15 Lesser-Known Car Brands That Deserve Attention

Have you ever had a sports car whip past you on the freeway, leaving you to ask yourself, “What .Was. That?” Sure, it is cool to see a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but when you see a car so rare cruising down the road next to you, that is something special.

Whether it is a car from another country, a concept car that never hit mass production, or a car from a startup company, these are some brands and models you may have never heard of. Which one would you want to drive first?

1. Lucid Motors

Image Credit: Lucid.

Founded in 2007 out of Casa Grande, Arizona, Lucid had high hopes of competing with Tesla in the emerging electric vehicle market. Their first release was the Lucid Air, in 2021, a four-door luxury sedan with an EPA estimated range of 500 miles and 480 horsepower.

The Lucid Air does look pretty similar to the Tesla Model S. With a price tag of under $80,000 and steady financing behind the company, it has all the tools to rival Tesla. Look for sales in the future to continue creeping upward as more consumers get wind of this new luxury EV brand.

2. W Motors

Image Credit: W Motors.

This supercar company began making its pricey racecars in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in July 2012. It was the first car company in the Middle East to begin manufacturing luxury roadsters. The company has produced the Fenyr SuperSport and Ghiath models, while the Model 7 and the MUSE are collaborations with ICONIQ Motors.

Their most famous build is the Lykan Hypersport, which was featured in the iconic Fast and Furious film franchise. Less than ten have been put into production, and they are said to cost millions of dollars. This might be the future of exotic cars for the next decade.

3. Ultima Sports

Image Credit: Ultima Sports Ltd.

Although this English-based production company has existed since the 1980s, few people other than car enthusiasts are aware of its designs. The company has successfully collaborated with Porshe and Chevrolet to improve engine performance and superior transaxles.

Their flagship vehicle is the Ultima Evolution, but over the years, they have released several other models, including the Ultima Mk, Ultima Sport, Ultima Spyder, Ultima Can-Am, and the Ultima GTR. The Evolution can only be sold in the United States as a kit car, which the buyer must assemble themselves, which is a fun project for car builders.

4. Zenvo Automotive

Image Credit: Zenvo Automotive A/S.

The Danish island of Zealand is home to Zenvo Automotive Group, a car company focused on making the finest supercars in the world. They debuted their first prototype in 2009, the Zenvo ST1, which has a twin-charged 7-liter V8 engine capable of hitting 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds. They went on to release only 15 vehicles a year, with price tags well over a million dollars.

Zenvo has built and sold four additional models: the limited edition 2016 TS1, the 2016 TS1 GT grand tourer, the 2016 TSR track-only sports car, and the road-legal 2018 TSR-S. The brand planned to build only five cars a year after 2016, but as of 2024, it has increased that number to 50.

5. Polestar

Image Credit: Polestar.

Polestar Tuning has long been responsible for Volvo's high-performance everyday cars. When Tesla began dominating the EV market, Volvo made Polestar a separate division, hoping to cash in and take away some of Tesla's market share.

The Polestar 1 was released in October 2017 and was an instant success. They followed up by selling over 20,000 units of their Polestar 2 model. They already have plans for the Polestar 3 in late 2024 and the Polestar 4 sometime in 2025.

6. VinFast

Image Credit: VinFast.

The Vietnam-based automaker has been working closely with BMW and Pininfarina. It has since become the first Vietnamese brand to expand globally. Since 2017, they have focused on gas-powered and electronic hybrid vehicles.

Sales of VinFast have been growing consistently. In 2023, they sold about 2,000 EVs in the United States. The company plans to continue investing and has since opened an assembly plane in Raleigh, North Carolina. It looks like we might be seeing more of these stylish cars on the roadway.

7. Apollo Automobil

Apollo Hypercar
Image Credit: Apollo Future Mobility Group.

Many supercar enthusiasts might remember the Gumpert Apollo, an incredibly fast car built by the German automaker Ronald Gumpert. Despite being one of the quickest cars of the 2000s, the company went out of business. Luckily, in 2016, a Hong Kong investor saved the company and renamed it Apollo Automobil.

Since then, Apollo has produced two epic race cars: The 2016 Arrow and the 2019 Intensa Emozione, which are the epitome of peak performance. They are both highly sought after, but the Emozione is extra special, as only ten were made.

