Italy is a country with a rich tradition in auto manufacturing. Nowadays, major Italian car brands are associated with luxury, style, and performance. They are seen as a synonym for quality and innovation. Major popular Car companies based in Italy are Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat. Cars made by these prestigious brands are often considered some of the most beautiful on the market today.
Today we proudly present to you our list of the 16 Greatest Italian Car Manufacturing Companies that are known worldwide. We have also included many car brands based in Italy that are not present in our markets. Let’s get started!
List of Popular Italian Car Brands that are active Now:
- Alfa Romeo
- Gruppo Bertone
- Covini Engineering
- DR Motor Company
- Isotta Fraschini
- De Tomaso
Let’s explore List of Best Italian Cars Brand in more depth.
This whole list is segmented in many formats. Firstly we will talk about the car brands in Italy that are most active and famous. Then we will proceed to other car manufacturing companies in Italy and then we will look into the non-active car manufacturing companies. Without further ado let’s get started.
Active and famous Italian Car Companies:
When we are talking about Italy-based car brands, Fiat always comes on the top. Almost every one of us has heard the name Fiat somewhere. Let’s look into Fiat in a bit more detail.
Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, usually shortened to Fiat, is the name of the automobile manufacturer founded in Turin, Italy. Fiat has a storied history dating back to 1899 when Giovanni Agnelli and eight others established the company. The company’s first product was the Fiat 4 HP.
Fiat Automobiles is the most well-known automobile producer in Italy. For over 20 years, it was the largest automobile manufacturer in Europe and the third-largest in the world after General Motors and Ford, until the car market crisis of the late 1980s.
Even though it has experienced numerous challenges over the years, Fiat is known for its variety of models and for maintaining a strong brand personality. Fiat Group is part of the Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo brands, which also included American Chrysler.
The Punto, Grande Punto, Panda, Uno, or Bravo are among the most well-known Fiat models. The majority of them are small to medium automobiles that are inexpensive. Although Fiat has gained public favor in Europe, business is not as profitable in the United States. Because of the outdated designs and technological difficulties that many Fiat drivers reported, these factors combine to create a marketing deficit that has been ongoing for years.
The current version of the Fiat 500, which was launched in the US in 2012, was able to live up to the expectations of drivers. The new Fiat 500 meets both aesthetic and performance requirements, thus earning it one of the brand’s most favorably received versions.
In Brazil, Fiat has built a joint venture with Cemig and Itaipu to produce electric cars. The Palio Weekend Electric was produced in 2009 as part of the project. The electric 500e, a conformity vehicle, debuted in California in 2013. In 2014, Sergio Marchionne said that each one was sold for $14000 less than it cost to make.
Now, I hope you have got clear insights about Fiat, let’s move to the second Italian car brand: Alfa Romeo.
Alfa Romeo is an Italian manufacturer of Alfa Romeo luxury cars. Alfa Romeo is the oldest surviving automobile brand in Italy, once being at the top of the global Alfa Romeo inventory. Alfa Romeo has been owned by Fiat Group since 1986.
Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia, Count of Romeo, designed the Alfa Romeo logo. Alfa logos have undergone major changes over the last century but some elements remain true to this day – ‘Alfa’ written at a diagonal and the red cross in a white field which forms the spot in Alfa’s shield emblem.
The history of Alfa Romeo is primarily associated with automobile racing. Alfa Romeo Models’ history dates back to the 1910s with the Alfa Model 30 winning over Europe’s most prestigious racing competitions from 1911 to 1914. Alfa Romeo GTA won numerous editions of Mille Miglia and Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 won the Le Mans in 1931 and 1932.
The first automobile produced by the firm was the 1910 24 HP, which was designed by Giuseppe Merosi. Models are a combination of both luxury sports versions and Formula One cars. Alfa Romeo cars were well-known for their design and performance during this golden age of Alfa Romeo models. Alfa Romeo’s most famous models include Alfa Romeo Giulia, Alfa Romeo GTV6, and Alfa Romeo Spider as well as Alfa Romeo Alfa.
Despite its stunning appearance and the technicalities that make genuine petrolheads desire to drive it, the automobile is recognized for having several technical issues. This has resulted in a number of image challenges throughout the years, which is why only five models are currently produced by this Italian motor vehicle manufacturer. That’s all about Alfa Romeo. Now, let’s move to the next one Maserati.
How can we forget Maserati when we talk about Italian car brands. It is an Italian luxury car manufacturer with headquarters in Modena, Italy. Maserati was founded on December 1, 1914. It has been Maserati’s most successful period since the 1950s and 1960s starting with the Maserati 3500GT winning several touring car racing competitions around Europe. Maserati is most known for its high-performance grand tourers cars.
