Top 10 European Car Brands

European car brands
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When you hear the word European, most of us think of Italy, France, and Germany – famous countries for their car brands.

While that may be true, many more European countries have been manufacturing cars since the early 20th century. 

Today, we’re going to talk about some of the top European car brands also, how they compare to others worldwide in terms of popularity and reliability.

Get ready to meet ten great European car brands you need to know about!

1. Audi

Audi AG is a German manufacturer of luxury vehicles. Its headquarters are in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, primarily owned by Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

The company name is based on the Latin translation of German Horch, an automobile brand founded by August Horch in 1899.

Since 2007, Audi’s logo has been inspired by Vorsprung Durch Technik, a phrase that means Advancement through Technology.

Quattro initially adopted it in 1985 as a slogan for their add-on performance wheels ( Quattro ). It might be tempting to jump into your local car dealership when it’s time for service or maintenance on your new ride but don’t make that mistake.

2. BMW

The next brand on our list of European car brands is BMW. BMW is a German multinational company that designs and builds automobiles.

They produce vehicles in their factories. It also makes Mini-branded models produced at plants owned by BMW subsidiaries worldwide.

 BMW owns two truck companies in addition to its core automotive business. In 2013, BMW produced 1,845,186 vehicles. This Group currently employs almost 100,000 people worldwide and had sales revenues of over €49 billion ($59 billion) in 2012.

3. Ferrari

Ferrari may not be known for making SUVs, but it does make some pretty stylish ones. The Italian automaker’s U.S. subsidiary also owns a couple of performance SUV brands–Ducati and Maserati. They are one of the great European car brands.

Recently, they entered into a partnership with Hyundai to boost sales outside of Europe and North America. Not all Ferrari SUVs are powered by V-8 engines, either. There’s a plug-in hybrid on sale now and an electric SUV slated for the 2020 release. 

4. Mercedes Benz

In 1926, Mercedes-Benz was a German manufacturer of luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Daimler AG currently owns it. It is known for its superior quality and craftsmanship.

Mercedes-Benz has produced over 19 million vehicles since it began selling cars in 1926. The most popular models include G-Class Sports Utility Vehicle and GLE SUV.

The company also operates several dedicated motorsports teams that compete with other notable manufacturers like Audi Sport and Porsche. 

After an IPO on March 24, 2015, as a part of Deutsche Bank’s restructuring efforts, Dieter Zetsche became CEO of Daimler AG. These car brands are among the popular European car brands that will surprise you.

5. Nissan

Nissan is an example of one of the European car brands, most notable and successful businesses. Engineer Kenjiro Den founded it in 1933. Nissan initially produced motorcycle engines before branching out into automobile production in 1934.

To avoid confusion with a similarly named company, they changed their name from Nippon Sangyo to Nissan in 1984.

For over 80 years now, Nissan has continued building cars in Japan and developing markets around Europe (and beyond).

Today it sells more than 4 million vehicles annually under its brand name – including models like the Leaf and X-Trail SUVs. It is also providing automobiles for other brands, such as Infiniti.

6. Porsche

First established in 1931, Porsche has become synonymous with speed and driving passion. With over 100 years of innovation under its belt, it’s no wonder that Porsche has now become one of the European car brand manufacturers. They make high-quality cars from a base in Stuttgart.

 The luxury brand is known for its handling and engine power, producing vehicles that drive, especially on country roads and motorways.

Porsche is definitely worth your attention if you’re looking for affordable luxury with a sense of fun behind the wheel. Visit a dealership today to test out an iconic model like the 911 or Panamera.

7. Renault

More than 100 years of French innovation means that Renault has had a big hand in shaping how we view and use cars. Sure, Renault’s cars aren’t quite as popular over here as across the Channel.

It is home to superminis (the latest Megane being an exception), competing with Honda for quality, reliability, and price.

And then there’s its involvement in Formula 1. There are plenty of reasons why Renaults should feature in your long-term planning if you’re serious about buying into Europe’s biggest market.

Even today, its influence is felt – through technology transfer and supply contracts – even by competitors from Nissan to Toyota. They are among the competitive European car brands.

8. Skoda

Skoda is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and is part of one of the biggest automotive European car brands. The company manufactures cars, commercial vehicles, and buses. 

Skoda has four central production plants in Moravia and two additional assembly facilities in Slovakia, Germany, China, and India. In 2015 it sold 1.04 million cars across five segments.

These include City Cars, Hatchbacks, Supermini-MPVs/Gran Turismo Models, Mid-size models (with seven or more seats), and High-Performance Sports Cars. Its most famous models include the Fabia hatchback, and Rapid supermini coupe, among others.

9. Volkswagen

Volkswagen has long been one of the leading Europan car brands, and it remains one of today’s most recognized names.

As a leader in green technology, VW was an early pioneer in hybrid cars. Its debut vehicle—the Phaeton—is a luxury sedan. 

The brand is currently working on the production of its first fully electric vehicle (EV). Volkswagen also owns Porsche AG; together, they make up Audi AG.

The latter manufactures several models, including those under its name (for example, A4) and those for other manufacturers. 

Other popular models include Golf GTI series sports vehicles, convertible Bora hatchbacks; Passat station wagons, Tiguan SUVs; Jetta compacts, and Vento sedans.

10. SEAT

SEAT, an acronym for Sociedad Espana de Automoviles de Turismo, is a Spanish automobile manufacturer headquartered in Martorell, Spain.

The company manufactures and markets cars under its brand name, as well as vehicles from other automotive manufacturers.

Volkswagen Group currently owns it and acquired it from Fiat in 1986. Seat ranks eighth among all European automakers in terms of units sold annually. It sells just over 500,000 units a year globally.


As you can see, there are many great European car brands. It is a shame that some Americans overlook them in favor of Japanese and American automobiles. It’s easy to be inspired by quality when everyone is looking for something affordable. 

Remember: Just because an automobile isn’t made in America doesn’t mean it isn’t built well. Learn more about these fantastic European car brands today!

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