Best German Car Brands
Even though China, America, and Japan have been the top 3 largest car manufacturers in the world, you cannot deny how advanced German cars are and always have been. We all know many German car brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, and more.
The history of German cars began in the late 1870s when Karl Benz and Nicolaus Otto invented 4-stroke internal combustion engines. Karl Benz set up that design in a coach in 1883. What you see in German cars today came from that design.
This brought a revolutionary change in German automobile manufacturing history, and the country produced around 900 cars by 1901. Then a century passed, and Germany became well known for producing high-quality cars with modern technology and unique designs.
Now, German car brands are famous worldwide. And even the top car manufacturing countries use this country’s cars a lot more than you can imagine.
Top 15 German Car Brands
Founder: Karl Benz
Founded In: 1926
When you hear German cars, the first brand that comes to your mind is Mercedes-Benz, especially if you are a car geek. With this brand, German cars got more worldwide recognition.
Karl Benz, one of the developers of 4-stroke internal combustion engines, founded the company in 1926. His vision was to set engines in running vehicles rather than factory-level stationeries. He founded several companies to find business partners who share similar visions.
Benz’s vision made him look for different options to develop better cars, and it changed the future of the companies he founded. Now, Mercedes-Benz is one of the highest-sold and luxurious cars in the world. It also happens to be the most expensive vehicle brand in the world.
What made it one of the top German car brands is its versatile style, outlook, and world-class quality. The company manufactures cars, buses, vans, trucks, and popular limousines. And it has sold 2.5 million vehicles globally so far.
Founder: Karl Rapp, Gustav Otto
Founded In: 1916
I believe you know of this brand already. But did you know that BMW is the acronym for Bayerische Motoren Werke?
The company was first founded by Karl Rapp in 1913 and named the Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH, an aircraft, and automobile engine producer. But he left the company four years later, and the company got its current name.
Since the company began, it has been manufacturing different types of vehicles, including sports cars and luxury cars. Sports cars are very famous as they have won numerous sports competitions.
This brand earned more fame for its incredible and robust engines. Why wouldn’t it? The engines BMW provides are some of the best and took several generations of engineers to develop them. The company manufactured around 1.5 million vehicles in 2010.
Founder: August Horch
Founded In: 1909
The Audi cars are among Germany’s most stylish and classiest looking vehicles. The vehicles are technologically advanced and highly user-friendly. But the Audi cars are pretty expensive as they are luxury cars.
The founder of the brand, August Horch, was an engineer and founded the company in 1909. Interestingly, the founder named this brand after himself, but many people do not know that as it translates to a different language. August Horch used the Latin translation of his last name Horch, which is Audi.
In the 1960s, Volkswagen purchased the company and made it a part of Auto Union, along with three other brands. The brand got its global recognition in the 1980s when it released the Audi Quattro.
Audi is the first company to introduce LED Daytime Running Light. And while other car manufacturers were making cars with the traditional six-cylinder engines, Audi developed cars with inline-five cylinder engines.
Founder: Ferdinand Porsche, Government of Germany
Founded In: 1937
Before this brand started making cars, Germany made expensive and luxury cars. But only a handful of people could afford those. So Adolf Hitler demanded to start a vehicle brand to ensure reliable and affordable cars to all people.
In 1937, Ferdinand Porsche founded this brand in Wolfsburg, Germany. Since the company was founded to ensure affordable cars for people, it was named Volkswagen, which translates to People’s Car or Car for People.
In the beginning, all the cars met the design that would allow an average driver to drive comfortably. Porsche developed the car models while Daimler-Benz handled its technical sides.
Volkswagen now manufacturers various sports cars, luxury cars, and even electric cars. And just the way it started, the brand still manufactures affordable vehicles and sells cars globally.
Founder: Ferdinand Porsche
Founded In: 1931
As you can guess, Porsche is the last name of the man who designed and founded Volkswagen. Ferdinand Porsche founded the brand in 1931 as a part of the family business. After he designed for VW, he went on starting his own separate business and released the famous Porsche brand.
