The royal family of Norway also uses a 2007 Audi A8, an E65 and an E67 BMW 7 Series, a vintage 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible (A-5), one of stretched Cadillac Deville (Superior Commercial Glass). The BMWs are often driven by the king and queen. The king has a private BMW 7-series Hybrid (C-570) and the queen a 2017 Volvo XC 60 with regular plates.
The royal family is always escorted by an armoured BMW X5 from the Royal Police Escort and not the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) like government officials are.
The prime minister of Norway uses an armoured Mercedes S600L. The prime minister of Norway is escorted by BMW X5s driven by agents of the Norwegian Police Security Service. Various governmental ministers are transported in an Audi A8, a Mercedes S-class or a BMW 7 Series.
Sultan Qaboos drove around the country in the following cars:
- 2 Maroon-colored 2007 model Mercedes S-Class pullman.
- 4 Red-colored 2003 model Mercedes S600 pullman.
- 4 Maybach 62
In addition to this, his garage contained:
The president of Pakistan and prime minister of Pakistan both have armoured fleet of Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series. The motorcade consists of armoured Toyota Land Cruiser and BMW X5. Currently, the prime minister of Pakistan, uses a Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W222) guard and the president of Pakistan uses a BMW 7 Series (G11) high security for their official purposes.
The president of Panama uses a black armored Chevrolet Suburban. The Ford Explorer and the Toyota Land Cruiser are used for the Institutional Protection Service (S.P.I.) as escort presidential motorcade and 400cc motorcycles. High-security motorcades may include up to ten vehicles.
The president of Peru is driven in a black armoured Lexus LS 460hL. In May 2015, the Lexus was chosen by the president Humala as the official brand of the Government of Peru.
The prime minister of Peru and the other ministers are driven around in Lexuses.
The president of the Philippines uses Mercedes-Benz S600 Guards acquired at the end of the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or Toyota Land Cruiser LC200s. The president is always escorted by the Presidential Security Group. The high-security motorcade involve as many as 25 vehicles, depending on the destination. The official presidential cars are registered and bear the licence plate number "1", with the National Flag mounted on the right front fender and the Presidential Standard mounted on the left front fender. Occasionally, the president boards a Toyota Coaster, Mitsubishi Rosa or Nissan Civilian during provincial trips. Presently, the presidential convoy would consist of the presidential Car, a backup car (anyone among a second Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard, a Hyundai Equus and another Toyota Land Cruiser LC200), five to six black Nissan Patrols, two Toyota Fortuners, two to four Chevrolet Suburbans, a Ford E-150 ambulance, up to four police vehicles and about eight to a dozen police motorcycle escorts. The cars are on permanent display at the Presidential Car Museum within the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City.
Some of the official cars used by past presidents include:
- President Emilio Aguinaldo - 1924 Single Six Packard Model 226
- President Manuel L. Quezon - 1937 Cadillac Series 37-90 Transformable Town Car, 1937 Chrysler Airflow Custom Imperial CW.
- President José P. Laurel - 1941 Packard 180.
- President Sergio Osmeña - 1941 Cadillac Series 61.
- President Manuel Róxas - 1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75.
- Vice presidents Elpidio Quirino and Fernando López - 1946 Packard Clipper.
- President Elpidio Quirino - 1949 Cadillac Series 75, 1953 Chrysler Crown Imperial.
- President Ramón Magsaysay - 1955 Cadillac Series 75-23 Fleetwood.
- President Diosdado Macapagal - 1959 Cadillac de Ville.
- President Ferdinand Marcos - Mercedes-Benz 600, 1976 Cadillac Series 75, 1980 Lincoln Continental Mark VI, Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL.
- President Corazon Aquino - Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL.
- President Fidel Ramos - Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL Guard.
- President Joseph Estrada - Mercedes-Benz S600.
- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo - Mercedes-Benz S600 (LWB), Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard
- President Benigno Aquino III - Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard, Lexus LX 570
The president of Portugal is usually driven in an armoured Mercedes S600, E67 BMW 760 Li or in a Mercedes-Benz E Class 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. The license plate reads PR with the armillary sphere of Portugal between the P and the R, which stand for 'Presidency of the Republic'.
The prime minister of Portugal is driven in a Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec, in a Volkswagen Phaeton 5.0 V10 TDI or in an electric car, Nissan Leaf.
The president of Poland, prime minister of Poland and other high officials are protected by Government Protection Bureau (BOR). Both the president and prime minister are entitled to use an armored car and travel in at least a three-car motorcade (with 6 to 10 guards).
