German Car Brands

German Car Brands logo

The history of German car companies began when they began to produce high-quality vehicles, and the characteristics of cars were valued more than their ap-pearance.

First of all, when producing German cars, companies focused on quality, strictly ac-cording to the principle “functionality is more important than form”. That is why Germany is considered to be the leader of the car production in Europe and is in-cluded in the list of 5 countries, which are engaged in the manufacture of high-quality cars.

Historically, the automobile industry has been one of the mainstays of the German economy. It was in Germany in 1861 that the first internal combustion engine was tested under the leadership of its inventor Nikolaus August Otto. At the same time, the engineer Karl Friedrich Michael Benz worked on the creation of the first car, which was a carriage with a small engine. Already in 1900, he managed to organize the serial production of cars. 25 years later, in collaboration with a talented engineer Gottlieb Daimler was opened a whole enterprise, which gave the world a legendary brand Mercedes Benz. We will tell you about it first of all.

Luxury Car Brands

The German automaking industry has a particularly strong segment of premium-class luxury cars, which, without exaggeration, are ahead of the whole planet. They are an example of quality and style for all other automakers and embody a lot of high-tech achievements of local specialists. The luxury segment of the German car industry is divided into the brand, producing the high-end cars, and the companies, working on special tuning.

Maybach

Maybach Logo

Founded: 1909
Founder: Wilhelm Maybach

In 1909, the company Maybach was founded, named after the famous engineer and designer Wilhelm Maybach, who had previously worked for Daimler but left after a conflict in 1907. However, the new company of Wilhelm and his son Karl from its foundation until the end of the First World War was engaged in the development of aviation power units, cooperating with Count Zeppelin and the German armed forces. Today it is one of the most luxurious car brands in the world, synonymous with chic and the highest quality.

Audi

Audi logo

Founded: 1909
Founder: Auto Union

The modern history of Audi began long before its formation as a separate manufac-turer within the Volkswagen concern. In 1934, it was part of the alliance of four well-known German brands Auto Union, where it was initially involved in the development of individual models under its brand and later as a supplier of technology for cars under the same brand name. When in 1945, all the factories of Auto Union were either destroyed in the war or dismantled and removed from the country. The company had time to change its location in 1940, settling in Bavaria. This is where the rebirth of Audi began after the end of World War II.

BMW

BMW logo

Founded: 1916
Founder: Karl Rapp, Gustav Otto

BMW is a famous German automaker, whose main specialization is the production of cars, sports cars, SUVs, and motorcycles. In 1913, two small aircraft engine companies appeared in the northern part of Munich, the founders of which were Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto, son of Nikolaus August Otto, who is credited with creating the internal combustion engine. With the outbreak of World War I the number of orders for aircraft engines increased dramatically. Rapp and Otto decided to merge their companies into one aircraft engine plant. Thus a plant of aircraft engines appeared in Munich, which in 1916 was registered under the name Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Engine Plants). This date is considered the year of the foundation of the BMW Group.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Logo

Founded: 1926
Founder: Karl Benz

The history of the famous luxury automaker began as a result of the reorganization of two German companies. Delving a little further back in history, the German inventor Karl Benz was granted permission for his brainchild, which brought world fame and revolutionized the auto industry – the first car with a gasoline-powered engine. In the same year, another project was created by another German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler, and Wilhelm Maybach, it was an engine project.

Both inventors created companies: Benz with the name Benz & Cie in 1883 in Mannheim and Daimler with the trademark Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (abbre-viation DMG) in 1890. Both developed themselves in parallel and 1901 Daimler produced cars under the created brand “Mercedes”.

Porsche

Porsche logo

Founded: 1931
Founder: Ferdinand Porsche

The history of the luxury German brand Porsche began in 1931, when Ferdinand Porsche, a famous designer of the time, who worked at Auto Union and Daimler, decided to establish his car brand. Ferdinand Porsche in 1939 presented the first car under his brand – the Porsche 64, built based on the Krafter and using about 70% of components from the first Volkswagen car.

