Blog / A Tribute to Car Companies With Over 100 Years of History

A Tribute to Car Companies With Over 100 Years of History

Do you ever stop and marvel at all the progress that’s been achieved since the automobile was first invented? Cars have completely transformed society and the world, and it all started with some guy named Karl Benz—or Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, depending on who you ask.

A number of car companies have contributed to this progress, of course, and several of them are now over 100 years old and counting. Let’s do a quick overview of all those that are active in Canada, leaving out brands like Peugeot, Tatra, Opel, Skoda, Renault and more).

Jaguar – 1922

Founded in Blackpool, England, by William Lyons. One of its most famous models is arguably the XJ, which many view as the ultimate Jag. The brand today is part of the Jaguar Land Rover group (or simply JLR as it should be officially called from now on) that is owned by India’s Tata Motors.

Bentley – 1919

Founded in London, England, by Walter Owen Bentley. The company became widely known for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times in the 1920s. It was later purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931. The most storied Bentley is the Continental, which was originally sold from 1952-1965 and was revived in 1984. The modern lineup also includes an SUV, the Bentayga.

Lincoln – 1917

Founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Henry Leland, who also founded Cadillac. Lincoln was purchased by Henry Ford in 1922 and has been the Blue Oval’s luxury brand ever since. In 1939, it became the official car of the White House. These days, Lincoln only sells SUVs ranging from the Corsair to the full-size Navigator.

BMW – 1916

Founded in Munich, Germany, by Gustav Otto and Karl Friedrich Rapp. BMW was also initially known as a manufacturer of aircraft engines, which explains the logo. It currently owns MINI and Rolls-Royce, and its lineup of cars and SUVs is headlined by the world-renowned 3 Series. Various EVs are available, as well, including the i4 and iX.

Dodge – 1914

Founded in Detroit, Michigan, by brothers John and Horace Dodge. The company became part of the Chrysler group in 1928 and is now one of 14 brands under the giant Stellantis umbrella. Dodge has made a name for itself with sporty cars such as the Charger and Challenger. A first electric muscle car is slated to launch in 2024.

Maserati – 1914

Founded in Modena, Italy, by the Maserati brothers, using the trident as its symbol. A maker of luxury, sport and race cars, Maserati has long been associated with Ferrari. The company is now owned by Stellantis.

Aston Martin – 1913

Founded in England by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The former raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton, and the pair decided to make their own vehicles. Canadian billionaire and investor Lawrence Stroll now serves as a majority owner and chairman. Aston Martin is competing in Formula 1 in addition to selling highly desirable sports cars like the upcoming DB12, plus the new DBX crossover.

Chevrolet – 1911

Founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Louis Chevrolet, who left just two years later. General Motors purchased the company in 1918. The bowtie is one of the most famous logos on the planet, and Chevrolet ranks among the best-selling car companies in North America. From the iconic Corvette to the hard-working Silverado, there is plenty of selection for customers.

Alfa Romeo – 1910

Founded in Milan, Italy. Alfa Romeo is currently part of the Stellantis group and is headquartered in Turin. The quadrifoglio logo (also called the ‘cloverleaf’) has been the symbol of Alfa Romeo racing cars for 100 years and has been used to designate the higher-trim models of the range since WWII.

Audi – 1909

Founded in Zwickau, Germany, by August Horch. “Horch!” in German means “Hark!” or “hear”, which is “Audi” in the singular imperative form of “audire” – “to listen” – in Latin. In 1932, Audi merged with Horch, DKW and Wanderer to form Auto Union AG, hence the four-ring logo. The modern lineup extends from the A3 sedan to the Q8 sport crossover and also includes a few EVs such as the e-tron GT.

Bugatti – 1909

Founded in Molsheim, France, by Ettore Bugatti. The cars were known for their design beauty and for their many race victories. The most famous include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, Type 41 “Royale”, Type 57 “Atlantic” and Type 55 sports car. Fast-forward to today: the brand is owned at 55 percent by Croatian hypercar maker Rimac. The successor to the Chiron will be electrified as a result.

Rolls-Royce – 1906

Founded in Goodwood, England, by Frederick Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls. The prestigious luxury brand was acquired by German automaker BMW in 1998. It is known for making the most opulent cars on the planet. An SUV, the Cullinan, is also available now. And don’t forget the upcoming Spectre EV.

Buick – 1903

Founded in Flint, Michigan, by David Dunbar Buick. It was among the first American brands of automobiles, and was the company that established General Motors in 1908. Before the establishment of GM, its founder William C. Durant had served as Buick’s general manager and major investor. Nowadays, Buick has an all-SUV portfolio including the brand new 2024 Envista.

Ford – 1903

Founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Henry Ford. The Blue Oval introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce using elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines. From the Model T to the F-Series, Ford has been an automotive leader over the past century. Let’s not forget the Mustang, now the world’s best-selling sports car.

Cadillac – 1902

Founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Henry Leland, William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen. The name of the company comes from the city’s founder. Purchased by GM in 1909, Cadillac became known as the “Standard of the World.” Now offering a mix of cars and SUVs, none bigger or more famous than the Escalade, the brand is on an electrified path with the LYRIQ.

GMC – 1901

Founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Max Grabowski as The Rapid Motor Vehicle Company specialized in commercial trucks. GMC was purchased by General Motors in 1909. It’s the second best-selling brand in the GM family, behind only Chevrolet, even though it exclusively sells SUVs and pickups. The Sierra is GMC’s star product.

Fiat – 1899

Founded in Turin, Italy, by 30 founding members including Giovanni Agnelli. Its first car was the Fiat 4 HP. In 2014, Fiat officially merged with Chrysler to become FCA, which later morphed into Stellantis in 2021. The legendary 500 will return to Canada in 2024 as a fully electric car.