First (Republic of Poland) president Wojciech Jaruzelski used an armored Volvo 760 GLE. Lech Wałęsa used an also stretched Volvo 760 and a Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL W126 stretched limousine and an Audi A8 D2 since 1994. President Aleksander Kwaśniewski for 10 years in office used primarily a fleet of BMW 750iL S (E38). Lech Kaczyński used original and facelifted BMW 7 Series (E67). Bronisław Komorowski was the first president to use Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard (W221) and BMW 760Li High Security (F03) purchased in 2010. Ahead of Polish EU presidency in 2011 a fleet of 14 Audi A8, 9 Audi A6 and 4 Audi Q7 was purchased in late 2010 for BOR. A number of new armored Audi A8 L Security (4H) was ordered in September 2016 and delivered in December 2016 for use by President Andrzej Duda.
In 2016 and 2017, there were two serious car accidents involving Polish president and prime minister cars. It was revealed that since the past decade, the BOR had dozens of car collisions, but those cases were kept out of public. On 4 March 2016, President Andrzej Duda's BMW 760Li HS went into a ditch on A4 motorway when its rear tire blew. The car was moved to the forensic lab for investigation. The accident was blamed for series of procedure violation, while the tire (produced in 2010) was used beyond its two years service life against manufacturer's accordance. The person in charge of BOR fleet maintenance was sacked. Just four days after the incident Ministry of Interior tried to settle the tender for 20 new cars, selecting Audi A8 L Quattro, but because of two consecutive protests in June 2016 it ordered 20 BMW 750Li xDrive (G12) instead whose deliveries started the same month.
On 25 January 2017 a BMW X5 (F15) crashed into the minister of national defense's BMW 750Li xDrive (G12) (both from Military Gendarmerie) in an eight cars pileup on S8 expressway. It was later revealed that due to the upcoming 2016 Warsaw NATO Summit the Military Gendarmerie had purchased urgently 37 new BMW and Audi cars in 2016.
On 10 February 2017 an Audi A8 L Security transporting Prime Minister Beata Szydło hit a tree in Oświęcim at approx. 50 km/h. The prime minister suffered minor injuries, but spent the following week in a military hospital in Warsaw; her security guard suffered leg bone fracture, while the driver was also injured. The accident occurred when the government car moving in the three cars motorcade with piloting Audi A6 and closing Audi Q7 using red and blue beacons was overtaking a group of cars on a three-way junction. The Audi driver swerved left to avoid collision with a Fiat Seicento, but still hit the Fiat's bumper, that cut them off while turning left from the priority road, but without using indicator. The Fiat's driver assumed there was only one emergency vehicle. The prosecutor accused the Fiat driver of causing the accident. The court will decide the guilt of either the BOR or Fiat's driver. Even before the accident the Ministry of Interior and Administration announced a major reform in The Government Protection Bureau.
In 2014 a 1935 Cadillac Fleetwood 355D used by Marshal of Poland Józef Piłsudski was restored to a driving condition. The only post war communist president Bolesław Bierut had a 1939 Austin Twenty-Eight. Józef Cyrankiewicz, the longest-serving prime minister of Polish People's Republic used cars such as 1953 Buick Skylark, 1961 Jaguar E-Type and 1963 Jaguar Mark X. First Secretary of the PZPR in 1950s and 1960s Władysław Gomułka used cars such as GAZ M13 Chaika and ZIL-111D. They both used also the Mercedes-Benz 300d "Adenauer". 1970s prime minister Piotr Jaroszewicz used Mercedes W109 300 SEL. In 1978 an armored Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was purchased for First Secretary Edward Gierek. Wojciech Jaruzelski as a first secretary and chairman of the Council of State used armored Peugeot 604 Ti since 1981, Peugeot 505 in 1985 and Volvo 760 GLE since 1986. In the 80s Mercedes-Benz W123 known as "Barrel" was common among nomenklatura. In the 90s popular cars among Polish officials included Lancia Thema and Lancia Kappa. Between 1993 and 1995 Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak replaced his Volvo 760 limousine with Polish made FSO Polonez.
Since the fall of communism, Ion Iliescu, Emil Constantinescu and Traian Băsescu also used the Mercedes-Benz S-Class limousines.
The president of Russia is usually seen in an armoured Mercedes S-Class stretched limousine as his car. The first such model, a W140 variant, was purchased for Boris Yeltsin and has been superseded by a W221 model. The limousine is bulletproof, has solid rubber tires, and carries an array of communications equipment. On state visits, it is airlifted to the destination using an Il-76.