The company’s trident logo is based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore, which was designed by Mario Maserati. It was created by one family’s love for automobiles, and it is part of the world-renowned trio of strong Italian sports cars. This automobile maker celebrated its one-hundredth year in 2014 and looks to continue operating for many years to come. All versions have a unique combination of design and enormous horsepower, but the Alfieri model is intended to compete with Porsche’s last vehicle, the Porsche Cayenne.
The brand has made a commitment to provide luxury automobiles. People recognize the Quattroporte, for example, because it is part of a beautiful lifestyle.
Maserati is a distinctive voice among premium manufacturers. The brand’s success is in part due to its two-fold purchase by Fiat in 1993 and 2005. Unlike other competitors, their tale was a successful one, with the brand being able to report earnings for the first time in 17 years in 2007. The brand partners with various fashion designers and retail locations all around the world to promote the newest car models.
There are many models of Maserati to mention: Maserati A6CS Berlinetta Touring, A6GCS/53 Pininfarina Berlinetta, Maserati Ghibli Spyder, Maserati Ghibli SS, Maserati Khamsin, Maserati Kyalami and the Maserati’s GranTurismo. Maserati’s top models are Maserati Quattroporte III and Maserati Quattroporte IV. The next one in our list of famous Italian car manufacturing companies is Ferrari.
The Ferrari is widely considered to be one of the greatest sports cars in the world. It’s not surprising that Top Gear considers the brand “the most exotic, desirable, and simply amazing builder of cutting-edge supercars,” since it also tops the list of Italian automobiles.
Although it is most known for its association with luxury vehicles, it has also made history through its involvement in motor racing since its inception during the second half of the twentieth century, when it was first used by Tatra.
Since the 1980s, the company’s performance and involvement in Formula One have been substantial, having won 15 F1 Drivers’ World crowns, 16 F1 Constructors’ World crowns, 14 Sports Car Manufacturers’ World crowns, 9 Le Mans 24 Hours victories, 8 Mille Miglia wins, 7 Targa Florio victories, and 216 in F1 Grand Prix.
Recently, the carmaker has expanded its goal to include one of the world’s most anticipated hyper-hybrid vehicles, Ferrari’s “magnum opus,”. Despite its high price tag, the 499 components that went into the vehicle have already been purchased by individuals.
F8 Tributo, F8 SpiderPortofino812 Superfast, 812 GTS, 812 Competizione, 812 Competizione ASF90 Stradale, SF90 Spider, are some of the current versions among which Roma is the latest and one of the lower price tagged Ferraris ever made.
The glossy Red color which creates a separate Recognition in Ferrari also has a significant story behind it. Since the 1920s, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and later Ferrari and Abarth automobiles have been painted in “race red” (Rosso Corsa), which is a shade of pinkish crimson. This was the usual national racing color of Italy, as declared by the organizations. Ferrari is one of the famous Italian car brands, but do you know that Lamborghini also comes from Italy?
In the sixties, this more recent Italian automobile firm was founded to compete with Maserati and Ferrari in the luxury sports car market. After acquiring Chrysler out of bankruptcy in 1991, the brand moved into huge Volkswagen in 1998 and has since maintained a stellar reputation.
Lamborghini Automobili is a company located in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, that produces luxury sports vehicles and SUVs. The Volkswagen Group owns the firm through its Audi subsidiary. Ferruccio Lamborghini started Automobili Lamborghini in 1948 to compete with Ferrari in Pieve di Cento, Italy, where it is still headquartered.
One of the most famous luxury sports cars of the 21st century was introduced by this Italian manufacturer in 2001 – the Murcielago. The model’s production was then halted in an update to the Aventador and more recent Huracan.
Lamborghini vehicles include the Aventador and Huracán, both powered by a V12 and a v10 engine. The Urus SUV is equipped with a twin-turbo V8 engine. Lamborghini also makes V12 engines for offshore powerboat racing. It continues to manufacture tractors. It also has a special anniversary edition car named ‘Veneno’ which has extremely limited over 3 models having 6.5 ltr v12 engine having a top speed of 355 kmph giving a pleasant sensation of flying through the road and representation of aeronautics and art worth over 4 million dollars.
Lamborghini grants licenses to companies that make a range of Lamborghini-branded consumer products, including scale models, apparel, accessories, bags, electronics, and laptop computers. When we talk about Italy based sports cars brand Pagani surely comes into the list. Let’s read about its history and models.