The design of the Porsche 911 was based on Ferdinand’s design for the Volkswagen Beetle. That is how the brand created one of the most iconic car designs. Today, this brand is famous for its robust and high-class-looking sports cars.
If you look at its logo, you will notice a prancing horse and stag coats of arms. These are the symbols for this company’s founding city and region.
Porsche might be a division of Volkswagen, but it is still owned by the Porsche family members. Along with its famous sports car models, this German brand now manufacturers SUVs, sedans, etc.
Founder: Adam Opel
Founded In: 1862
Before Opel manufactured cars, it made sewing machines and bicycles. But it found interest in manufacturing cars and ended up becoming a successful car manufacturing and selling company in Germany.
Adam Opel, an entrepreneur, founded the company in 1862. But it did not manufacture any car until 1899. Now, it is one of the reliable brands and makes world-class vehicles, such as passenger cars or commercial vehicles.
Opel was an independent company until General Motors purchased most of its stake in 1929. Later, GM owned the entire company, and Opel is now a division of General Motors.
The brand has manufacturing facilities in 10 locations, including international locations. And it also sells car parts in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, etc. The Opel VX220 is famous for its beautiful look, and users love the Opel GT for its small and exquisite design.
Founder: Carl F. W. Borgward
Founded In: 1929
Website: Not Available
Borgward has a controversial history. But the reason I added it to this list is because it was one of the popular and reliable German car brands during its active years. And the brand has once again come to light with new hopes.
Carl F. W. Borgward founded it in 1929, but the company did not get recognition as a car manufacturer until the late 30s. The company exported more than 60% of its production by the end of the 1950s. The company gained immense popularity for offering affordable cars.
The Borgward Isabella had been the most popular model by this brand, and it was liked most by the German working-class folks. Unfortunately, the company had to shut down due to the controversial involvement of its founder in 1969. But it was revived in 2017 by Carl Bogwar’s grandson, Christian Borgward, and BAIC.
Founder: Wilhelm Maybach
Founded In: 1909
Maybach is the symbol of high class and luxury. That is because the brand produced cars for high-class people who love the experience of top-notch and luxury cars. From exterior design to the interior, the cars this brand produced had been some of the most jaw-dropping designs of that time.
The company was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son. Though they manufactured engines at the beginning, the company began making cars later.
It was an independent car manufacturing company until the 1960s. After that, Daimler-Benz bought the company, and it was no longer a standalone car brand. Over the years, Maybach ceased to exist.
The company suffered from low sales for a long time, which was why it started to shut down. Then in 2002, Mercedes-Benz bought the company, and Maybach became a division under this famous brand. Now, Mercedes-Maybach is the reputed name for luxury cars.
Founder: Roland Gumpert
Founded In: 2004
Ronald Gumpert proposed the idea of a new generation sports car to his friend and a former colleague, Roland Meyer, in 2001. Gumpert wanted a type of car that would be suitable for racing and also legal on streets. Meyer agreed to be involved in the project, but on the condition that these new cars would be a series.
The works for the company began in 2002 as the GMG Sportwagenmanufaktur Altenburg GmbH. But later, it went on by the name Apollo, after becoming a separate company from Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur.
When the company was under Gumpert’s direction, it won 25 World Rally Championship rallies and some other World Rally Championships. But under Apollo, it got third place when featured at the Hockenheimring track.
The company went through many ups and downs, including bankruptcy. In 2016, the company’s owner and founder, Roland Gumpert, announced that he would no longer be associated with this brand.
Founder: Eberhard Schulz
Founded In: 1982
There is confusion regarding when this brand was founded. Some think it was in 1969, while others will say 1982. Well, I’ll tell you why the confusion exists.
The founder of Isdera is a well-known car designer. The first car he designed made its appearance in 1969, and it was the Erator GTE. Then in 1978, the Mercedes-Benz CW311 was introduced, which Schulz engineered.
But he had not founded Isdera until 1982. It was a small car manufacturing company and made only a limited number of vehicles. By 1993, the company sold around 70 cars, and all their projects had been kept as a top-secret till then.