Historically, presidents Yeltsin and Medvedev were driven in Mercedes-Benz S-Class limousines stretched and armored by the Belgian Carat Duchatelet, while President Putin prefers Mercedes-Benz Guard limousines. For President Medvedev's inauguration a special Carat Duchatelet limousine with raised roof was ordered.
The presidential motorcade will usually be escorted by police motorcycle outriders and a series of support vehicles including, but not limited to, the Mercedes G-Class, Mercedes E-Class, standard S-Class models, Mercedes SLK-Class, BMW 5 Series and Volkswagen Caravelle.
Under the USSR, the general secretary of the Communist Party was always driven in a Soviet-built ZIL-41047, escorted by Chaika models. Two of the Zil limousines are still maintained in the Kremlin garage and occasionally seen in use by the military parades on the Day of Victory.
A new car, Aurus Senat limousine, developed by NAMI as a part of the so-called Unified Modular Platform program (nicknamed "Kortezh", AKA "motorcade", as the development project also includes numerous support vehicles), was rolled out in early 2018, as the new Russian-made state car.
Unlike many other nations no customized license plates are used on an official state car in Russia. Instead, common licence plates are installed, with the numbers from the pools assigned to various official state agencies. The current Aurus Senat limousine, for example, still uses the В776УС/77 plates (from the numbers pool assigned to NAMI for test vehicles) it was fitted with during the state trials in early 2018.
The president of Rwanda is driven in an Audi A8, escorted by a motorcade consisting of Rwanda National Police special vehicles. Recently President Paul Kagame has been seen in an armoured Range Rover Sentinel.
The president of Singapore usually travels in a white 2010 Mercedes Benz S350L. When travelling to official events such as the National Day Parade, the car displays the presidential crest in place of a license plate. Normally, it carries the plate SEP1.
The prime minister usually travels in a silver 2019 BMW 750Li that is accompanied by an unmarked white Volvo S80 and an unmarked white Volvo XC90. The president, prime minister and speaker of Parliament are the only political appointees to be given official cars. All other ministers of the cabinet travel in their personal cars.
The state also maintains a small number of state cars for the transport of visiting dignitaries. These cars carry number plates bearing a single S prefix, following by a single digit and no suffix. (E.g. S1, S2, S3). Some of the cars used include an armoured Audi A8 W12, as well as a Lexus LS460L.
The president of Slovakia uses various vehicles from the Office for the Protection of Constitutional Officials and Diplomatic Missions which has more than 230 cars for the president, prime minister, ministers and state visits. For state visits, the president uses an armored Mercedes Benz Pullman, for normal driving, one of the 230 cars (armored Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Volkswagen Phaeton, Range Rover, BMW X5, Škoda Superb and other vehicles.
Slovenian president Borut Pahor uses an Audi A8 and Prime Minister Miro Cerar uses a BMW 7 series while their security officers use BMWs X5 as protection vehicles. The Speaker of Parliament and ministers are mostly driven in Audis A6 or A8 and BMWs 5 series.
The president of Somalia is driven in various state-owned armored vehicles, four black identical armoured Toyota Land Cruiser 200 vehicles are always in the motorcade, for security reasons the president is expected to change vehicle's and they keep on changing position as the motorcade is driven, which is guarded by the Presidential Guard [60th Battalion Military Police]. Instead of a number plate, it features the flag of Somalia.
The same vehicles are used by the prime minister of Somalia, only by policy the motorcade is made up of white vehicles.
Seven Hyundai Nexo SUV's were purchased in 2018 to replace the three Genesis EQ900 limousines that were provided in 2017 to President Moon Jae-in. These were the first presidential vehicles manufactured in South Korea, offered bulletproofing to a B7/UL8 level, and are equipped with oxygen supply, fire suppression systems, infrared night vision, and run flat tyres. The Genesis limousines were used after the inauguration of Moon.
President Roh Moo-hyun rode in an armoured BMW E65 Security 760Li purchased in 2005 and a 2002 model Mercedes-Benz W220 S600 Guard. Roh used the W220 during peace talks with North Korea. The presidential motorcade was escorted by Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Excursion, also with several identical Mercedes-Benz W220s.
The late president Kim Dae-jung used an armored BMW E38 750iL S, offered by BMW Korea, for his state visit to Mongolia in June 1999, while presidents Rhee, Yun, Park, and Chun used successive models of Cadillac Fleetwood limousines. Roh Tae-woo switched to the FN9 Lincoln Continental while Kim Dae-jung was the first to switch to German vehicles. Park Geun-hye was the first to officially use a Korean produced vehicle.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps an armored Cadillac DTS limousine by Alpine Armoring and an armored Hyundai Equus limousine for foreign dignitaries. Each vehicle was acquired between 2010 and 2011.
