11 Iconic Car Brands in The American Market: A Look Through Time

Nowadays, when you consider buying a car, you have multiple options when it comes to the brand, type, color, etc. That’s reasonable and true for most types of products on the market. But, this wasn’t always the case.

As with most technological advancements, cars needed a few years to become what they are today; the most popular transportation means.

In this article, we will have a look at some of the most historic car brands. We will start by exploring the timeline and how certain brands helped the industry become so powerful. In fact, by the end of 2022, the automotive manufacturing industry is expected to grow to around $28 trillion.

We will also explore the 11 most iconic car brands that lasted through time by the end of this read. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Table of Contents Overview

The Timeline of Car Brands

Our story begins around 160 years ago, in 1860. Back then, Thomas Rickett was the first one to create an automobile that was put into series production (the Mancelle). A few years later, families in France, like the Bollée, took the car manufacturing process a step further by creating internal-combustion engine designs.

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By the end of the 19th century, countries like the UK followed and the first true automobile was created by Carl Benz in 1885. The overhead-valve engine was invented a few years later (1903) by David Buick. Gradually, brands like Chevrolet in the US and Maxwell Motor Co. appeared.

The Timeline of Car Brands

But, Henry Ford was the man who changed everything. In 1903, after being fired by his previous company (which was later renamed Cadillac), Ford created his own brand, Ford Motor Co. He quickly understood how low-cost cars could be what was missing from the market. And it really was; in just a few years, Ford became hugely successful.

The automobile industry has been growing ever since. Of course, the technological innovations never stopped either. Today, all car brands utilize numerous marketing tactics and have top-notch advertising teams to support their productions. In fact, the internet completely changed a car brand’s approach. Everyone can now create icon online free, sparkle social media posts via templates, create personalized ads, etc.

So, from the innovations of brilliant people like Henry Ford and Carl Benz to digital marketing, the industry has been through a lot.

That said, which car brands handled all that and successfully adapted to every change on the way? Let’s have a deeper look.

The 11 Most Historic Car Brands That Are Still Successful 

1. Ford

As mentioned above, Ford has been one of the first, and most successful car brands ever created. With Henry Ford’s legendary car Model T, the brand changed the automobile industry forever. Model T was the first car that could be produced quickly, which ultimately made cars much more affordable and accessible.

Other successful models and series like the Mustang were introduced later, making Ford an all-rounder brand that covers all needs. With one of the biggest automobile museums worldwide (The Henry Ford), Ford is also one of the most successful brands when it comes to promoting its brand identity and rich history.

2. Mercedes-Benz

On the same account, Carl Benz was one of the first car producers in the world. Back in 1883, he created Benz & Cie, which was renamed Mercedes-Benz around 30 years later (1926). From the 1930s and forward, Mercedes-Benz has sold millions of cars around the world. Still, the brand has produced more than just reliable cars.

Mercedes Benz

Apart from its success in commercial and luxury vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has been leading the industry of automobile safety systems (pre-safe systems, anti-lock braking systems, etc). It becomes evident that Mercedes-Benz easily made it on this list because of the brand’s lifelong investment in technology and innovations.

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3. Dodge

Founded in 1902, Dodge quickly became popular for its vehicles. From minivans and muscle cars to top-notch SUVs and trucks, nothing is left out. The Dodge Brothers made Dodge one of the most successful brands. Especially during the 1920s, the well-known Dodge automobile was second in sales after Ford’s Model T.

Nowadays, the brand is still one of the most popular when it comes to SUVs, sports cars, and caravans. Models like the Dodge Viper, the Dodge Avenger, and the Dodge Challenger are usually some of the top-seeded picks for consumers globally.

4. BMW

Although BMW started as an airplane-related manufacturer in the 1900s, it quickly became one of the most successful automobile brands. BMW started creating cars towards the end of the 1930s and during the next decade created some of the most popular car models ever created (303, 326, etc).

