Foreign cars are cars that originate in countries other than the United States. The foreign car brands and companies are also based in countries other than the United States – most commonly from Japan and Germany. Despite being based in foreign countries, foreign cars are often manufactured locally in the United States.
Below is a list of the 18 most popular foreign cars that are sold in the United States:
- Mercedes Benz
- Alfa Romeo
- Rolls Royce
- Aston Martin
South Korean Cars
Read on to learn more about the foreign cars you see on the streets in the U.S. and why they are popular in this country.
List of Foreign Cars
What are foreign cars? Foreign cars are cars that have parts made and assembled outside of the United States. These cars have to be imported from their countries of origin to cater to Americans who want and need foreign cars. As such, nearly all of them are more expensive than cars made in the U.S.
Many imported cars have captured the hearts of Americans who love foreign things. As they were made from other countries like Germany, Britain, Japan, Italy, and South Korea, these cars carry foreign car names and carry a certain allure and exclusivity not offered by American-made cars.
Many foreign cars can be found running in the streets of the country. Some of them are also being manufactured in automobile plants in the United States. Most Japanese cars like Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Honda cars that you see in the United States are made in U.S. automobile factories.
Some foreign cars can be imported as knockdown units. That means their major parts are shipped unassembled. They will be assembled as complete vehicle units once they reach their countries of destination. The local assembly plant of the car brand will perform the assembly process.
Other cars originating from Europe are made and assembled in their countries of origin. They are imported as complete units. This arrangement makes them more expensive than the foreign cars that are assembled locally. The primary reason is they are charged with hefty importation taxes.
Let’s now look at the various foreign cars found in the U.S:
Japanese cars have a different tack to them. They are not for the super-rich but the average person. But they have now gone from being a so-so vehicle to one of the most dependable and durable vehicles in the United States and the whole world.
Admittedly the best in the Japanese car lot, Toyota is now one of the biggest car manufacturers in the United States. Originating in Japan in 1920, it has conquered markets around the world. Toyota is now making all types of vehicles, from the smallest two-seaters to the biggest trucks and busses you can find.
In the U.S., Toyota’s vehicle lineup has been voted every year in the last decade as the country’s top-selling brand. Toyota is focused on making top-quality vehicles for its customers. It has remained a single-brand name, apart from its Lexus luxury cars and Daihatsu vehicles.
Nissan has also captured the hearts of Americans because of its low-cost but still dependable vehicles. It even started earlier than Toyota in the Japanese automobile industry. Nissan was founded in 1914 originally as Kaishinasha Motor Car Works. This company is actually the first automaker in Japan.
In the United States, Nissan has successfully marketed several car and truck models. They include the Xterra, Pathfinder, Armada, Frontier, Maxima, Patrol, and Altima. Americans were attracted to Nissan cars because of their affordable prices and above-average vehicle quality and dependability.
Honda is a popular name around the world. This brand became popular in the United States because of the dependability and reliability of its cars. Honda cars have gained a good reputation in the U.S. market, which is why they are some of the best-selling cars in this country.
Some of the best-selling models of Honda cars in the U.S. are the Accord, the Acura, the Civic, and the Odyssey. Aside from automobiles, Honda is also a well-known brand of motorcycles and boat engines.
Toyota is not only catering to the average consumer. This company has also successfully penetrated the hallowed ground of luxury vehicles such as Rolls Royce, Porsche, and Lamborghini with its Lexus cars. Toyota is the parent company of Lexus.
As an expensive option, some would consider owning a Lexus as indulging in a guilty pleasure. Lexus offers different luxury cars, ranging from sports vehicles, SUVs, sedans, or hybrid. The Lexus brand is now able to compete with other luxury-type vehicles.
Infiniti is an offspring of the Nissan brand. Nissan Motors of Japan also manufacture this brand. In the U.S., it has a reputation for being one of the most coveted luxury vehicles in the country.
This is Nissan’s contribution and offering to the luxury car market. The vehicle lineup of Infiniti includes SUVs and crossovers. The Infiniti models that Americans frequently buy are the Infiniti QX80 and the Infinity Q60.
Mazda is another car made originally in Japan. This brand also became popular in the United States because of the mass appeal and low price of its car models. Mazda’s car designs are eye-catching. These cars are also very fuel-efficient.
The Mazda cars that caught the eye of the American market are the Mazda MX5, the MazdaSpeed3, and the Mazda RX. Mazda was also able to convince American car buyers to choose its Mazda Miata. This car model became the top-selling roadster in the country in the past few years.
Germans are popular as precise in whatever they put their hands to. This inherent characteristic is best exhibited in the cars they make. Many German-made cars are well-loved by American car buyers.
There’s one healthy contribution that Hitler gave to the world – the Volkswagen. He was the one who inspired the making of this people’s vehicle. If not for Hitler, Volkswagen would not have been born. This is not to patronize this dictator but to give credit to whom it is due.
The VW beetle or VW buggy, as it was fondly called during its popular days, is also a top-quality car. It first saw the light in 1937 during the days when Hitler was rebuilding Germany from the ashes of World War I. Ferdinand Porsche (is that another car brand?) designed this at the behest of Hitler.
This beetle is still hitting the roads and streets of the United States today and in other countries. They have proven their mettle, and they are here to stay.