As of 2019 the current presidential state car is a Hyundai Nexo SUV used by President Moon Jae-in. He chose the Nexo for its eco friendly build and to create an incentive to the Korean people to use more eco friendly vehicles in South Korea.
Spanish royal family
The Spanish royal family has access to one of the largest fleets of cars in Spain. Various armoured vehicles are used by the family, including Cadillac Broughams, Audi A6s and Mercedes-Benz S-Class models.
Three Rolls-Royce Phantom IV cars from 1952 are used for major ceremonial occasions, such as state visits. Only eighteen examples of the Phantom IV were ever built, all being reserved for royalty or heads of state. Three were ordered by the Spanish government for the use of General Franco and delivered in 1952. They belong to the Spanish Army and are available for use by members of the royal family. One is a 4-door cabriolet version, and the other two are hard-top limousines. A special order was placed for the wedding of the then-Prince of Asturias (now King Felipe VI), when the Phantom IV cabriolet was rebuilt to include armoured protection. Modifications included heavy-duty air conditioning and a special glazed armoured bubble to protect the rear passengers. The modifications cost over €360,000.
The Spanish royal family uses mainly Mercedes Benz S-Class models for its official transport, with BMW 5 Series cars as escort vehicles. The motorcade is composed of around 15 cars. The personal cars of the former king Juan Carlos I have included a specially customised Maybach 57 S and an Audi RS6.
The prime minister of Spain and deputy prime minister of Spain both use Audi vehicles. The premier's Audi A8L was purchased in March 2005, shortly after retiring the Audi A8 used by former PM José María Aznar. The vehicle, which then cost the Spanish government well over 380,000 Euros (approx. US$520,000), is said to be equipped with the latest features, runflats, level B7+ armouring, satellite communications and various special items that are kept secret by Spanish officials. The fleet has been renovated and now includes various new Audi A8L, Mercedes-Benz S600 and Audi A6 models, although former prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wanted to swap those cars for the hybrid Toyota Prius to save fuel oil.
The president of Sri Lanka is driven in an armored Black Mercedes-Benz S-Class (Guard) or armored Black BMW 7 Series escorted by a selection of marked and unmarked President's Security Division vehicles. During official travel it is the only vehicle in the country not required to use standard number plates. The official flag of the president is flown on the car in which he/she is travelling.
The president of Sudan, is driven in a Mercedes-Benz S300 W221. The presidential fleet also includes a Nissan Patrol (only when he goes to rural places) and Hyundai Sonata. Ministers usually travel in a Toyota Land Cruiser 70.
The current official car of the king of Sweden is a stretched Volvo S80, escorted by the Swedish Security Service in BMW X5, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class models. Saab 9-5 and Volvo XC90 vehicles are also used to transport members of the Swedish royal family.
For significant ceremonial events like state visits, there is a Daimler DS420 limousine. There are also a number of different cars in the Royal Stables, which are used on special occasions. The first royal motor car in Sweden was a Daimler bought in 1899 for Crown Prince Gustaf.
The prime minister of Sweden uses an armored Audi A8 L since 2014. Other cabinet ministers are chauffeured around in an armored BMW 7 Series and several BMW X5s, all escorted by the Swedish Security Service.
The Swiss federal councillors of Switzerland can buy a new car every four years. They usually have the option between Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class models. Since 2014 there is one member of the Bundesrat who drives a Tesla Model S; she previously had a Peugeot-307-Cabrio followed by a BMW 330d.
Taiwan (Republic of China)
The president of the Republic of China has historically traveled in Cadillac sedans, reflecting the ROC's close relations with the United States. Former president Chiang Kai-shek's two armored Cadillacs are on exhibition in the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in the capital city of Taipei.
Former president Chen Shui-bian discontinued the use of the Cadillac DeVille, preferring a Lincoln in his first term and a BMW 7 Series in his second term. Former president Ma Ying-jeou used four BMW F03 750Lis, usually escorted by two BMW R1200RTs police bikes, one BMW E65 750i, and two BMW F10 5 Series police cars (one at the front and one at the end).