Pagani is a manufacturer of high-performance sports cars based in Italy and founded by Pagani Automobili, a company owned by Horacio Pagani. He was originally a co-founder of the Argentine Formula One team Grupo color crema San Lorenzo de Almagro in 1974, along with Enzo Osella, Argentinian Jose Francisco Pastoriza and Nuccio Bertone.
The Pagani venture began in 1988 when Pagani set up Modena Design to meet the needs of people wishing to customize their automobiles.
The firm was established in 1992 and has gained a lot of fame since then, with the introduction of its Zonda, Zonda Cinques, and Tricolore series. You might want to watch the episode of “Top Gear” in which James May tested the legendary Zonda Roadster F Clubsport, which is believed to be one of the world’s fastest cars.
The first Pagani car, the Pagani Zonda C12 F, was completed in 1999. The company has created high-performance sports cars, named after their founder Horacio Pagani which are hand-built for wealthy enthusiasts who want unique cars that emphasize weight reduction and highly responsive dynamics.
Both the Zonda and the Huayra use carbon fiber composite chassis and bodywork to achieve a reduced weight and lower supercar power-to-weight ratios. All of the engines in Pagani’s current lineup are equipped with common rail direct fuel injection sourced from Bosch Motorsport division; Pagani is one of few supercar manufacturers to utilize this type of mechanical fuel injection. Pagani’s current model, Pagani Huayra, was named after the Incan god of wind, currently priced at 800000 dollars per unit.
Lancia is another famous car company based in Italy. The Lancia is one of the most famous examples of the beautiful Italian car style. and it is reminiscent of true Italian culture with an obvious flair for beauty and well-defined lines, Lancia, an Italian car manufacturer, was founded by Vincenzo Lancia in 1906.
The company is well known for its luxury, performance, and design sports cars which were manufactured from the beginning of the 20th century until the 1980s. Lancia cars had such famous models as Lancia Aurelia, Lancia Flaminia, and Lancia Stratos, etc. During later years Lancia experienced financial troubles and after Fiat bought it they stopped all production of Lancia cars in December 2000. Lancia took Lancia as its logo which can be easily recognized at present as well.
Lancia’s first car Lancia Lambda was produced in 1922 and it had a revolutionary design with a backbone tube structure and four-wheel brakes along with an engine. Lancia Beta, Lancia Gamma, and Lancia Zeta were produced between 1927 and 1933 and they all had the same standard production block system Vincenzo Lancia introduced with Lancia Lambda.
In 1934 Lancia offered two new models: Lancia Artena was an upgraded version of Delta, while Lancia Aprilia was presented as a more stylish model than Artena; both cars shared many parts such as their chassis, Lancia V4 engine, etc.
Lancia presented Lancia Flaminia in 1957 which was Lancia’s flagship car at that time and was very successful both on the domestic market and abroad; it had a 2.5-liter Lancia V6 engine. Lancia Stratos was the first mid-engined mass-production car ever built by Lancia.
Due to Lancia’s poor sales the company was shut down. Lancia is no more among us today, but we can still admire Lancia models built in past years and cherish Lancia’s traditions and legacy.
These were some of the very active and popular car companies in Italy. Apart from them, we have many other brands that are not so popular but still hold a significant share in the market. Let’s explore them.
Other Italian car manufacturing companies:
Abarth is a famous Italian brand, founded by Carlo Abarth in 1949. It’s basically an Italian sports car race-car preparation division. Based in Italy, the FCA subsidiary currently employs roughly 300 people who work to homologate production vehicles for circuit racing, as well as complete customer cars.
Abarth has been credited with numerous victories since its inception. Abt Sportsline – Stands for Abarth & Cie GmbH (formerly known as Erwin Hymer). Abt Sportsline has used its Abarth trademark since 2005.
Abarth is a subsidiary of FIAT, specializing in sports cars. Abarth 695 Biposto is the modern version of the new Abarth 595 biposto with more power and torque. Abarth 695 Biposto has a 1.4 liter 16-valve 4-cylinder turbo engine rated at 180 HP (132 kW) and 210 Nm of torque between 2,500 rpm to 4,000 rpm.
The company is known as the “Mini Cooper” of Italy and produces some of the best small race and road cars in the world. Fiat owns it, and most vehicles produced by the firm have the “Fiat” logo on them. Abarth has been AWOL for a long time now, having last produced a vehicle in 2012 with the Abarth Punto Supersport. Let’s move to the next one on the list of automotive manufacturing companies in Italy: Gruppo Bertone.
How can we forget about Gruppo Bertone? Which was a famous Italian brand founded in 1912 and became one of the most important suppliers for Alfa Romeo automobiles.
