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A Guide to the Car Manufacturers of the USA

It’s one of the iconic images of the USA: long, straight open roads with cars that are as iconic as they are big. Long, stretched out bonnets, or hoods if we’re speaking American English, are a symbol of the most powerful nation on Earth and, for whatever reason, they have remained synonymous with the USA in the way that black cabs have to London.

There are numerous iconic US cars but here we take a look at just a few of the US car manufacturing giants that have taken (and are taking) the industry by storm stateside.


Ford is arguably the most famous vehicle manufacturer ever and is one of few US car makers that has extended across the world. Many can even talk about the company’s founder, Henry, at length. Founded in the Detroit heartland of the industry, the company now also owns the Lincoln brand in the US and Troller in Brazil, with stakes in Mazda and Aston Martin. It is a true global giant and is generally regarded as having played a key role in the US’ industrial history.


Chevrolet, or Chevy to fans, is a General Motors brand that has been in existence since 1911. Some of its classic vehicles such as the Impala, the Brookwood and the Yeoman are the very definition of big, burly American cars looking, as they would, like vehicles out of the movies to us Brits. Chevrolet’s list of vehicles is extensive though and the more modern cars – as with most modern vehicles of American heritage – have given up their distinctive features of the 1960s and 1970s and replaced them with features that Europeans would class as normal. One thing that is for sure though is that, under the control of General Motors, Chevrolets will continue to be seen across the USA.


One of the traditional big three American car manufacturers, Chrysler also heralds from the heartlands of the industry in Michigan. While Chrysler as a brand has remained – until recently – a mainly US brand, the company also owns Jeep which sells plenty of cars in the UK. Traditionally, Chrysler cars have been ‘All American’ – long hooded Sedans that offer drivers and passengers space and comfort. Even the cars that have been for sale in the UK – the Ypsilon, Grand Voyager and the 300C, look typically American in their design.


As we know, the automobile industry is changing, and electric cars (and charging stations) are popping up left, right and centre. Tesla, which only manufactures electric cars, is taking the US market by storm. Founded in the early 2000s, it took until 2013 for the company to post a profit and its cars continue to grow in popularity in the US. The Tesla Model S is a full-sized sedan which has been for sale in the US since June 2012. A year later, with popularity of electric cars continuing to rise, Tesla took the Model S to Europe.

Clearly the US car market, with all its history and symbolism, is changing. But the big players, such as the first three mentioned in this piece, will surely continue to dominate so long as they adapt to the new way of thinking – and they are certainly doing so: all three of the car giants mentioned above are building electric cars. The days of the long, stretched out muscle cars are seemingly gone. 

Offbeat  30/04/2014 11:31:33

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