Yes, that’s the car brand that took its name after Ferdinand Porsche, the designer of the Volkswagen Beetle. Before the Beetle, Porsche was already producing standard-sized cars. Later on, Porsche became known as a brand of luxury and sports cars.
Today, Porsche is producing a decent line of sedans and SUVs. These cars are some of the top-notch quality cars from Europe. They also come with hefty price tags. Vehicles made by this brand are mostly rear drives, unlike most modern cars, which are now mostly front drives.
Being rear-wheel drives makes them more appealing to some car buyers. The offerings of Porsche include the following:
- Carrera GT,
- the Cayenne,
- the Cayman, and
- the Boxster.
Mercedes Benz is another easily recognizable car brand. Even the most deprived and poor of the world know what a Mercedes Benz is. This is a car brand that boasts high marks in overall performance and builds quality.
These cars are superbly reliable, elegant and classy, and fitted with cutting-edge technologies. So, you can be sure that each time you drive a Mercedes, you will have a special driving experience.
Their classes differentiate Mercedes Benz cars. There is the A Class, the B Class, the C Class, and so forth. These classes refer to the type and size of the vehicles. Cars in the A Class are subcompact luxury sedans or hatchbacks. Compact coupes or convertibles belong to the C Class.
Another German offering is BMW. This is also a popular luxury car in the U.S. Currently, Rolls Royce partly owned the company. Two of its most popular models are the M3 Coupe and the Z4 Roadster. BMW is so popular that up to this day, it has a dedicated fan base. It is also one of the most reliable and durable cars in the market.
Audi is another German-made car that now belongs to the Volkswagen group. But the two brands, Audi and Volkswagen, have nothing in common except their owners.
Audi is a brand that belongs in the league of BMWs and Mercedes Benzes. This brand effectively combines elegance, sportiness, and comfort. Its most sought-after models are the Q3 35 TDI Quattro, the A6, the A3 Convertible, and the Q5.
Italy has a reputation for making cars that are not only fast and powerful but also ultra-stylish. When it comes to sports cars, nothing can beat the cars made in Italy:
If there was ever a trophy wife of luxury cars, it is the Lamborghini. This car is just not made for everybody. It is the luxury car for the wealthiest in the world. But you can see this car occasionally running in the streets of the United States. So, some Americans can afford to buy this car.
These cars may have astronomically high prices, but that is justified. Their performance and reliability test show that they are really worth the money. For a little bit of trivia: the Lamborghini brand and its vehicles were sold to Audi in 1998.
Alfa Romeo is another car brand that commands respect. This brand has a good reputation in the United States, although it is not as popular here as in Europe. Nevertheless, driving an Alfa Romeo in the streets of New York, or Washington D.C., and elsewhere in the United States will surely turn heads.
These cars are known to be very reliable and powerful. They are also very agile and are reputed to be fast speedsters. The best-selling models of Alfa Romeo are the C4 Spider and the Giulia.
Is there anyone here that does not recognize the name Ferrari? I guess there’s none because even the lowly man on the street will know what a Ferrari means. Ferraris have been portrayed in countless movies that it became one of the most popular Italian cars in the United States and worldwide.
These cars epitomize beauty and luxury. They are costly sports cars with mighty and very durable engines. Perfect performance and efficient functionality are what you can expect from a Ferrari.
Cars made in Great Britain are some of the most reliable, most aesthetic, and long-lasting cars that are ever built. These cars are also top-rated in the United States. Thanks to movies such as the James Bond series, these cars have made their way into many American hearts:
Rolls Royce is a car that symbolizes royalty, luxury, quality, elegance, and comfort. It is traditionally connected to wealth, fame, and power. These cars are exclusively for the rich and famous. They are real head turners wherever they go.
Not only are they aesthetically set apart, but their engines are also superb too. Rolls Royce first became well-known for its aircraft engines. They just channeled their expertise in making precise engines to car making. In other words, you can also bet your life with their vehicle motors.
Aston Martin first saw the light on this planet in the United Kingdom. But times have changed, and they are now just a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company, an American automaker. They are also exclusively luxury vehicles.
Known only at first in Europe, Aston Martins became the darling of American car aficionados when James Bond chased down his enemies. Not only are they luxurious, avant-garde, and expensive, they are also swift.
Some well-known models are the Vulcan, the Rapide, the One-77, the V8 Vantage, and the DB5. James Bond’s first iconic Aston Martin was the DB5. So, if you want to live like James, you might want to get hold of a DB5. Even a used one should still be a head-turner.
South Korean Cars
South Korea has also penetrated the U.S. market with its own car brands. Their cars can be lined up with the cars made in Japan in terms of quality, durability, and performance:
Hyundai is the biggest car manufacturer in South Korea. It is so big that part of Kia, another South Korean automaker, is owned by this company. Some of the Hyundai models that you will see on American streets are the Tucson, the Elantra, the Santa Fe, the Kona, and the Accent.
The second-largest carmaker in South Korea is Kia Motors. It distinguishes itself from Hyundai by producing youthful vehicle designs combined with excellent functionality.
All over the U.S., you will encounter Kia car models like Sportage and Sorento. These cars are compact but are still good to look at. Its maker claims that these models are also low maintenance.
Conclusion – Foreign Cars
As with other countries, you will see many foreign cars running in the streets of the U.S. 18 of the most common foreign cars found in the U.S. are as follows:
- Mercedes Benz
- Alfa Romeo
- Rolls Royce
- Aston Martin