Wheels of states

Home rides of Asean country member heads


US President Donald Trump’s “The Beast” limo pulls up for his departure after the 5th US-Asean Summit in Manila. AFP

The 2017 Asean Summit held in the Philippines will be memorable to local motorists, unfortunately for the massive disruption to the already horrendous traffic conditions in Metro Manila.

This is despite the declared holidays and the efforts of the authorities to move things more smoothly.

Let’s take a break from all these idling in standstill Edsa traffic and watching actresses going wild in the Asean lane.

Just how do the visiting leaders travel in their home countries?


Among car enthusiasts, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei is famous for his massive car collection.

Estimates for the size of his garage range from 3,000 to 6,000 cars, with very rare automobiles included.

Among them are reportedly 11 McLaren F1s (including a GTR), hundreds of Ferraris and several Bugattis.

There are also one-off vehicles like Bentley’s first SUV pre-Bentayga, and a Ferrari station wagon.

For official functions, the Sultan reportedly uses a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine, or drives his personal M-Class SUV.


Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ride is usually one of four Mercedes-Benz armored cars, or a Chevrolet Suburban.

One of the Mercedes S-Class cars has reportedly been outfitted by armoring company Carat Duchatelet.


President Joko Widodo famously prefers riding a bicycle, and has walked several kilometers to an official engagement, thanks to traffic gridlock.

He used a Toyota Camry before being elected president. He’s now been upgraded to an armored Mercedes-Benz S-Class Guard.

He has also been known to use a Volkswagen Caravelle van or a Toyota Land Cruiser for trips outside Jakarta.


Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and other government officials are usually chauffeured in Toyota Crown cars, Mercedes Vito vans, and Audi A6 sedans.


Prime Minister Najib Razak is, of course, supporting the country’s carmaker Proton by using a Proton Perdana as his official car.

The car started as one of 200 units initially assembled in Malaysia for use as official vehicles.

He has conceded, though, that the American President’s limousine, aka The Beast, is more comfortable.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong travels in a white Lexus LS460L.

He is only one of three Singapore politicians to be given official cars. All other ministers must reportedly use their personal cars.


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha uses an armored Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard sedan, with another serving as backup.

He uses a Volkswagen Caravelle for other occasions.


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc usually goes in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan, while ministers use Mercedes, BMW 7 Series, or Lexus LS sedans.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly uses a Cadillac or Chevrolet Suburban for his official duties.

He has also been spotted traveling in a Toyota Sienna minivan.

But before you think him less cool, Trudeau is known to drive a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, a car reportedly inherited from his father.

It would no doubt cause a sensation should he drive this car, say to a Jollibee drive-thru.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uses none other than his country’s premier limousine, the Toyota Century.

Although at first glance it may resemble the ubiquitous Toyota Crown taxis in Japan, the Century is fit for heads of state and royalty.

The Emperor of Japan also uses a customized Century Royal, with special features including a granite entryway.

Abe’s bumper sticker could read, “My other car is a Lexus,” as he also uses an LS 600h L hybrid sedan.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s usual ride is a reportedly a black Mercedes-Benz S-Class Pullman Guard.

The 6.5-meter-long sedan is heavily armored, including not just armored glass, but a steel bulkhead behind the rear seats.

Its twin-turbo 530 hp V12 helps to overcome its 5.6 tons of mass.

He has been reported to have switched from this to a Range Rover.

United States

President Donald Trump has had his share of interesting cars, from a Lamborghini Diablo, a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, to a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

He has the most famous of all presidential rides, the Limo One or Cadillac One, aka The Beast.

The Beast is built on a truck platform but made to look like a Cadillac Sedan. It has an entire array of defenses, from a sealed interior to grenade launchers.

The Beast travels with its own fleet of support vehicles, on a dedicated plane.

For the visiting Asean heads of state, BMW took the honor of providing transportation. The heads of state rode in BMW 7 Series Security models.

Spouses and senior ministers were chauffeured in 730Li and 5 Series sedans, and X5 SUVs.

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