Are you planning on purchasing a new car and do you want to learn what are the new foreign cars out there? This could be quite handy if you want to get something that is not a US product and own something more unique on the road. And we are going to help you out with that.
- What Are They?
- Japanese Brands
- Korean Brands
- European Brands
- Other Brands
- Forbidden Cars
Performing a good level of research before you go out there and look for a car is key to getting the best that you can for your budget. Which in this case are the foreign cars. Not everyone loves to get a US product. Some of us are looking for something more exotic that was designed and developed elsewhere around the globe.
And personally, I’m one of those people who are into German cars. I know that this is a sin, but I love to sin sometimes. German cars are my weak spot and I really enjoy them. Even though I also quite respect some American muscle cars. But when it comes to luxury and good build quality, the Germans always get the number one spot.
That’s why in this article, we are going to discuss foreign cars in detail. First, we are going to learn what are foreign cars, and then we are going to learn the brands that are available out there and can be considered as foreign cars. Then we will give our opinion of which ones you should get when it comes to luxury and reliability. So, follow along till the end.
What Are Foreign Cars?
So, what are foreign cars? Foreign cars are cars that were designed or manufactured abroad. Which means that they are not precisely US products. And at the moment, there are a ton of products that can be considered foreign cars in the US. More than any time in history before.
This is probably a consequence of the loosening of the regulations in the ’80s when it came to importing cars in the US. You know that US cars were not that Eco-friendly back in the day. So, the Japanese and Europeans saw this chance and they started to import their cars in the US market.
Most of these cars have implemented smaller displacement engines. Unlike the big V8s that are very common with the US manufacturers like Chevy and Ford. This meant lower gas emissions as well as lower fuel consumption.
Not to forget the reliability that these foreign cars have offered and have proven themselves to be some really good products. So, people started to love them and make them be on the top of their shopping list. Everybody wanted to get a Toyota or a Mitsubishi, or a Honda if they wanted to get a reliable car that doesn’t drink a lot of fuel. Or to get a Mercedes Benz, BMW if they wanted to get luxury and performance.
Foreign cars started to sell like crazy and people just loved them. But we couldn’t see all of the foreign cars here in the states. There were still some foreign cars that were not able to import for some reason. But more on them after we cover the foreign car brands and see what is available out there when it comes to getting foreign cars.
Foreign Car Brands – Which Are They?
Now let’s discuss the foreign car brands that are sold in the US. Knowing the brands will going to make your life easier when it comes to purchasing a foreign car. Or avoid one if you want to get an American product. But it is worth noting that most of these foreign cars are manufactured either in the US, Canada, or Mexico. So, they can be considered American products as well. But let’s first cover the foreign car brands.
Japanese Foreign Car Manufacturers
First, we are going to cover the Japanese car producers since these cars are the most widely imported cars into the US. And frankly, they are one of the most popular products out there as well. There is hardly some competition for them in some segments.
1. Toyota Motors – The Most Popular Foreign Cars In The US
Toyota is probably one of the biggest in the world when it comes to car making they are definitely one of the most popular foreign cars in the US.
They entered the US market in 1957 and by 1972, they started to manufacture their own models in the states. After that, they quickly have established themselves as the best foreign cars in the US. Now, the largest amount of sales in the US market in some segments is by Toyota.
Lexus is a company owned by Toyota, which means that they are Toyota’s luxury division. They sell more upscale models to customers that want some more luxury.
Lexus was formed in 1989 and has quickly evolved into something really big and they are the way to go for people who want premium cars manufactured by Toyota. They make one of the most luxurious foreign cars out there, to be honest, and they are definitely worth your attention.
Honda is the second biggest Japanese car manufacturer behind Toyota. They have immediately followed Toyota and in 1959 they opened their first dealership in the US. But it was in the ’80s when they first started to open some of their manufacturing plants.
Currently, they employ more than 30,000 people in the US, which is quite respectable and make one of the best foreign cars sold here in the US. They are definitely worth your attention when it comes to purchasing a new car.
Acura is Honda’s luxury brand. Something similar to what is Lexus for Toyota. They offer more upscale models to more upscale customers who don’t mind spending a ton of money on their new foreign cars.
They were formed in 1986 and they commenced their operations in the US and immediately outsold the German brands. Sales started to decline lately though. The US is the primary market for the Acura brand. Even though their products are also sold globally.
Nissan is probably the third company of the big three Japanese foreign cars in the US right now. They make good cars, but not good as they used to. But still, they offer some excellent products in some of the segments. The first Datsun started to be imported in 1958. While the first American-built Nissans started to roll out from the production lines in 1979.
They made some legendary products that are highly appreciated today. Like the Datsun 240z which is a true legend in the car community.
The Infiniti nameplate is owned by Nissan. Infiniti is basically Nissan’s luxury marque, similar to what is Lexus for Toyota and Acura for the Honda brand. They were formed in 1989.