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The series 3, 5, and 7 were really successful during the 1990s and BMW has always been one of the leading sports/luxury car brands. Recently, the brand introduced more car series like the series 1 and X (SUVs).

5. Chevrolet

We’ve already mentioned how Louis Chevrolet was one of the first car manufacturers. In fact, the brand was founded in 1911 and has a rich history when it comes to both car and truck production. The company’s first model was the ultimately successful Series C Classic Six.

Chevrolet

Since the 1950s, the brand has created some of the most well-known car models such as the Chevrolet Camaro and the Corvette. Nowadays, Chevrolet cars are still sold internationally and the brand has already established plants in numerous countries. The first one was in Denmark, back in 1923. 

6. Cadillac

Lemuel Bowen and William Murphy were the two men who unintentionally created history by firing Henry Ford from Cadillac in 1901. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Cadillac hasn’t been successful ever since. On the contrary, since 1909 when General Motors bought Cadillac, it was already one of the most well-known manufacturers of luxury automobiles.

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Among the most popular Cadillacs ever made are the 1959 Series 62, the 2016 ATS-V, and the 2020 CTS-V Wagon. These days, Cadillac is one of the most successful car brands, especially when it comes to car reliability but also memorable advertisements.

7. Fiat

Fiat is the only Italian car brand that made it on the list. Of course, that does not mean Italy doesn’t have other successful car manufacturers. Companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini have written history as well. Still, as a company that was founded in 1899, Fiat simply couldn’t be left out.

Fiat

The brand has won more than 10 awards as Europe’s Car of the Year. And this is reasonable if you think about the models the brand has produced over the years. The Fiat 500, Tipo, and Uno are just a few of Fiat’s bestsellers.

8. Renault

Renault was founded in 1898 by Marcel, Fernand, and Louis Renault and is now one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world. With Louis as engine designer and Marcel and Fernand as managing directors, Renault quickly became a strong manufacturer.

The company had a lot to do during World War I, as it was one of the manufacturers of aircraft engines. After the war, Renault shifted its focus to car manufacturing and to this day has won several Car of the Year awards and participated in many motorsport events with numerous winning teams.

9. Peugeot

The story of Peugeot began a little unusually for a car manufacturer. Armand Peugeot founded the company in 1810 as a coffee grinder. From there, Peugeot turned to bicycles in 1830 and shifted its focus back to coffee, pepper, and salt in 1842.

In 1882, the company began producing cars, automatically becoming the oldest automobile manufacturer in the world. Since then, Peugeot has won many awards and championships, including the World Rally Championship and the World Endurance Championship.

10. Nissan

Although Nissan was founded a little later than the other manufacturers, in 1933 to be exact, it has managed to become one of the most iconic car manufacturers in the world. With the Datsun Type 15, Nissan created the first Japanese mass-produced car in the late 1930s.

The company experienced its best period in the 1970s when the Datsun 1200 Coupe became the best-selling car of the time. Nissan was also the first company to develop a mass-produced electric car, the LEAF.

11. Jeep

We could not leave Jeep out of this list. The company was founded in 1943 and was the manufacturer of military 4×4 vehicles. After the war, Jeep focused on farming vehicles, with its biggest hit, the CJ-5, being the longest-produced model.

The company’s best series was the Jeep Cherokee, which remains a top-rated compact SUV to this day. After that, the company created the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is the big brother of the first model, with the main difference being its size. Today, Jeep continues to be a famous manufacturer with great models like the Jeep Patriot, the Liberty, and others.

Wrap Up 

Nowadays, cars are more than just a means of transportation for many people. They are a way to express your personality. Well, this was also true in earlier times. Cars were one of the most popular trends in the world.

To this day, the most iconic manufacturers continue to build their reputation and fame among car lovers. It is certain that the most historical cars will remain a marvelous thing that many people will remember.

Katherine T. Burrows

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