In 2007, the Porsche family founded the company Porsche SE, which bought 100% of the shares of Volkswagen, which, in turn, gained full control of Porsche AG. This year can be considered the next stage in the start of the company’s rise.

Wiesmann

Wiesmann Logo

Founded: 1985
Founder: Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann

The German brand Wiesmann is less known on the international market, than its “colleagues”. Though it has been producing sports cars with unusual retro design and original headlights since 1985. The company produces two series of roadsters – GT (old series with several modifications) and MF – a new series of sports cars.

Owners Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann initially dealt with the construction of hard roofs for convertibles, and in 1993 their first roadster was produced.

Sports Car Brands

Now German automakers are popular and respected even as sports car manufac-turers. There are also representatives in the supercar segment, but the Italians have not yet managed to secure the status, although technically they are not inferior to them. Sportcars are also the segment that brought fame to German carmakers, so there are a lot of them in the lineup.

Melkus

Melkus Logo

Founded: 1958
Founder: Heinz Melkus

Since 1959, the first place in the German and actually European market of single-seater racing cars was firmly held by the company Melkus, founded in the same bearded year by racer Heinz Melkus in East Germany, the city of Dresden. The company existed until 1986 and was reborn in 2009 as another official BMW dealer. The contract with the automobile giant was concluded at the beginning of the nineties of the twentieth century.

Isdera

Isdera logo

Founded: 1969
Founder: Eberhard Schultz

Isdera is the name of a small car company in Germany, producing luxury cars in limited quantities. The owner of the company is the experienced designer Eberhard Schulz. In addition to producing cars of their design, the company’s specialists are involved in design developments on orders from various car companies. The history of the company began in 1982, Eberhard Schulz presented his first models Imperator 108i and Spyder 036i with Mercedes-Benz engines.

EDAG

EDAG logo

Founded: 1969
Founder: Horst Eckard

In 1969, the German company EDAG was founded. In the first years of its existence, the company specialized in creating projects for other car companies, successfully cooperating with the Opel Group. The first major work of the company was a compact Opel Caliber in 1989, the interior and exterior design of which was done by EDAG engineers. Today the company uses the latest innovations, such as 3D printing for the production of ultra-light constructions, which they use in their sport coupes.

Bitter

Bitter Logo

Founded: 1971
Founder: Erich Bitter

The history of a not very popular German sports car manufacturer, Bitter, began in 1971 when former cyclist and road racer Erich Bitter began looking for ways to build his car. Before that, the founder’s activities had ranged from racing to selling soda water. It is noteworthy that before that Erich had no education or experience to pro-duce cars.

Apollo

Apollo Logo

Founded: 2004
Founder: Roland Gumpert

Apollo Automobil is the young Herman sports car manufacturer, which was born from another brand — Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur. Today the supercar manufacturer, established in 2004, is headquartered in Denkendorf. The founder of Apollo is Roland Gumpert, formerly director of the Audi Sport motorsport division. Under his leadership, Audi won 25 races of the world rally championship and became world rally champion four times.

Artega

Artega logo

Founded: 2006
Founder: Klaus Dieter Frers

In 2006 the youngest automobile company in Germany, Artega Automobile Gmbh, was founded. The company existed for only 6 years and was closed in 2012 after bankruptcy, but many of its technologies were too advanced for modern society, due to which they were fully purchased by Volkswagen and successfully applied in the prototypes of cars planned for the 2016 model year. But the company started having difficulties and claimed bankruptcy. Today Artega is getting its second birth.

Car Tuning Brands

German tuning and restyling ateliers are definitely some of the most famous across the globe. Sport stuffing of the iconic car models, redesign of the “outfit” and addition of some details for comfort and speed — this is what they truly know how to do.

