When was the first car made? The birth year of the modern car is considered to be 1885, when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen, a self-propelled vehicle with three large wheels and a rear-mounted engine. It was capable of reaching around 10 mph (16 kph). The original cost was 600 imperial German marks, which was the equivalent of $150 U.S. ($4,321 in 2020 currency). Large-scale, production-line manufacturing of cars acquirable by the masses did not begin until 1901 under Ransom Olds at his Oldsmobile factory in Lansing, Michigan. By 1913, Henry Ford greatly expanded the concept and created the world’s first moving assembly line for automobiles in Highland Park, Michigan. Since then, car manufacturers around the world have been introducing, refining, and delivering car models to the garages of people all around the world.
How many car models are there today? Dozens! Fourteen major global corporations control 60 major auto brands. Many of those auto brands have launched vehicles that have withstood the test of time, evolving with new technology and societal needs. This infographic by the Alan’s Factory Outlet research team explores the 35 car models with the longest production runs of all time:
The car model that has been around longest is the Chevrolet Suburban, which has been in production for 86 years. Not only is it the car with the longest production run, but it has been one of General Motors’ most profitable vehicles. The first-generation Chevrolet Suburban, launched in 1935, was one of the first all-metal-bodied station wagons. The original concept for the Chevrolet Suburban was to achieve a “carry-all” function, meaning the entire family and all of their gear could fit comfortably and effectively into a vehicle. For 1941, the second-generation Chevrolet Suburban was released, serving not only families but also the military as a transport vehicle for World War II.
Here are the 20 longest-running automotive models of all time:
- Chevrolet Suburban — 1935 to present
- Ford F-Series — 1947 to present
- Volkswagen Transporter — 1950 to present
- Toyota Land Cruiser — 1951 to present
- Chevrolet Corvette — 1953 to present
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class — 1954 to present
- Toyota Crown — 1957 to present
- Nissan Skyline — 1957 to present
- Mini — 1959 to 2000
- Porsche 911 — 1963 to present
- Ford Mustang — 1964 to present
- Chevrolet Camaro — 1966 to present
- Toyota Corolla — 1966 to present
- Jaguar XJ — 1968 to present
- Suzuki Jimny — 1970 to present
- Range Rover — 1970 to present
- Toyota Century — 1967 to 2018
- Honda Civic — 1972 to present
- Volkswagen Passat — 1973 to present
- Volkswagen Golf — 1974 to present
The History of the Chevrolet Suburban
The Suburban, which is the longest-running car in terms of production, is an SUV that was created by Chevrolet in 1934. Its original body style was a station wagon, but it has since evolved into an SUV available with several engine options.
In addition to being the car with the longest production run, this car is known for its longevity and drivability. It was named as the vehicle with the most average miles driven per year, averaging 14,299 miles. It also came in second for the longest-lasting vehicle available, making it a smart choice for consumers. It consistently receives high marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its safety features and has won several awards, such as U.S. News & World Report’s Best Large SUV for Families in 2015.
The Suburban is also one of the most iconic cars of all time. In 2019, the car was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for its role in pop culture. It had appeared in 1,750 films and television shows at the time of the award. It’s no surprise that the Suburban is the longest-running production car model and one of the most popular cars available.
Facts About the Ford F-Series
Second on the list of vehicles with the longest production runs of all time is the Ford F-Series. This range of full-sized pickup trucks includes the popular Ford F-150, heavy-duty F-250 through F-450 trucks, F-450/F-550 chassis cabs, and F-600/F-650/F-750 Class 6-8 commercial trucks.
In addition to being the second-longest running car model, Ford F-Series trucks have been the best-selling vehicles in America since 1981. In 2021, 726,004 F-series pickups were sold in the United States. It has also been the best-selling vehicle in Canada for more than 50 years. The truck has won many accolades, including the Motor Trend 2009 Truck of the Year Award and 2009’s Best Redesigned Vehicle from Kelley Blue Book.
All About the Volkswagen Transporter
The Volkswagen Transporter is the third-longest-running car model in history. It’s also the best-selling van of all time, selling more than 12,000,000 units. The vehicle has a number of variants, including vans, minibuses, minivans, campervans, and pickups.
