Car brands can often be very divisive in the world of car enthusiasts. Looking back at the best brands in the world, their cars have often had to be near perfect in terms of performance, looks, and drivability. Indeed, it’s a very difficult thing for brands to get everything right with cars often featuring some sort of flaw.
And while no brand is flawless, some have managed to earn the favor of enthusiasts worldwide by consistently putting together great cars. Being able to continually deliver on their promises, plenty of brands built themselves a cult following of loyal enthusiasts, with some having much broader followings than others.
Likewise, some have disappointed enthusiasts far too many times or simply never quite managed to earn their trust. The brands on the opposite end of the spectrum never made a good car, their products were cheap, and they weren’t exactly reliable. There are even a few companies on this list that used to be respected but completely ruined their reputation with bad products and immoral decisions.
To showcase both types of brands, here are the five most-loved car brands in the world and the five most enthusiasts never want to deal with.
Loved – Aston Martin
Aston Martin is a luxury sports car and grand tourer brand. Founded in 1913, there is a lot of history behind the brand, and it has become nothing short of a cultural icon. Despite failing seven times, Aston Martin has been pulled out of the industry and has managed to be a success even where other brands would have probably stayed in the gutter.
When looking at the cars too, it is easy to see why it is so loved and how so many people are instantly familiar with the brand. Some of their iconic cars include the DB5 (1963), the V8 Vantage (2005), and the DB7 Vantage V12 (1999), all of which have received stellar reviews and were lauded by enthusiasts and critics alike.
Hated – Proton
Officially known as Proton Holding Berhad, most know the Malaysian brand as simply ‘Proton.’ Originally offering rebadged Mitsubishi cars throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the company made their first car in the year 2000. This made Malaysia capable of building cars from the ground up and they now sell their cars largely in Asian countries. Interestingly, Proton also owned Lotus Cars between 1996 and 2017.
Proton has been making cheap cars and, until recently, this has always been their ethos. Some of their worst cars include the Perdana (1995), the Satira Neo (2006), and the Inspira (2010). Bar the Satira GTI, many of the Proton cars are very badly made, with the Inspira being recalled multiple times. Most people stay away from buying a Proton car as many better brands make better low priced cars.
Loved – Mercedes-Benz
Most often referred to as just Mercedes, the brand was officially founded in 1926, but there were predecessors which come from Benz & Cie from 1893. The brand history is traced back to Karl Benz who made the first internal combustion engine (ICE) in a car, along with Bertha Benz who tested the Motorwagen using the ICE engine. Indeed, the history of the brand is very long but Mercedes cars have been tried and tested, with their reliability and build quality being outstanding.
When considering some of the most famous brand of cars, the 600 Pullman (1963), the 300SL (1954), and the SLS AMG Black (2014) come to mind. These cars have been renowned for their styling and quality, along with the incredibly high performance of the AMG Black Series. The AMG division is fantastic, with its performance capabilities. Other subsidiaries include the Mercedes-Maybach collection, which is incredibly luxurious but very expensive. Being so successful, the Mercedes brand is the largest seller of premium cars in the world, selling 2.31 million passenger cars.
Hated – Lada
Lada cars are manufactured by AutoVAZ, a Russian company now owned by Renault. Originally launched as a state-owned enterprise in the Soviet Union, the brand had assistance from Fiat, and Lada was known from the 1973 model year. Focused on providing affordable, good-for-money vehicles, Lada also tries to make reliable and simple functioning vehicles. However, this has not been the case with the majority of their cars and it is often considered to be one of the most hated brands by many enthusiasts.
The worst cars made by Lada include the Samara (1984) and the Riva (1979). Indeed, these cars are famed for their unreliability and poor build quality, with them breaking or completely failing on the owners. They have also historically been unsafe, which doesn’t make for good PR. Their recent launch of the Vesta hasn’t been too bad yet, with it having good sales, but time will tell.