Gruppo Bertone provided many designs for Alfa Romeo such as Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS, Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint. Gruppo Bertone also provided designs to some other manufacturers such as Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale, Lancia Flaminia 3CZ Convertible and Coupe, and Lamborghini Miura SVJ Spider.
It is an independent company which has been on odd occasions owned by various companies such as Renault, Pirelli. However, on the 31st July 2013 Gruppo Bertone was purchased by Gruppo ITALAUTO, an Italian-based automotive design firm.
Gruppo ITALAUTO is a family-owned company which was founded in Bologna on the 1st January 2002 and is now involved with Gruppo Bertone as Gruppo ITALAUTO’s Specialist Division.
Mostly, it manufactures cars, styles them, and builds coaches. It is owned by Gruppo Bertone, commonly referred to as Bertone. Founded back in 1912, the company has redesigned several popular models from top automobile brands. In the history of the company, the Bertone Nuccio is among the most popular cars. That’s a small insight about “Gruppo Bertone”. You might not have heard the name “Fornasari” but it is another active automaker from Italy.
Fornasari, also referred to as Fornasari Engineering, was an Italian car tuning house and race team that specialized in producing buggies, SUVs, and sports automobiles. It was founded in 1999. Fornasari’s car tuning business was located in San Marino, but the company had its own factory for manufacturing Fornasari components near Ferrari’s hometown of Modena. They are now owned by Enrico Fornasari today, who is trying to bring the cars back into production.
Their first product was a kit that consisted of replacing the camshafts on the Alfa Romeo 76 with racing cams, increasing power from 90 hp at 6600 rpm to 130 hp at 8500 rpm. Fornasari later went on to make complete cars under their own name, Fornasari Automobili.
Fornasari Camion is powered by a 3500cc Osella-tuned engine giving it 220 hp and a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). For currently produced Fornasari Camions, they start at around $300,000.Fornasari also built a car for the Italian Superturismo Championship in 1993.
Although the manufacturer has yet to produce many vehicles, it has been successful in promoting several famous concept and prototype vehicles that may be huge hits in the future. The company’s most recent vehicle was the Fornasari RR99, a four-door SUV with 610 horsepower and a top speed of 174 miles per hour.
Enrico Fornai is now working to relaunch the Fornarina company by using a space frame chassis for their new car which will be powered by a Porsche engine.
Another well-known Italian automobile manufacturer is Covini Engineering, which specializes in the production of sports vehicles. Covini is a company of car enthusiasts and made every effort to ensure that the Covini C6W, Covini-Ebira, and Covini-BXC models meet all expectations.
Covini Engineering was established in 1978 by its present owner, engineer Ferruccio Covini. Since then, Covini has gone from strength to strength and made its name known both in Italy and elsewhere.
Covini’s first supercar – the Covini C6W – won second place at the 2007 Italian Design Award for Car Design, is an open two-seater sports car with a 24 cylinder engine and four turbochargers capable of developing more than 1000 hp of power.
Covminis Covini-Ebira model, capable of developing more than 1000 hp of power, and is Covini’s first closed 2 seater sports car. Covini-BXC is the third Covini supercar project and boasts a 16 cylinder engine with four turbochargers. Covini has already prepared two prototypes – the Covini C6W and the Covini Ebira – which are currently being tested to ensure that they meet all expectations.
Covini C6W models equipped with an engine designed by Koenigsegg are already being produced for a number of potential buyers who want one of these impressive vehicles. Covminis has also announced that it will build roadsters based on motorcycles from Aprilia and Moto Guzzi.
Covini Engineering continues to seek a major international investor interested in new technologies for building cars. The most popular vehicle from Covini is the C6W, which has two front axles and a six-speed gearbox. The firm is recognized for its production of the B24 Turbo-cooler and T40, which became quite popular in the early 1980s. That’s all we have for Covini Engineering, let’s explore the next car brand: DR Motor Company.
DR Motor Company:
DR Automobiles, previously known as DR Motor Company, is an Italian automobile company based in Macchia d’Isernia and founded in 2006 by Massimo Di Risio. The company builds automobiles that are designed to adhere to Italian design and standards using parts from foreign manufacturers such as Chery Automobile.
The concept for DR was inspired by the founder Massimo Di Risio’s prior experience as a car dealer. In 1985, he established Di Risio, which distributed and commercialized various makes of automobiles. Later on, Di Risio launched the Katay brand, which specialized in importing Chinese now-going vehicles.
The firm sells vehicles with an Italian design that uses parts and components provided by other production firms. The company’s initial vehicle dubbed the “DR5,” was a major success in 2009.