Thai royal family
During his time as king, Bhumibol Adulyadej travelled in a Maybach 62 with special plates, with police motorcycle outriders, and an escort of Mercedes S-Class (W222) and BMW 5 Series (F10) police cars. He usually travelled in different cars. Most of them are Mercedes S-Class (W222). The other models include a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur stretch limousine, Rolls-Royce Silver Spur Park Ward, Lexus LS460L, BMW 7 Series (E38 and E67), BMW 5 Series (E60), Cadillac DTS stretch limousine, Volkswagen Caravelle T5 TDi, and Mercedes E55 AMG (W211). All of the royal cars are ivory coloured.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn usually travels by Rolls-Royce cars. These Rolls-Royces used to be the previous king's former official cars. The Rolls-Royce collection includes a Rolls-Royce Phantom V, Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, Rolls-Royce Silver Spur stretch limousine.
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn usually travels by BMW 760Li (E667), Lexus LS600hL, and Mercedes S-Class (W221 & W222). For unofficial royal journeys, she travels in a modified Mercedes Viano.
Other royal family members mostly travel by Mercedes S-Class (W221 and W222), ivory colored, for official journeys, with a motorcycle escort. A tourist during the early 1990s confirmed that a mid-1980s Chevrolet Suburban (presumably a 1985 model) is used by the security detail of the Crown Prince.
On official royal journeys, there are a group of more than 45 cars in the motorcade including: Mercedes S-Class (W220, W221, and W222), Mercedes E-class (W210 and W211), BMW 7 Series (E38), BMW 5 Series (E39 and E60), and Mercedes S-Class (W221-W222), Mercedes Vito, and BMW 5 Series used as police cars in ivory color.
For unofficial royal journeys, the cars in the motorcade are a group of about 15 cars including: BMW 7 Series (E38), BMW 5 Series (E39 and E60), Mercedes S-Class (W221 and W222), Mercedes E-class (W210 and W211) Honda Accord Toyota Camry, and Nissan Teana. These cars are all ivory coloured.
The Bureau of the Royal Household also has its own vehicles. These cars are mostly Nissan Teana, BMW 5 Series (E39 and E60), Mercedes S-Class (W220, W221, and W222) and Mercedes E-Class (W210 and W211). These cars are painted in ivory.
The royal department has several type of cars, Honda City V+, Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6G, and Toyota Camry 2.0G. They are mostly painted white, with the registration plates beginning with ดส-xxxx BKK.
Thai prime minister
In March 2016, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was the recipient of two new armoured Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard sedans, worth 19.5 million baht each. They were among four new luxury armoured cars, costing 78 million baht total, procured by the Secretariat of the Prime Minister. One was equipped with license plate 4 Kor Dor 29 (4กต 29), the other with 4 Kor Tor 29 (4กท 29). One will serve as Gen Prayut's car for daily use with the other one as a backup. Two other S600 Guard sedans are reserved for high-profile foreign visitors. Gen Prayut's position entitles him to an armored van, which he sometimes uses. He travels by a Volkswagen Caravelle on some occasions.
Trinidad and Tobago
The president and prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago each use a black, armoured, 2008 Toyota Crown. It carries the license plate with a gold coat of arms for the president and PM-1 for the prime minister. Each motorcade also includes a decoy car, two police motorcycles, two 2008 Toyota Land Cruisers as support vehicles and a leading Toyota Camry police vehicle.
Ugandan presidents have usually preferred to ride in European cars. Sir Edward Mutesa, first president of Uganda, drove in a 1960s Rolls-Royce. All succeeding ones drove in black Mercedes Benz limousines.
President Yoweri Museveni drove in a black Mercedes cross country and 600 SEL stretch Limos up to the mid-1990s. His convoy now consists of a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 presidential car. The presidency has ceremonial cars that include a stretch 600 SEL mercedes, and a white G Wagon. Escorts travel on double cabin pick up trucks and Mitsubishi Pajero models.
Bentley State Limousine
The British royal family has a long history of bespoke limousines stretching back to Daimler models owned by King Edward VII. On state occasions, Queen Elizabeth II usually travels in one of two armoured Bentley State Limousines. Delivered in 2002 to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, these custom-built vehicles are based on the Bentley Arnage floorplan, with a twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V8 engine that produces 400 horsepower (300 kW) and 616 pound-feet (835 N⋅m) of torque, giving a maximum speed of 130 miles per hour (210 km/h). The state limousine is 3 feet (0.91 m) longer than a standard Bentley Arnage, 10 inches (250 mm) taller and 6 inches (150 mm) wider. It is equipped with broad rear-hinged doors that open almost 90 degrees. The car also has opaque rear window panels that can be removed to allow increased visibility when the occupant is attending a public event or installed for increased privacy when required.
