The Top 7 German Car Brands of This Era

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Germany is one of the largest and world’s leading automotive producers. The German car brands collectively hold a substantial share of the world automotive market. Particularly brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are well-established automotive brands internationally.

The German automotive industry is the biggest in Europe, making up about 25% of all passenger cars and almost 20% of all new registrations. Moreover, in 2020, the Volkswagen Group alone sold about 9.3 million vehicles worldwide.

There’s no doubt that German car brands played a big role in bringing innovative vehicles and the smartest automotive technology to the market. Today, the German automotive industry consists of about 5 companies and 7 makes, with over 800,000 employees. 

With such a hold around the world, it’s natural to have curiosity about the founders and general achievements of all the German car brands. This is why we are here to shed light on the top German automotive brands.

Here’s a general overview of the top 7 German car brands that we will be discussing in this post:

RankingBrand NameKey featuresPopular ModelsNotable Achievements    
1VolkswagenAdvanced technologyGolf, Passat, Tiguan2021 World Car of the Year (ID.4)
2Mercedes-BenzLuxuryC-Class, E-Class, GLAWorld Car of the Year 2015 Award
3BMWDriving performance3 Series, 5 Series, X5Numerous awards for design and innovation
4PorscheSports and performance911, Cayenne, MacanIconic sports car manufacturer
5AudiHigh-end technology and luxuryA3, A4, Q5the German Design Award and even International Engine of the Year.
6OpelEuropean DesignCorsa, Astra, InsigniaCar of the Year 2022
7AlpinaHigh-performance tuning of BMWB3, B7, XB7Design of the year 2023

1.   Volkswagen

There’s no doubt that Volkswagen is one of the leading names in the automotive industry. This German car brand was founded in May 1937 and is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. It is a key member of the Volkswagen Group that houses several renowned brands. The term Volkswagen literally means “People’s car” in German.

This car brand came with the aim to produce reliable cars that everyone could afford. To this day, they have shown a strong commitment to electric mobility with the introduction of the ID. Series, including the ID.3 and ID.4 electric vehicles.

They own 117 production plants in 20 European countries. Volkswagen shipped 9.3 million vehicles worldwide in 2020 and about 8,8 million in 2021.

In the fiscal year 2021, VW’s revenue was 287,586 million dollars, which earned it a spot among the top 100 wealthiest companies worldwide. Its market leadership is a clear testament to VW’s ability to produce a wide range of cars that cater to driver consumers’ preferences. This company remains a key player in shaping the automotive industry.

2.   Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is a name synonymous with luxury and elegance. This luxury German car brand was founded by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in 1926. It is now headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany and holds a rich heritage that spans over nine decades.

The Mercedes-Benz’s lineup includes an array of sedans, SUVs, coupes, convertibles, and high-performance AMG models. Its S-Class vehicles, including the coupes and sedans, remained among the top-sold luxury vehicles. Along with that, this brand remained on the top in introducing the best engineering, innovative technologies and features.  From advanced driver-assistance systems to electric and hybrid propulsion, the brand totally embraced the futuristic features.

They sold about 2.31 million passenger cars in 2018, while in 2022, they generated a total revenue of €150.0 billion.

Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles have always been recognized for their exceptional designs, comfort, and quality manufacturing. The brand’s commitment to safety has led to the introduction of groundbreaking features that also set benchmarks for the entire automotive industry.

3.   BMW

BMW is basically Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, which can be translated to Bavarian Motor Works in English. This car brand was founded in 1916 and headquartered in Munich, German. It’s interesting to note that BMW initially started as an aircraft engine manufacturer and later transitioned into motorcycle and automobile production.

The BMW’s vehicles are all made of high quality with subtle attention to detail. This brand has built a strong reputation over time for producing highly durable and long-lasting cars. This company also introduced electric models under its “BMW i” sub-brand. The popular models include the BMW i3 and i8.

BMW generated over 123.6 billion euros in the year 2022 and is now ranked 15 among the top most valuable automotive brands in the world.