Loved – Ferrari
Ferrari was founded in 1939 by Enzo Ferrari and the cars have become known for their speed, performance, and beautiful styling. Indeed, the elegant styling combined with the high-performance levels has made the Ferrari brand a reliable and classy option for those who can afford these exclusive vehicles.
The first Ferrari car was the 1974 125 S which came with a 1.5-liter V12 engine and the brand has come a long way since this car. When looking at the most popular cars that Ferrari has launched, these include the Daytona (1968), the F40 (1987), and the F355 (1995). Car enthusiasts love Ferrari, and so do most consumers with the cars being so well made and the brand continues to make outstanding cars. It is the go-to supercar brand for many because of this history.
Hated – Zastava Automobiles
Widely known as ‘Yugo’ in the US, Zastava Automobiles was a Serbian car manufacturer that went bankrupt in 2017. Cars by Zastava weren’t very successful and many didn’t take to them because of their poor build quality. Generally sold in Eastern European countries, Zastavas were popular during Cold War Communist times but the brand struggled to keep afloat in the post-Yugoslav era.
One of the most infamous cars produced by the brand was the Yugo. The Yugo car was offered in hatchback and convertible styles and was incredibly badly made. The Yugo was unsafe too, making it completely undesirable. Many cars suit followed and the brand was a flop. As such, Zastava was are a very unloved brand.
Loved – Lamborghini
Founded in 1963, Lamborghini is an incredibly famous car brand that has made some very luxurious cars that are also very exclusive. Sales weren’t fantastic for Lamborghini at first, especially with the oil crisis in the early ’70s. However, after bankruptcy in the late ’70s, the brand started to pick up and some iconic cars continued to be made. Nowadays, with luxury V12 cars and out-of-this-world prices, enthusiasts love the brand completely.
Cars like the Lamborghini Miura, Aventador, Huracan, and others are renowned for outrageous styling, blistering performance and are loved across the world. Also experiencing success in motorsport, Lamborghini has done it all and continues to excel.
Hated – Sterling
Sterling was a division of the Rover brand that marketed to North America. Sold between 1987 and 1991, three models were offered – the Sterling 825, the Sterling 827, and the Sterling Oxford Edition. With the Rover brand being so poor at the time and the build quality being so bad, the Sterling brand didn’t really take off.
While the sales in the US were originally good with many enjoying the British designs, after some time they dwindled as the poor quality of the cars shone through. As such, the same fate of the Rover brand hit the Sterling division. The brand is remembered as flops and failures.
Loved – Ford
Founded in 1903, Ford is one of the most famous car brands to come out of North America. Indeed, from the Ford Model T, the brand has become an icon and it holds a big place in the history of vehicles. The brand has produced sports cars along with family cars, making it a brand for everyone and it has the ability to fulfill all needs when it comes to vehicles.
When it comes to looking at cars like the Ford GT40 and the Ford Mustang GT racing models, but then looking at the Ford Fiesta ST and seeing such brilliant hot hatches on the roads, Ford is a brand that has done it all. As such, the brand is instantly recognized with there being millions of its models on the roads, and it definitely deserves a place on this list.
Hated – Geo
Geo was launched as a marque under the General Motors brand as a division of Chevrolet from 1989 to 1997. After 1997, the brand merged with Chevrolet and technically Geo lasted until 2004. The cars were quite a bit bland when looking at them and they didn ‘t really take off with consumers. Nowadays, Geo is also quite forgotten about among many simply because it was so lackluster.
Cars produced by Geo include the Metro (1989) and the Prizm (1990), both of which were boring and unstylish. Indeed, these cars were quite basic and didn’t really live up to much. As such, many who wanted a cool car would stay away from these and there were far better cars that could be bought for around the same price but also came with more excitement generally. As such, the Geo brand was very much hated and enthusiasts don’t really bother with Geo cars.
European carmakers have built so many incredible cars, but some models stand out from the pack.
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