Other state cars
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace has a rare Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, which was purchased by Princess Elizabeth in 1950, and became a state car upon her accession to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. There are also two Rolls-Royce Phantom VI models, including the bespoke Silver Jubilee Car, with a raised roof for enhanced visibility, presented by the British motor industry in 1977, as well as a standard model from 1986.
The fleet is augmented by two stretched Jaguar XJ limousines, acquired in 2012; sometimes referred to as "semi-state" limousines, these carry registration plates (NGN 1 and NGN 2) and have been adapted with fittings for a bonnet mascot and roof flag. The Jaguars replaced a pair of 1992 Daimler DS420 limousines, which as of 2015 remain in use as backup to the main fleet for state occasions and foreign visits.
There is also a bespoke 2015 Range Rover for parades and other official rides; the queen and other members of the royal family can stand up in the back for good visibility. This is the fourth in a series of 'Royal Review Vehicles' built for the queen by Land Rover since 1953; it replaces a 2002 model which remains in use as the second royal review vehicle.
All these official royal cars are painted claret and black, and have a flagpole on the roof (or bonnet, in the Range Rover's case). As British law in general does not apply to the sovereign, the monarch's state vehicles do not possess registration plates (although the Jaguar and Daimler models do have them, as do the monarch's personal vehicles and those of other members of the royal family).
The state cars are sometimes used when the queen is travelling abroad, and they are also made available for visiting heads of state and other members of the royal family on official business. One state car (commonly the rarely used Phantom IV model) is usually on display at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace, where the state vehicles are kept and maintained.
Former state cars
From the earliest years of the 20th century Daimler were invariably chosen as the monarch's state cars until the accession of Elizabeth II in 1952. (Several of her predecessors' Daimlers are now on display at the royal motor museum, Sandringham House). As Princess Elizabeth she was already the owner of the above-mentioned 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, and this became the No.1 State Car on her accession (alongside which her father's Daimler DE 36 state limousines continued to be used through the 1950s). During the same decade, other potential state limousines were built speculatively and made available to the Royal Mews, both by Rolls-Royce (a 1954 Phantom IV landaulet) and by Daimler (a pair of DK400s). By 1959, the decision had been taken by the royal household not only to purchase the 1954 Rolls-Royce, but also to order two new (Phantom V) cars, which would continue in use through the second half of the century.
The 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV State Landaulet (retired from the working fleet in the 1980s) is now on permanent loan to the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, Paulerspury; and the pair of 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V state cars (retired from the working fleet after the Bentleys were acquired in 2002) can be seen on public display, one in the purpose-built garage aboard the former Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh (on loan from Bentley Motors Ltd), and the other at Sandringham.
A pair of 1969 Vanden Plas 4-Litre Princess Limousines served as 'semi-state' (or backup) vehicles from 1972 until the mid-1990s; one (NGN 1) is displayed at Sandringham, the other (NGN 2) is at Gaydon.
The Prince of Wales
On formal occasions, the Prince of Wales is often seen in a claret and black 1962 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Landaulet (registration plate NLT 1), which he inherited from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and later had converted with a fixed roof in place of the former open top. On the evening of 9 December 2010, the prince of Wales and the duchess of Cornwall were travelling in the Silver Jubilee Car to the Royal Variety Performance in London when it was attacked by student protesters; the couple were unhurt, but the car, which was not armoured, was spattered with paint and one of the side windows was smashed.
Personal vehicles of the royal family
For non-official journeys, the queen will usually be driven in a dark green Bentley Mulsanne or in an armoured Jaguar XJ, similar to that used by the prime minister. This is escorted by the same vehicles as a state car. She also occasionally uses a Range Rover, particularly for visits to rural areas and events such as county shows. On visits to Balmoral and Sandringham, as portrayed in the film The Queen, she has been seen at the wheel of a Land Rover Defender. She also owns a Rover P5, which is on permanent display at the British Motor Heritage Centre, Gaydon.
The duke of Edinburgh owns a Land Rover Discovery, a Land Rover Freelander and a MetroCab, the last of which he uses for trips around central London. The duke sometimes drove a Land Rover Discovery around Windsor Great Park.
Other members of the royal family are usually driven in Audi A6 or Range Rover models.
The prince of Wales uses an armoured Bentley Turbo R, a Range Rover, a Jaguar XJ or an Audi A6. He also has an Aston Martin DB6 volante, and an Aston Martin V8 converted to run on biofuel made from surplus local white wine. His Jaguars, Audi and Range Rover use biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil.
The prime minister of the United Kingdom is usually driven in one of a fleet of armoured Jaguar XJ Sentinel models, escorted by Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery and Ford Galaxy vehicles and police motorcycle outriders. David Cameron arrived at 10 Downing Street following his appointment in a silver 2010 X350 model, but took delivery of his new X351 on 13 May 2010.