The Volkswagen Type 2 (T1), the Transporter’s first model, was originally derived from the Volkswagen Beetle. Early versions featured a split windshield, which led fans to give it the nickname “Splitty.” The Type 2 is very prevalent in pop culture, most memorably appearing in films like Field of Dreams and Little Miss Sunshine.
Facts About the Toyota Land Cruiser
The Land Cruiser ranks fourth on the list of longest production runs and is still being produced today. Production began in 1951, and it’s Toyota’s longest-running vehicle model. In 2019, Toyota sold its 10 millionth Land Cruiser.
The Land Cruiser is particularly popular in Australia, where it’s the best-selling four-wheel-drive vehicle. In fact, Toyota does comprehensive testing of the Land Cruiser in the Australian Outback, as its rough terrain puts the Land Cruiser’s abilities to the test.
Information About the Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette, the vehicle with the fifth-longest production run, is one of the most iconic cars in history. The two-door vehicle has been in production since 1953 and has gone through eight generations of designs. The very first Corvette was Harley Earl’s 1953 EX-122 Corvette prototype. It was shown to the public in 1953 at GM Motorama in New York City. The car went into production just six months after its appearance.
Its popularity has led it to be dubbed America’s sports car. Through the years, it has won a variety of awards, including a spot on Edmunds.com’s “100 Best Cars of All Time” list as well as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1984, 1998, and 2020.
The Most-Produced Car of All Time
What is the most-produced car? While all of the cars on the list have had impressive production runs, there is one vehicle that stands out. The Toyota Corolla, which was first introduced in 1966, is the most-produced car in history. More than 50,000,000 Corollas have been sold, surpassing popular cars like the Chevy Suburban and Volkswagen Beetle despite only ranking 13th on our list. The car’s name, which means “little crown” in Latin, follows Toyota’s custom of using names derived from Toyota’s popular Crown sedan. The Corolla has undergone a variety of changes and redesigns through the years to keep up with automotive and safety trends.
The 35 Cars With the Longest Production Runs of All Time
|1935–present (86 years)||Chevrolet Suburban|
|1938–2003 (65 years)||Volkswagen Beetle|
|1944–86 (46 years)||Jeep CJ|
|1947–present (74 years)||Ford F-Series|
|1948–90 (42 years)||Citroën 2CV|
|1950–present (71 years)||Volkswagen Transporter|
|1951–present (70 years)||Toyota Land Cruiser|
|1953–present (68 years)||Chevrolet Corvette|
|1954–present (67 years)||Mercedes-Benz S-Class|
|1955–present (66 years)||Toyota Crown|
|1957–present (64 years)||Nissan Skyline|
|1959–2000 (62 years)||Mini|
|1960–91 (31 years)||Peugeot 404|
|1961–94 (33 years)||Renault 4|
|1961–91 (30 years) (returning in 2022)||Jeep Wagoneer|
|1963–present (58 years)||Porsche 911|
|1964–present (57 years)||Ford Mustang|
|1966–present (55 years)||Chevrolet Camaro|
|1966–present (55 years)||Toyota Corolla|
|1967–2017 (50 years) (returned in 2018)||Toyota Century|
|1968–present (53 years)||Jaguar XJ|
|1970–present (51 years)||Suzuki Jimny|
|1970–present (51 years)||Range Rover|
|1972–present (49 years)||Honda Civic|
|1973–present (48 years)||Volkswagen Passat|
|1974–present (47 years)||Volkswagen Golf|
|1975–present (46 years)||Volkswagen Polo|
|1975–present (46 years)||BMW 3 Series|
|1976–present (45 years)||Ford Fiesta|
|1976–present (45 years)||Honda Accord|
|1977–present (44 years)||Lada Niva Legend|
|1979–present (42 years)||Mercedes G-Class|
|1980–present (41 years)||Fiat Panda|
|1983–2016 (33 years)||Land Rover Defender|
|1986–present (35 years)||Jeep Wrangler|
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