American Car Brands – All American Car Companies

American Car Brands

America pioneered mass-market car production in the beginning of the 20th century and was the largest car market in the world for over a hundred years, triggering creation of hundreds of brands.

However, it is ‘The Big Three’ that united the best American car brands and survived through times. They are General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler US. Joined by several other companies, these giants form what is one of the most influential car industries in the world.

The List of Major American Car Brands


Ford logo - American car brands

Founded: 1903

Parent Company: Ford Motor Company

Of all American car brands Ford probably has the most special place in automotive history. Founded by legendary entrepreneur Henry Ford, the company pioneered mass production of cars by introducing many innovations to the industry, such as assembly lines, and made cars affordable to middle class. Today Ford is a global automotive brand selling millions of vehicles worldwide.


Chevrolet logo - American car brands

Founded: 1911

Parent Company: General Motors

Since the famous American “bowtie” brand’s foundation at the beginning of last century, Chevrolet has competed Ford in mass-market. Advertised as affordable vehicles, the company has always been GM’s leading brand. However, they also produce sports cars, including the famous Corvette, trucks and commercial transport. Chevrolet’s SUV, Suburban, built from 1933 is the longest-living nameplate in the world.


Chrysler logo - American car brands

Founded: 1925

Parent Company: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

From the start of its history, Chrysler marketed their vehicles under different brands depending on price tags and purpose, including Dodge, Plymouth and DeSoto. The American car manufacturer was on the brink of bankruptcy several times, but survived in 1970s and 2000s. Today Chrysler is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US and produces mass-market models.


Cadillac logo - American car brands

Founded: 1902

Parent Company: General Motors

Cadillac is an old American luxury car brand, formed on Henry Ford Company base and later acquired by GM. Cadillac set the American standard of V8 engines, was often used for institutional and governmental purposes and provided platforms for limousines, ambulances, funeral vehicles. The company’s golden years fell to 1960s, with de Ville and Eldorado being major hits.


Dodge logo - American car brands

Founded: 1900

Parent Company: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Established in 1900 as automobile parts’ supplier, Dodge Brothers produced the first vehicle in 1914. The company soon merged with Chrysler and was positioned as mid-range car manufacturer. The brand has been also known for producing trucks. However, after Fiat takeover, Dodge was deprived of mass-market models and trucks and focused on performance vehicles, producing modern American sports cars.


Jeep logo - American car brands

Founded: 1941

Parent Company: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The first Jeep automobiles, officially named Willys MB, were the main light 4×4 vehicles of the US army during World War II. Their off-road abilities, simple design and endurance triggered creation of a Jeep brand in 1950. Ever since Jeep has been a leader in American SUV market and has a big role in FCA group’s development program.


Ram truck logo - American car brands

Founded: 2010

Parent Company: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Dodge has been among the leaders in truck manufacturing since the start of its history. However, after Fiat takeover, the truck division was separated from Dodge and was named Ram Trucks after the most successful pickup model. Today the company produces light and mid-weight trucks mainly for North American market.


Lincoln logo - American car brands

Founded: 1917

Parent Company: Ford Motor Company

Lincoln boasts notorious history as one of the best American luxury brands, being Ford’s division for most of its time. The manufacturer supplied limousines for many US presidents, including J.F.Kennedy. In March 2015 Lincoln revealed the concept of returning flagship model Continental that should boost the company’s presence in emerging Chinese luxury market.


Buick logo - American car brands

Founded: 1899

Parent Company: General Motors

Buick is the oldest American made car brand with over a hundred-year history that stood at the origins of GM. The marque is positioned in between Chevrolet and Cadillac in the company’s hierarchy and its models are basically rebranded Opel vehicles. Buick cars are sold at the markets where the German brand is not present, namely US, Canada, Mexico and China.


GMC logo - American car brands

Founded: 1901

Parent Company: General Motors

Since the beginning of the 20th century GMC has manufactured trucks and commercial vehicles. Despite being basically identical to Chevrolet vehicles, GMC models mostly aim corporate and commercial customers, demanding better trim level. The company also produced coaches up to late 1980s. Today GMC offers a wide range of trucks, SUVs and vans in North America and Middle East.


Tesla Motors logo - American car brands

Founded: 2003

Tesla Motors is a revolutionary electric cars and electric powertrains manufacturer, founded in California in 2003. With a goal to make fully electric cars affordable and convenient, Tesla keeps introducing innovations to the market and provides automotive giants like Daimler and Toyota with their in-house electric components. The brand created its own ‘Supercharger’ station network, available to Tesla S owners. This luxury 4-door sedan has become a symbol of a modern electric car.

These brands were lucky to make it through the history of ups and downs while America has seen many great car manufacturers that were discontinued due to financial or marketing reasons. One of the oldest car manufacturers in the world, Oldsmobile, was dropped by GM in 2004. Pontiac, Saturn and brutal SUV brand Hummer fell victims to GM major restructuring in 2010. Plymouth resulted surplus to Chrysler development plans in 2001. The same applied to Ford division Mercury, in 2011.

The List of Minor American Car Manufacturers

Hundreds of entrepreneurs took their chances trying to grab a slice of a huge pie, created by automotive boom in US at the beginning of last century. However, most of them went bankrupt or merged with bigger brands. With car market being extremely intense, modern businessmen see their opportunities in creating exclusive sport cars and providing tuning services, like Hennessey Performance Engineering, Panoz or Fisker Automotive.

Another way to enter the market is creating modern electric vehicles. Tesla Motors is a good example of modern successful business in automotive industry. Detroit Electric, that manufactured vehicles at the beginning of last century, was resurrected in 2008 to work on modern electric vehicles.