Since the early-1980s, when Margaret Thatcher switched from the Rover P5 models that had been in use since the 1960s, all prime ministerial cars have been from the Jaguar XJ range of the day, or its Daimler-badged variant. For the first few months of his premiership in 2007, Gordon Brown reverted to the previous prime ministerial car, a navy blue (X308) model purchased in 2000, before starting to use the silver model.
The 2000 model replaced a British racing green X300 model, built for John Major, which gained international media attention when it bore Tony Blair to Buckingham Palace on the day after the 1997 general election. A British racing green X308 took Gordon Brown to Buckingham Palace on 6 April 2010 to request the dissolution of Parliament, but it was the 2000 model that took him on his last ride as Prime Minister.
Senior ministers and government figures with police protection as well as visiting foreign dignitaries also receive armoured cars.
All former prime ministers since 1975 have been provided with an armoured car, usually the same model as the current prime minister, along with police protection. As of 2014[update], John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were provided with cars. Blair also bought his own bespoke BMW 7 Series.
The British government maintains the Government Car Service which provides transport for senior government officials. In December 2008, the service took delivery of a fleet of armoured BMW 760Li models for use by senior dignitaries and visiting politicians. The service also uses vehicles from Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford and Vauxhall, while some ministers use Toyota Prius hybrid models.
British Virgin Islands
The current governor of the British Virgin Islands is driven in a grey Royal Service Range Rover from the United Kingdom with a license plate symbolizing the Crown. He is usually driven by a police officer from the RVIPF (Royal Virgin Islands Police Force).
The governor of the Cayman Islands is driven in a beige Cadillac DeVille sedan. Surmounted on the hood is the flag of the office, and instead of license plates the car has a crown on the front and back. It is likely that the car is armoured but this is not known for certain. Other senior officials and visiting VIPs use a fleet of armoured Ford Excursions.
United States of America
The president of the United States travels in a heavily armored, custom-built limousine, which is often referred to as Limo One, Cadillac One, or its less formal nickname of "the Beast." The vehicle is based on a GMC Topkick platform, and has the outward appearance of an enlarged Cadillac DTS limousine, with styling elements from other vehicles in the Cadillac lineup.
The vehicle features bulletproof windows, state-of-the-art communication and protection systems, a stowable desk, and a gas-proof chamber for defense against gas attacks. It was retired in 2018 for a new presidential limo, described as an "evolutionary update" of the vehicle used from 2009–17 with a current Cadillac front fascia.
On 24 May 2011, an earlier "Beast" failed to clear the driveway of the U.S. Embassy compound in Dublin, Ireland. Though President Barack Obama was the escorted official, he was in the second limo as the first noisily struck the pavement hump under the Embassy gate. The president also travel in a heavily armored 2007–2014 model Chevrolet Suburban and a spare.
Unlike most other heads of state, with the occasional exception of the British monarch and the president of Russia, the U.S. president is accompanied on all foreign and domestic trips by a full motorcade of U.S. government vehicles, including several presidential limousines, escort vehicles and a military ambulance, all of which are transported by the United States Air Force using C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. For security reasons, the president always travels in "the Beast" on trips abroad. The U.S. vehicles are typically complemented with coaches, police vehicles, ambulances and limousines provided by local authorities. The United States Secret Service also has a fleet of heavily armored buses called Ground Force One for the president and presidential nominees.
Like the president, the U.S. vice president is accompanied by a full U.S. motorcade during domestic and foreign trips.
Members of Congress have an allowance of $1,000 per month in which the government may cover the cost of a lease, not including mobile offices. The preferred car for members of Congress was the Lincoln Town Car until its discontinuation. Executive cars are the most common type of car for congressmen. The two most popular cars for congressmen are the Town Car's successors: the MKS and the MKT.
Most high ranking federal-level officials travel in SUVs usually armored Chevrolet Suburbans or Chevrolet Tahoe. State governors and large city mayors mostly travel in SUVs with their state and city police security details.
Visiting head of states and foreign dignitaries are provided armored vehicles and protection by the United States Secret Service and Diplomatic Security Service in US soil. The annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York is one such event where hundreds of motorcades are managed with the assistance of NYPD.
U.S. ambassadors travel in their United States Department of State pool of armored vehicle that can range from Cadillac DTS, Chevorlet Suburban, Toyota Land Cruiser and BMW along with host security vehicles.