The brand’s first product is an SUV, the DR5, which was released in November 2007 with Cherry components and Bosch electronics. Two additional models were introduced at the Bologna Motor Show: The DR3, a tiny SUV, and the tiny city car known as the DR1. The Riich M1 produced by the Chery group is used to create components of the DR1.
Nowadays, the business has over 70 dealers throughout Italy and a manufacturing facility that produces 100 cars each day. Since 2010, Roberto Risi has been in charge of DR’s operations, formerly serving as Fiat Automobiles’ finance manufacturing manager.
There are many Italy based car brands that are not present in the market nowadays, but this doesn’t mean they were a failure. They actually had quite a few cars in their portfolio and some of them were even good, but just didn’t have the proper amount of success to keep them going. We will be looking closer at Italian car brands that went bankrupt and all the reasons they failed, and we’ll also check out a few examples of cars that just didn’t find enough clients to keep them off the marketplace.
Non-active Italian Car makers:
Autobianchi was made from 1955 to 1995 and it is one of the most well-known Italian car brands along with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.
Autobianchi was bought out by the famous and wealthy Agnelli family (owners of Fiat). The company marketed popular, mass-market entry-level vehicles which were substantially different from those of their parent.
Autobianchi set itself up as a quasi-luxury marque, offering models such as the A112 released in 1969, a small hatchback that incorporated many features now commonplace modern cars: front-wheel drive, a hatchback, and a saloon (sedan) body, as well as the A111, Autobianchi’s take on Fiat’s popular 500 city car.
Autobianchi became part of the Fiat Group in 1969 when Autobianchi-Astra merged with another small manufacturer Lancia to form Autobianchi-Lancia. Following this merger, Autobianchis continued to be produced but rebadged as Lancias, whilst entry-level models were marketed under the Autobianchi name. Autobianchi was eventually fully absorbed into Lancia in 1985 and production of Autobianchi branded automobiles ceased.
During its early phases, the firm was quite successful, having created a few models. However, because of a few issues, the firm was unable to keep up with production and merged with Lancia in 1995.
One of the discontinued auto manufacturers we could remember is Isotta Fraschini, one of the leading brands in Italy. Isotta Frascnhini only produces luxury cars. Isotta Fraschini was founded by Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini in 1900. Isotta’s chief competitor at the time was from Milan, the ‘Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq’ company.
In 1903, Isotta-Fraschini introduced a model with a top speed of 58 mph (93 km/hr). This model became their first showing. Isotta-Fraschini’s designed engine was a 32-liter inline-four cylinders engine.
In 1904, Isotta-Fraschini managed to race their model with 24/27 hp (18.6 kW) having an engine speed of 1300rpm which made it more than capable of reaching 58 mph (93 km/hr). The Isotta Fraschini I6 was built in 1938, each car cost more than $18000 at his time; it was one of the most expensive cars in the market during his era.
The company was known for producing the most esteemed and luxurious vehicles in its day, and it is still regarded as an incredible privilege to drive one of its automobiles. Despite the fact that the firm had previously manufactured marine engines, aircraft engines, and other goods, it was severely affected by the economic downturn after World War II.
De Tomaso Automobiles (formerly De Tomaso Modena) is a car manufacturer based in Italy. It was established by Alejandro de Tomaso, an Argentine who resided in Modena, Italy, in 1959. It originally produced prototypes and racing cars, including a Formula One vehicle for Frank Williams’s team in 1970.
The colors of the national flag of Argentina signifies blue and white stripes, are used in the background of the logo. The cattle branding symbol in the foreground that resembles the letter “T” is from the Ceballos estate where Alejandro grew up.
De Tomaso produced certain outstanding sports vehicles, including Vallelunga, Mangusta, Pantera, Guarà, and p72.
The business even owned and managed Maserati, the famed Italian automobile manufacturer, for a while. In 2004, it went bankrupt. The original factory in Modena was shut down in 2014.
Bianchi is the oldest bicycle manufacturing firm in the world, having been founded in 1857. The firm produced bicycles and motorcycles for a long time before merging with Autobianchi, which was a collaboration between Perilli and Fiat. In 1969, Fiat purchased Autobianchi and shut it down in 1995.
Now I hope with our list you got proper info about Italian car brands and their history. We have also added a little description with info about each brand. As a car enthusiast, I have tried to mention all possible brands based in Italy.
If you are passionate about cars you must have heard about many Italian car companies present in the list but I am very sure that you are not aware of all the car brands which are present in this list. We have gathered info about almost every Italian Car Brand with their history and some basic information. I hope it will be helpful for you to know about these companies. If you feel anything is missing in the list then let us know by your comments below.