They offer some well-built cars that are packed with luxury and target a wealthier audience. And they have some really good products when it comes to foreign cars.
7. Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi is another Japanese corporation that has its own headquarters in the US. They entered the market in 1981 and were one of the best manufacturers in the 80’s and 90’s. In recent years they started to fall behind the big three Japanese manufacturers that we covered above. Still, they have a good lineup when it comes to SUVs. Namely, the Outlander.
Mazda is the last Japanese car brand that we are going to cover. They as well entered the market in 1970 and they are currently employing more than 20,000 people in the US.
In the ’90s along with Mitsubishi, they were making one of the hottest 2-seaters. Namely, the RX-7, MX-5. But recently, they similarly have fallen a bit behind the competitors. Still, they have a good lineup of foreign cars. The CX series of crossover SUVs to be more precise. Overall, some of their products will be always remembered by us the car guys.
Korean Foreign Car Manufacturers
Now let’s discuss some rising stars. Mitsubishi, Mazda, and even Nissan have fallen behind when it comes to foreign cars. But some manufacturers are getting stronger and stronger every day. With more and more cars sold, they are conquering the market of cheap and affordable vehicles. Namely, the Korean duo, Hyundai, and Kia that we are going to cover next.
1. Kia Motors
Kia has entered the US market in 1992 and makes one of the hottest cars out there, like the Stinger. They are one of the brands that improved quite a lot during the last couple of years and are really biting strong in some segments of the market. But they are still the second-largest Korean car manufacturer behind the one that we are going to cover next.
Hyundai is the biggest Korean car manufacturer. In fact, they own more than 33% of Kia Motors. They have entered the US market in 1986 and are developing at a great pace, stealing sales from everyone around.
And that is for a reason. Similar to Kia, they also offer quite good and affordable vehicles. Their cars are similar to Japanese cars from the 80s and 90s. If you want to get foreign cars. Their lineup is probably the way to go.
European Foreign Car Manufacturers
Now let’s cover the European manufacturers that are importing foreign cars in the US. It is worth noting that there are more than a few Europeans that are selling cars in the US. Specifically in the luxury segment. In the following chapters, we are going to cover all of them.
Mercedes Benz cars were probably one of the oldest foreign cars that were imported into the US. More precisely since 1952. Soon in 1962, they formed the Mercedes Benz USA company and since then, they are one of the best sellers in the luxury segment in the US market.
They also sold another marque named Smart, which produces microcars. But unfortunately, they have stopped the imports of these foreign cars in 2019. Overall, Benz is the way to go for many people who want to get a luxury sedan.
BMW was introduced to the US market in 1956 and they opened their US headquarters in 1975. At this point, they are making one of the hottest luxury cars along with Benz and Audi.
They are well known in this segment and have a special offering for those people who want foreign cars but also want sportiness. Their M Division is the pinnacle of luxury and sport in one package.
Audi also has a long history in the US. In the beginning, they gathered a large crowd of following because of their incredible Quattro AWD Audi. And since 1969, they have evolved into a formidable opponent of BMW and Mercedes Benz getting a lot of their market share in the US.
They also own Porsche which is a level above the Audi brand when it comes to sportiness and luxury. And they also sell quite a lot of these vehicles as well.
Volkswagen was probably one of the first foreign cars in the US market along with Porsche and Mercedes Benz. They firstly exhibited their cars in 1949 and they managed to sell only 2 cars in the first year. But they didn’t give up and now are the biggest car manufacturer in the world.
If they just gave up, they probably would have gone bankrupt. But they kept pushing and managed to become one of the biggest in history and introduced one of the best foreign cars in the US market.
Other Foreign Cars
We have covered the most important foreign cars. These cars that we have listed sell considerably more units than the other foreign cars. But in order not to forget the other options out there, we have decided to list them in this chapter. So, what are the other foreign cars?
Let’s start with luxury cars. Namely, Porsche, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maybach, Maserati, Land Rover, and Jaguar. All these brands are focusing on the top market in other words, people that have an unlimited budget and can spend quite a lot on a new car.
Next are the sports cars or also known as exotics. These include the brands like Bugatti, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and other marques. Overall, these are the foreign cars that you need to know when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. But should you get a foreign car? That’s what we will answer next.
Should You Go For Foreign Cars?
Now let’s see whether or not you should go for foreign cars. The answer is simple, yes you should go for one. Going for a foreign car is a no-brainer these days.
The American brands are good, but the foreign ones are also quite good as well. And the most important is that the biggest number of these foreign cars are made on US soil. Or neighboring countries like Canada and Mexico.