ABT

ABT logo

Founded: 1896
Founder: Johann Abt

ABT Sportsline is a German car tuning company, which was established in 1896. Today it specializes in tuning production cars VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda. The history of the company began, when Johann Abt decided to open a blacksmith shop in Kempten, Germany. At that time cars were produced for a little over 10 years, and the main mode of transportation was still horses. By 1920, when cars began gradually replacing horse-drawn transport, the blacksmith shop was reclassified as a machine shop. And Johann sent his sons Joseph and Hans to learn the science of car design, hoping that they would continue the profitable family business they had started. In 1930 an automobile store was added to the workshops, where it was possible to buy not only spare parts but also cars. Since 1996 the brand works with Audi.

RUF

RUF logo

Founded: 1939
Founder: Alois Ruf

RUF is the name of one of the small German ateliers, which was established in 1939. It all began with a tiny workshop, when a little less than a hundred years ago, the father of the family, Alois Ruf, opened a car repair shop. Ruf Sr. was constantly developing his enterprise. So, ten years later the shop had grown into a solid station where you could both fix a car and fill it up with fuel. Today the RUF reputation across the globe is just perfect.

Alpina

Alpina Logo

Founded: 1965
Founder: Burkard Bovensiepen

The history of the Alpina company dates back to 1961 when the young Burkard Bovensiepen undertook the development of a double carburetor for the BMW 1500. Already in 1964, the high quality of his work was appreciated by Paul Hahnemann, who was in charge of the sales department of BMW Corporation at that time. Burkard assembled engines by hand in his father’s factory, a skill that would come in handy many times in later practice. In 1965, Burkard Bobensiepen establishes the company ALPINA and hires its first 8 employees. In 1967 the company gets its logo.

BMW M

BMW M logo

Founded: 1972
Founder: BMW

BMW M is the name of the sun brand of the iconic German BMW Group, which was established in 1972 with the idea of production racing cars for the company’s sports program. Today the brand produces not only high-performance cars but also ac-cessories and engines for racing models.

Brabus

Brabus Logo

Founded: 1977
Founder: Bodo Buschmann, Klaus Brackmann

Brabus is the name of one of the most famous tuning ateliers in the world, which was established in Germany in 1977 by Bodo Buschmann and Klaus Brackmann. The founders named the company with the letters of their last names “Bra-Bus”.

The company “Brabus” is registered as an independent car manufacturer, but it is not, because it is not engaged in the production of cars, but in engine and body tuning – mainly Mercedes, but also Smarts and Maybachs.

Mercedes AMG

Mercedes AMG logo

Founded: 1983
Founder: Mercedes-Benz

AMG, or Mercedes-AMG, is the name of a high-performance sub-division of Mer-cedes-Benz, part of the Daimler AG Group. It manufactures more powerful and sporty production models (or modifications) of the company, produces and refines combustion engines, as well as its racing cars and represents the interests of the Mercedes-Benz brand in motorsport. The history of AMG can be traced back to the middle of the 1980s.

Audi Sport

Audi Sport logo

Founded: 1983
Founder: Audi

Audi Sport is the name of the high-performance sun-brand of the iconic German brand Audi. The Sport division was established in 1983 with the idea of the design and production of racing models for the famous brand. Today Audi Sport is known all over the world and its modifications of the cars are considered to be one of the best in the segments

TechArt

TechArt logo

Founded: 1987
Founder: Thomas Behringer

TechArt is the name of another small but reputable German tuning atelier. Since 1987, the tuning studio TechArt has been reworking one of the most exclusive and popular brands in the automotive world, the Porsche, by further emphasizing the individuality of each car that has undergone restyling. Any car that leaves the gates of the TechArt factory near the German city of Stuttgart rightfully acquires the status of a significant event in the world of tuning.

Carlsson

Carlsson logo

Founded: 1989
Founder: Rolf and Andreas Hartge

Carlsson is the name of a famous German tuning atelier, which was founded in 1989 by Rolf and Andreas Hartge. The brand is one of the German Tuning Big Four and works mainly with the cars of such iconic brands as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Carlsson Autotechnik also supplies the necessary components for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The salons of this company are located in 40 countries. All car tuning work by the company itself is divided into three categories: simple, medium, and complex.