Current governor Alejandro García Padilla has chosen a black Chrysler 300 from his government's pool of vehicles confiscated from criminals and sold to the governor's office for a nominal $2,000. The former governor of Puerto Rico used a Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. Ford Expeditions, Toyota Sequoias, and Nissan Armadas are available in the fleet from previous administrations. As part of the current governor's motorcade, two large black SUVs, one white Ford Crown Victorias and at least one police motorcycle are used. They carry standard Puerto Rico license plates. Former governor Luis Fortuño's specialty plate had the "LGF-051" numeration.
Governor Luis Muñoz Marín (1949–1965) used an armored Packard given to him by President Harry S Truman, which is on exhibition at the Muñoz Marín Foundation Library and Museum. Governor Rafael Hernández Colón (1973–1977, 1985–1993) ordered an armored Ford station wagon for which he was severely criticized and, thus, rarely used.
Each sitting governor has the right to change the gubernatorial fleet as he or she may see fit, for example, Pedro Rosselló used a Mercury Grand Marquis and a GMC Yukon, Sila Calderón used a Ford Expedition and sometimes, for special occasions, a Buick Park Avenue, while Aníbal Acevedo Vilá used Nissan Armadas. As a tradition full size cars were used but since the late 1990s, SUVs are being used.
Former governors are entitled to an official vehicle, which is replaced every four years throughout their life.
The presidential state car of Uruguay is an armoured 2005 Chevrolet Vectra, purchased by president Tabaré Vázquez when his term in office began on 1 March 2005. Previously, the Uruguayan head of state traveled in a Mitsubishi Galant procured from the government's fleet of diplomatic vehicles.
The state limousines of Uzbekistan are two special ordered 2010 Range Rover Supercharged with bulletproof windows. Also, the president of the Republic of Uzbekistan is transported by an armored Mercedes-Benz S-class which is escorted by other similar vehicles.
Hugo Chávez, president until his death in 2013, sometimes drove a red IKCO Samand badged Centauro, or in red or green a Tiuna truck accompanied with some ministers or governors or mayors, depending on the occasion when he travelled, usually with a high security personnel around, with a large convoy of armored SUV conformed by Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Chevrolet Express, Ford Expedition, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Sequoia, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and an ambulance in case of any emergency, plus is escorted with the Presidential Guard that uses armored Toyota Land Cruiser (80&90 Series), the transit police and the Venezuelan National Guard motorcycle officers have the duty to escort the motorcade and to clear up the traffic.
Another fleet of vehicles includes a Cadillac Fleetwood that is used for national holidays like special parades, also the president used 3 armoured black (W211), these vehicles have license plates with the national emblem, but are used for special occasions or important meetings when Hugo Chávez met with other presidents. Another vehicle is an armored silver Lincoln Town Car used to transport the president's visitors from the Simón Bolívar International Airport of Maiquetia to the Palacio de Miraflores and back.
The vice president is usually driven in an armored Nissan Patrol with a motorcade of 4 or 5 SUV’s. Ministers usually travel in armored vehicles including Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Chevrolet Tahoe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Camry, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Fusion, Ford Explorer, Ford Expedition, also escorted by Venezuelan National Guard officers.
President Nicolas Maduro is driving a black Toyota 4Runner or a Ford Explorer or a Toyota Fortuner often accompanied with the Venezuela Presidential Honor Guard motorcade with his assistants and ministers.
The president of Vietnam is driven in a Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman. Ministers usually travel in Mercedes-Benz S500, E500, and BMW 7 Series limousine and Lexus LS 600h L. The prime minister uses the new Mercedes-Benz S500 W222. All government cars have blue licence plates but some have white civil license plates with a government placard behind the windshield.
The president of Yemen is driven in various state-owned armored vehicles. Ministers usually travel in a Toyota Prado.
President Josip Broz Tito, used a custom-built Mercedes-Benz 600 limousine with a removable top for most functions. Tito also had several luxury cars in his private motor pool collection, including: numerous Mercedes Benz models, including a 770k seized from Ante Pavelić after WWII, a Rolls-Royce Phantom V, and several Cadillac and Chevrolet models.
As of July 2011, the president of Zambia was driven in an armoured Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman limousine, escorted by 30 officers of the Zambia Police Service trained in diplomatic protection on BMW motorcycles and in six BMW 3 Series E93 cars. His motorcade also included an ambulance at all times. For visits to rural areas, the president uses an armoured Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series.
The president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been seen in various armoured vehicles, including a Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. His motorcade includes Mercedes-Benz C-Class marked as police cars, as well as various other vehicles transporting his security detail.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Automobiles of heads of state.|
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