So, you do not have to worry about parts availability or any other aspects that used to be a problem before. Now, almost everything is available and you can get a part for your foreign car at your local Autozone, or in a few days if you order the part online. It is that good that owning a foreign car nowadays is not a big issue as it used to be in the past when parts were scarce and hard to come by.
Which Foreign Cars Are Better When It Comes To Luxury?
Now let’s cover some interesting topics and see which cars are better for luxury. In the following chapter, we are going to learn which of the foreign cars are better when it comes to reliability since both of these aspects are very important they deserve a separate chapter for themselves.
So, which are the foreign cars that are better when it comes to luxury? I would say to go for a European car when it comes to this aspect. More precisely, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. I would also add Porsche into this category since they are an Audi brand and are making good luxurious vehicles that are unlike anything you will see on the road.
Europeans are the best when it comes to the luxury aspect. They are packing extra good infotainment systems as well as unmatched comfort. That’s why going for a European luxury car is a no-brainer. But are they as well that reliable after all? That’s what we are going to learn next.
Which Foreign Cars Are Better When It Comes To Reliability?
When it comes to reliability, there is a different story. Europeans maybe offer unmatched luxury and comfort. But when it comes to reliability, the Asian manufacturers are ruling the game.
More precisely, Toyota along with the Korean manufacturers Kia and Hyundai. At the moment, their products are the best when it comes to reliability. For Toyota, it always has been the case, but Kia and Hyundai greatly improved during the last couple of years and are offering some great products as well.
But not to forget Honda. Honda is also a company that offers real quality cars that are one of the best out there.
This reputation of the Japanese brands has not come since yesterday. But it was created during the long years of selling cars in the North American continent. When people see the Toyota badge they instantly connect this to quality, they just know that when they get a Toyota they are getting a really good product that will not break anytime soon.
Similar to Honda. But they have slightly fallen behind to what they were in the ’90s where their cars were highly regarded for their impeccable build quality and endurance. But don’t get me wrong. They still offer excellent products. You just need to look them up and read some reviews.
But what really strikes me is the advancement of Korean brands like Kia and Hyundai. They sold good cars since they came on US soil. But now they are ahead of the game and they offer the best cars when it comes to quality to price ratio. And it would be a pity when looking for foreign cars not to take a look at their offering.
Forbidden Foreign Cars, Which Can You Import?
They say the forbidden fruit tastes the best and that is quite true. Even though there are foreign cars in the US that were imported and are still imported. There are still some cars that are forbidden to import into the US. Why is this the case, nobody knows.
And these cars are probably the most desired products out there at the moment. Their prices really skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Mainly because of the pop culture that is giving them that godlike status and the car community is simply going crazy about these cars. Namely, people are crazy about the R34 Nissan GT-R.
What is good though, after 25 years of age, these cars can be legally imported and registered into the US. Which is quite good. This means that in 2025, you will be able to legally own an R34 and enjoy it to the fullest.
Other banned foreign cars include the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R, 1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II, BMW M5 Touring from 1992, Honda NSX Type R from 1992, Land Rover Defender from 1994, Audi RS2 Avant from 1994, and others. There are a lot of cool cars out there that can be imported into the US. It is up to you to take a look at them and learn which are these cars are and how you can get them here.
Foreign Cars: Facts You Need to Know
- Foreign cars originate from countries outside of the United States and are often manufactured locally.
- Unlike cars made in the United States, foreign cars built here are produced in plants owned by foreign-based companies.
- Volkswagen, a German-based company, has sold and produced models such as the Beetle, Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Touareg in the United States.
- Nissan, a Japanese car company, produces affordable models such as the Altima, Maxima, Armada, Pathfinder, and Xterra.
- Ferrari is an Italian-based company that specializes in expensive sports cars with low ground clearance.
- Lamborghini, also an Italian-based company, produces luxury sports cars for affluent car owners.
- Rolls Royce, originating from Great Britain, is known for producing powerful engines for both aircraft and automobiles.
- BMW, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce, is a German-based car company known for luxury cars such as the Z4 Roadster, M3 Coupe, X3, 3-Series, and MINI.
- Mercedes Benz, also a German-based company, produces luxury vehicles such as the C-Class, M-Class, and R-Class. The famous popemobile is a Mercedes Benz vehicle.
- Mazda and Honda, both Japanese car companies, produce popular models such as the RX, B-Series pickup truck, CX, Miata, Accord, Acura, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V, and Element.
Conclusion – Foreign Cars
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to foreign cars. First, we learned what are foreign cars, and then we have covered all of the foreign car brands that are in the US.
We wrote them in three different sections where we focused on Japanese brands like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and others. And then we focused on European brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and others. We also listed all the other brands that sell cars in quite smaller quantities but still are considered to be foreign cars.
Lastly, we gave out thoughts on whether you should purchase a foreign car and which of the foreign cars are better when it comes to luxury, and which foreign cars are better when it comes to reliability.