Mansory

Mansory Logo

Founded: 1989
Founder: Kourosh Mansory

Mansory is the name of a luxury German tuning atelier founded in 1989 by Kourosh Mansory. The company offers exclusive solutions for such brands as Bentley, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Bugatti, Land Rover, BMW, Ferrari. Mansory is not just a redesign, it is a lifestyle that makes you change your attitude to the events going on around you. Luxury, available to a few, is multiplied by the reference quality, which can only be achieved by experience and relentless desire to create masterpieces.

9ff

9ff logo

Founded: 2001
Founder: Jan Fatthauer

9ff is the name of one of the world’s major tuning ateliers engaged in improving Porsche cars. The 9ff studio was founded in Germany in 2001 by Jan Fatthauer. And by today has gained a brilliant reputation all over the globe, by eating true mas-terpiece from the famous luxury cars.

Mass-Market Car Brands

German automaking industry is pretty unusual — most of the market is taken by luxury and sports car branded as well as various luxury tuning ateliers. As for the mass-market segment, it is represented by a very short list of car labels, though all of them are known for the height quality and stylish design of their models, despite the affordable pricing policy.

Opel

Opel logo

Founded: 1862
Founder: Adam Opel

The German carmaker Opel, popular all over the world today, was founded in 1862 by entrepreneur Adam Opel. The company received its founder and took a niche in the production of sewing machines. Besides, in 1870 the production of carriages and bicycles under the Opel brand was started. The first car of this nowadays famous brand was presented in 1899 after the company received an order for its creation from the major manufacturer of railroad equipment Friedrich Lutzmann.

In 1902 the first production car of the brand “Opel” was presented, equipped with a power unit with a capacity of 10 horsepower.

Daimler

Daimler Logo

Founded: 1886
Founder: Gottlieb Daimler

The history of Daimler begins in 1871, when the headquarters were founded in Stuttgart, Germany. The company was one of the main competitors of Benz at that time. Just a few months after the release of the first three-wheeler, company founder Gottlieb Daimler and chief engineer Wilhelm Maybach produced and patented the world’s first four-wheeler with its engine. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft is the second name of the brand, which is received in 1890.

Borgward

Borgward Logo

Founded: 1919
Founder: Karl Borgward

Borgward is the name of the historical German automaker, which was established in 1919 by Karl Borgward. The Borgward company was building a wide range of trucks on the main plant in Bremen, and since 1957 on the former Fahrzeugwerke Fritz Drettmann. By the end of the 1950s, more than 60% of the company’s production was exported. At the beginning of the 2000s, the company was restructured and acquired by the Chinese giant. Borgward began selling its vehicles in China and Europe after Foton, the commercial vehicle division of China’s BAIC, acquired the rights to the brand in 2014.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen Logo

Founded: 1937
Founder: German Labour Front

The name of the legendary German brand, Volkswagen, is translated as “Car for People” and was created under the initiative of the Herman Labour Front for the German people.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler instructed the famous designer Ferdinand Porsche and Jakob Werlin, one of the directors of the Daimler-Benz concern, to create a people’s car that could meet all the needs of the average buyer. Jakob Werlin put forward a proposal that it was Porsche to develop the model, and the company Daimler-Benz would be responsible for the technical side of the issue, providing as its production facilities. The basis of the people’s car was the model Porsche Typ 60. Thus, the prototype of the model saw light in 1934, and mass production of the car began four years later.

Smart

Smart logo

Founded: 1994
Founder: Mercedes-Benz AG

Smart Automobile is a division of Daimler AG, located in Böblingen, Germany. The beginning of the project idea for Smart cars was in the late 1980s and is associated with the famous company Swatch. After a long development period, the first car was shown by Daimler-Benz in 1998. In July, production begins at the new plant in Ambach, France. In October, sales of the car began in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland).

