Built in England, engineered by Germans, powered by a Brazilian engine (that was crafted in Detroit) and designed by an American, the MINI is a unique example of the world’s best at work. National Geographic (of all sites) takes a quick look at this extraordinary collection. Here’s an excerpt:

As BMW prepared for the 2001 launch of the new Mini-the original car bearing that name had been produced by the British Motor Corporation from 1959 until 2000-Schmid and his colleagues cast a wide net for parts makers. Today their supply chain includes companies based in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. But determining a part’s provenance is more complicated than simply identifying its country of origin.

…It’s difficult to pin down all the nations ultimately involved in the car’s long supply chain. Market prices of commodities may vary according to everything from weather to global politics; for any given Mini production run, parts made from these resources are apt to come from whatever country is producing them best and cheapest at the time.

[ A World of Parts (National Geographic) ]

Update: Here’s an illustration that went with the original printed article. (thanks RB).