4.   Porsche

When it comes to the most luxurious and valuable vehicle brand, we all know Porsche tops the list. It is yet another German carmaker that was founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche, and this company is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. This automotive brand has expertise in making high-performance sports cars, SUVs, and sedans. This brand is also a pioneer in introducing eco-friendliness and advanced safety features in its vehicles.

They also entered the electric vehicle market with the Porsche Taycan, an all-electric luxury sedan. This vehicle was applauded for its top-notch driving dynamics and high performance.

Porsche is valued at $36.8bn and is ranked even ahead of Louis Vuitton, which is valued at $26.3bn. Porsche has also been a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 2012. Before that, we have witnessed a long history of numerous collaborations between Porsche and Volkswagen.

5.   Audi

Audi is another German brand that produces some next-level luxury vehicles. This company was founded in June 1932 by August Horch and is now headquartered in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. This vehicle brand is a subsidiary of Volkswagen and has production facilities in nine different areas worldwide.

It produces a variety of luxury vehicles that include sedans, SUVs, coupes, convertibles, and performance-oriented models. Some of its iconic models include the A3, A4, Q5, Q7, and other high-performance models like the Audi S and RS series. This car brand has also been actively involved in the development of eco-friendly electric and hybrid vehicles. The Audi e-tron series constitutes an electric SUV lineup.

Audi Premium Group generated sales of €61.8 (55.9) billion in the fiscal year 2022. Moreover, about 39% of Audi’s revenue was generated from the largest passenger cars segment, SUVs.

6.   Opel

Founded by Adam Opel in 1862, Opel is yet another top European automaker, having its headquarters in Rüsselsheim, Germany. This brand started with sewing machine manufacturing. Later, they introduced a new product in the late 19th century that was high-wheel bicycles.

Now, they are known for producing a wide range of vehicles, including small and compact cars, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. Some of its popular models include Opel Astra and Opel Insignia. Affordability, reliability, and practicality are the top features of all Opel vehicles.

Opel was owned by General Motors (GM) for many years until it was finally sold to the  PSA Group in 2017. This company has shown keen interest in moving towards electric vehicles. They produced the Opel Corsa-e, which is an electric version of the popular Opel Corsa model.

While other German brands have widespread sales throughout the world, Opel has a strong presence only in Europe.

7.   Alpina

Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG, or simply Alpina, is known for producing high-performance versions of BMW vehicles. This brand was founded in 1965 by Burkard Bovensiepen in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, Germany. Though this company started merely as a typewriter and sewing machine manufacturer, it later shifted to automobiles, particularly BMWs.

This brand has expertise in modifying BMW vehicles that include aerodynamics enhancements, interior modifications, suspension upgrades, engine tuning, and some other upgrades. Its vehicles are known for top speeds. A good example is the Alpina B7, which is considered one of the fastest luxury sedans in the world. That said, Alpina is not an independent vehicle manufacturer.

The XD3 and XD4 are based on the BMW X3 and X4. These vehicles feature advanced suspension systems, more powerful engines, and better handling and performance.

This brand has a strong global presence, having its vehicles sold through authorized dealerships in various countries. Alpina’s worldwide revenue is expected to reach US$81m in 2023, with an annual growth rate of 6.52%.

FAQs About German Car Brands

What makes German brand cars so popular around the world?

Their commitment to quality, precise engineering, and top-notch safety is the number one reason why German cars are so popular.

What is the Autobahn in Germany?

Autobahn is basically a network of high-speed highways located in Germany. These are known for sections having no speed limits. Almost all German manufacturers test their vehicles on the Autobahn before launching.

What are some most iconic German brand models?

Some of the most iconic models include the Volkswagen Beetle and Golf, Audi A3 and A4, Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Opel Corsa, and BMW 3 Series and 7 Series.

Which is the oldest German car brand?

Mercedes-Benz is the oldest of all German auto manufacturers. This brand came into being on 1883 and is still actively producing high-quality and modern vehicles.

Written by: Motorcardata

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