Commercial Vehicle Brands

The segment of commercial vehicles is not very large in Germany, though there are brands, producing trucks and buses, which are known all over the world, and work for export markets, being synonymous to the highest quality, safety, and reliability.

MAN

MAN logo

Founded: 1758
Founder: Rudolf Diesel

Founded in 1758, the German engineering company MAN for the first time began producing cars only in 1915, after the outbreak of World War I. The management of the brand, under pressure from the German government, urgently began producing trucks for the needs of the armed forces of the country.

Just a few years the small company from the city of Nuremberg managed to become one of the largest truck manufacturers in the territory of Germany.

Setra

 

Setra logo

Founded: 1951
Founder: Karl Kassborer

Setra is the name of a famous German bus brand, which is considered to be one of the most widespread and respected in Europe. In 1893 Karl Kassborer founded a company in Ulm for the production of horse-drawn carriages. It has to be said that his father John Jacob built excellent wooden boats, which successfully navigated the Danube. But the son decided to go, to put it in modern terms, into another transport segment.

Defunct Car Brands

The German automobile industry is one of the oldest and strongest in the world, though even in this country there were brands, which didn’t manage to survive some crisis moments. The list of the defunct German car brands is pretty short, and some of the names in it merged with bigger companies to form the labels we all know today.

Wanderer

Wanderer logo

Founded: 1896
Defunct: 1945

Wanderer is the name of the historical German car brand, which was founded in 1896 in Chemnitz. Initially, the car company was engaged exclusively in the production of bicycles and motorcycles and was called Winklhofer & Jaenicke after the names of the founders, Johann Winklhofer and Richard Jaenicke. Renaming in Wanderer was carried out in 1911, then the office and production facilities of the company were transferred to Augsburg, where the first car W-1 Puppchen was released.

Wartburg

Wartburg Logo

Founded: 1898
Defunct: 1991

The German car brand Wartburg was established by Henrich Erhard, who built his first vehicle assembly factory Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach AG already in 1896 and for a time produced cars for Decauville and BMW. Since 1898 Erhard introduced his series of Wartburg machines, designed for customers with an average budget, but at the same time powerful and nimble enough, with innovative technical solutions.

Horch

Horch Logo

Founded: 1904
Defunct: 1932

Horch is the name of another defunct German marque. The history of the Horch brand goes back to the nineteenth century, although the creation of the brand dates back to 1904. Horch brand was produced in Germany. Manufactured cars were distinguished by design innovations. The brand ended its activity in 1958.

Lloyd

Lloyd Logo

Founded: 1908
Defunct: 1963

Lloyd, or The Lloyd Motor Company, was the name of the car marque founded by the famous Lloyd shipping company in 1908. At first, it was engaged in the production of electric cars, then it switched to the production of trucks and passenger cars. However, despite their high quality and excellent reputation, sales were not enough to generate income. In 1914, Lloyd merged with Hansa, and during World War I, they produced trucks for the German army under the Hansa-Lloyd brand.

DKW

DKW Logo

Founded: 1916
Defunct: 1966

DKW is the name of the historical German brand, which was established in 1916 by the Danish engineer Jorgen Rasmussen. He started his activity by organizing a small company in Germany for the production of steam-powered cars, called DKW. After World War I the demand for steam engines was pretty low, in 1921, Rasmussen began to create a car with an internal combustion engine, buying the rights to produce and modernizing a two-stroke engine with 0.25 horsepower.

Gumpert

Gumpert Logo

Founded: 2001
Defunct: 2013

The luxury car marque Gumpert was established in 2001 by a former Audi employee, Rolland Gumpert. With the technical support of the German Volkswagen Group, the brand aimed to create a new type of sports car. The brand started its activities pretty fast and ambitious, and already in 2004, Gumpert began to work on the Apollo model.