8. De Tomaso

De Tomaso
Image Credit: De Tomaso Automobili.

In 1959, Alejandro de Tomaso, an Argentinian racing driver and entrepreneur, envisioned building the ultimate Italian sports car. He teamed up with Ford to produce cars like the Pantera and Mangusta. Still, due to bad business planning, the company never took off.

That was until a Hong Kong-based company bought the rights to the name in 2014. In 2019, the P72 was released, with less than 100 made. It has since become highly collectible.

9. Fisker Inc.

Image Credit: Fisker, Inc.

Automotive designer Henrik Fisker was a decorative automaker for BMW and Aston Martin for years before he decided to branch out on his own in the mid-2000s. Fisker Automotive saw initial success with the Fisker Karma, but sadly, it was not long-lived, and the company went under.

In 2016, Fisker decided to try again, this time focusing on electric cars. The Fisker Ocean, a mid-size crossover SUV, has been the company's only release. With an MSRP under $40,000, seeing more of these in production in the next few years would not be surprising.

10. Automobili Pininfarina

Image Credit: Automobili Pininfarina.

Most people have heard of Ferarri, one of the most recognizable sports car brands in the world. Still, many have never heard of Pininfarina, the design company behind many classic Ferraris.

In 2015, Mahindra Group bought the rights to the name to branch out and make Pininfarina its own brand. In 2019, they unveiled the Battista. The Battista is considered the most powerful electric vehicle on the market. Buyers in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East can buy one of the 150 models produced for a price averaging $2 million.

11. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus

Image Credit: Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus.

James Glickenhaus is an avid car fan with one of the most vast and rare collections of exotic cars. Glickenhaus loves low-volume, high-performance roadsters so much that he helped build the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus to build these unique cars.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has made some custom vehicles, but their most popular is the SCG 003. The powerful vehicle comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo BMW V8 capable of churning out over 700 horsepower.

12. Rivian Automotive

Image Credit: Rivian.

The American automotive company Rivian has existed since 2009, but it has only recently been seen on the roads. In 2021, Rivian produced the first all-electric pickup truck, the R1T.

The R1T has various battery-sized options, with projected ranges of 230-400 miles per charge. The truck was a hit right off the bat, and in December 2021, it was named the Motor Trend Truck of the Year.

Rivian has gone on to make the R1S, a sports utility version of the truck and a cargo van that Amazon has used in its fleets. The company's goal for 2024 is to actively produce over 400,000 vehicles annually.

13. Nikola Corporation

Nikola Truck
Image Credit: Nikola Corporation.

The Nikola Corporation got its name from the famous scientist Nikola Tesla. I guess his last name was already taken. Nevertheless, this American company is designed around developing hydrogen vehicles. The company has plans to release several concept vehicles, including the Nikola 2, a hydrogen-fueled semi-truck.

While these designs are forward-thinking and highly stylish, it is yet to be seen if they will survive against EVs. Still, look for Nikola to have a bigger footprint in the future of automobiles.

14. Karma Automotive

Image Credit: Karma Automotive.

This Chinese-owned Southern California auto company has been selling luxury electric vehicles out of its plant in Irvine since 2015. Its flagship models, the Revero and the Revero GT, have been sold globally, while the company has also dipped its toes in the American marketplace.

They got their name on the map when they won the 2020 Luxury Green Car of the Year Award from the Green Car Journal in 2020. They have since branched out and built a concept sports car, yet mass production on the roadster has yet to be completed.

15. Rossion Automotive

Image Credit: Gator Motorsport.

Rossion Automotive is an American company based in Palm Beach, Florida. It specializes in selling high-end car kits, and its most popular model is the Rossion Q1.

Simply put, these cars are built for speed. The Q1 has a twin-turbo V8 engine that gets it to 60 miles per hour in only 2.8 seconds. For a base price in the mid $70,000, it is pretty affordable for a car with such power.

Author: Adam Spraker

Adam Spraker is a Trending Topics writer known for such topics as music, sports, travel, and pop culture. He Recently relocated from Sunny San Diego to the Great Smokey Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

When he is not working, you can find him sipping on a craft beer at a ball game, hanging out with his pup Gilly, or searching for the best tacos in North Carolina.

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