Isdera may not be among the most famous German car brands around the world. But it was well-known in Germany for manufacturing stylish racing cars. And a fun fact: one of the Isdera cars appeared in the 1997 Need for Speed II video game.
Founder: Klaus Dieter Frers
Founded In: 2006
The Artega is the short-living German car brand that has existed. Klaus Dieter Frers founded the company in 2006. Frers was a mechanical engineer in AEG-Telefunken but then moved to other companies. He also had a part in companies that dealt with car collecting.
The name Artega was suggested by a German brand-development expert, Manfred Gotta. The company debuted its first sports car, the Artega GT, in 2007.
It was an engineless prototype car. Then the following year, the company introduced its second car, Intro 2008.
In 2011, the electric version of the Artega GT was launched, and it was named the Artega SE or sports electric. Unfortunately, it was the same year the brand faced bankruptcy and had to leave. But it left behind some technologically advanced ideas that Volkswagen now uses for their cars.
Founder: Burkard Bovensiepen
Founded In: 1965
Before we begin, you should know that the Automobiles Alpine and this brand are not the same. Alpine is a French racing and sports car manufacturer, while Alpina is a German car brand.
The initial plan of the company’s founder, Burkard Bovensiepen, was to produce typewriters. And it did so until the end of the 1960s and moved to the textile industry. But after his success in the stock market, Bovensiepen started a BMW tuning business.
Alpina is not a very popular brand, and not many people have acknowledged this brand. But it has been working with BMW and has manufactured various high-quality cars. The brand is pretty popular in some parts of Germany, and one of its popular models is the Alpina B7.
Founder: Nicolas Hayek, Mercedes-Benz
Founded In: 1994
Everyone wants to manufacture big, luxury cars as though it is a competition. But one person wanted to change that, and it was Nicolas Hayek, the SMH or Swatch watch brand’s CEO. He thought of the people who would love to have small cars, and thus the idea of a new and different car came.
Hayek was already involved in a company, and he thought going for another business might affect his existing business. So he started searching for a company to cooperate with him. Volkswagen turned down the idea of a two-seat and hybrid drivetrain as it believed its upcoming three-liter car would be better.
Hayek then approached other brands and was turned down by GM, BMW, Fiat, etc. Finally, it cooperated with the famous Mercedes-Benz and made cars under the brand’s name. Its SmartEQ Fortwo has been the best-selling car in the brand’s history.
Founder: Erich Bitter
Founded In: 1971
Bitter or the Erich Bitter Automobil GmbH is a German luxury sports car brand. It was founded by Erich Bitter, a former racing driver who later became an automobile tuner, importer, and designer. The company began its journey in 1971 and has been active since then.
From 1973 to 1989, this company has manufactured several car models. But after that era, Bitter car productions decreased as many of them turned out to be unsuccessful.
This brand makes luxurious sports cars, which is probably why the production has not stopped. The existing cars are pretty popular among some luxury sports car lovers. Other than that, it did not gain immense popularity like many other German sports car brands.
Even though the production was low, this brand did produce a limited number of sports cars. And their latest release was the Bitter Vero in 2007.
Founder: Kourosh Mansory
Founded In: 1989
Rather than a car manufacturing brand, let’s call Mansory a car modification brand because apparently, that’s what this company does. Founded in 1989 by Kourosh Mansory, an Iranian-British tuner. He had a workshop in Munich that only focused on modifying famous British car brands, such as the Rolls Royce or the Italian one like the Ferrari.
Soon, the company began to expand and moved to other places around Germany. And one by one, it began modifying other cars from many famous brands, including Audi, BMW, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz.
And after many years, the company now has dealerships in many countries worldwide. And I’m pretty sure you have noticed that Mansory works only with famous luxury brands.
All the German car brands have some unique styles and qualities. That is why most of these brands have been manufacturing and selling cars globally for more than a century.
While some brands are extremely famous, you cannot deny how cool and classy the comparatively less famous ones are. So if you plan to get a made-in-Germany car, you have a lot of fantastic options to choose from.