How many cars have you owned over the years? You don’t have to answer, just think about it and try to answer this as well: how many of them were manufactured by an automaker whose name starts with the letter “I”?
Come to think of it, there aren’t too many car manufacturing companies starting with the aforementioned letter, so maybe a better question would be: How many car brands like that do you know?
Sure, some of you have heard about Iveco, which is a renowned truck manufacturer, others may remember Isuzu being a big name on the world market, and let’s not forget about luxury car brand Infiniti.
But there are way more car brands that start with the letter I that you could think of. And in the list below we’ll take a closer look at the ones that have left their mark somehow on automotive history.
Founded in 1989 by Bill Bruce, Infiniti is the luxury division of the Japanese automotive giant Nissan.
The renowned car maker first began using the Infiniti brand logo for its luxury vehicles in the US, and today over 50 countries around the globe have the chance to enjoy the highly appreciated Infiniti vehicles.
Based in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, Infiniti Motor Company has also been known to come up with unique concept cars and high performance vehicles from time to time.
Infiniti was basically Nissan’s answer to its rivals from Japan, when they also wanted to enter the same premium market segment, as Toyota launched Lexus and Honda established Acura.
Armand Isuzu established the Japanese car company bearing this name back in 1934. Based in Tokyo, Japan, the company ended up being nicknamed Rajanya Diesel – translated “The King of Diesel” – and that title was well deserved.
Did you know that, by 2009, Isuzu had produced over 21 million diesel engines? These engines have been fitted on various and numerous vehicles across the years, including Ford, Opel, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s vehicles, to name but a few.
The Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer has been known to develop incredibly reliable engines, sold worldwide.
Moreover, their very own vehicles – with a wide and extensive lineup – have also proven to be popular and has achieved an impressive market share, worldwide.
Industrial Vehicles Corporation – or simply IVECO – is an Italian industrial vehicle manufacturing company founded in 1975.
Turin, Italy, is the place where this brand came to be, a company that quickly started focusing on the design and manufacture of light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles.
These came in various forms and sizes, including construction vehicles, city and intercity buses and special vehicles – firefighter machines, off-road vehicles, as well as military equipment.
Today, the company is mostly known for its light commercial vehicles, suitable for urban environments where modest loads and fast transportation of merchandise is a must to keep your favorite shop, restaurant or firm running smoothly.
A renowned tuning company based in Brüggen, Germany, IMSA worked its magic especially on Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini cars, with the IMSA Gallardo GTV receiving a lot of praise years ago – we think you can guess on what supercar this project as based on.
Based on their own words, the company is all about individual mobility, style and art, something that becomes apparent the second you get a glimpse of one of their projects.
By delivering high-tech safety and high-performance components, as well as individualized designs and features, IMSA has become an original and very appreciated brand. Their lineup includes the IMSA-C class, IMSA-G class as well as the IMSA S-Class model.
You will probably like the IMSA RXR ONE (Road X-tra Racing) too, a reimagined AMG GT car revealed at the 2017 IAA event.
The approach to refining cars is simple: an overall weight reduction, a substantial increase in the engine’s power, an upgraded chassis complemented by aerodynamic enhancements would result into an instant success.
The Chrysler Corporation wanted to take over the luxury car market segment, which is why they formed the Imperial brand in the first place. Between 1955 and 1975, as well as 1981 to 1983, this division manufactured and marketed luxurious automobiles.
The Imperial was a familiar to Chrysler fans, as it was a name used since 1926 to badge the car manufacturer’s luxury model – the Chrysler Imperial.
However, the name would represent its own division by 1955, when Chrysler decided it was time to take on North American rivals Lincoln and Cadillac.
Imperial models – which include Newport, Crown Convertible Coupe and limousines – would receive visual updates and body retouches every other year, while all featured V8 engines and automatic transmissions complemented by state of the art technologies.
There is no doubt you will recognize most of them, as they were featured in various Hollywood movie productions.
Based in Tehran, Iran, Iran Khodro – IKCO – is an Iranian multinational automotive company. The brand’s original name was Iran National, with later editing adding the khodro word, which means “automobile” in Persian.
Over the years, Khodro has become one of the largest car manufacturers in Asia. It is responsible for the design and development of cars, trucks, minibuses and buses.
For more than three decades, Iran Khodro produced the Paykan saloon car, which was discontinued in 2005. A pick-up version of that car, the Bardo Pick-up, was also developed.
Iran Khodro has even established collaborations with foreign automotive partners, such as Samand, Peugeot, Mercedes or Renault. The firm has a long-term relationship with PSA Peugeot Citroën, for which it has manufactured and assembled various models, under license.
Moreover, aside from manufacturing trucks and buses, the brand has also manufactured E-Class passenger cars under Mercedes-Benz license. For Suzuki, IKCO produced the Grand Vitara and Kizashi models.
You may have head the name already – Invicta, a Swiss watch company established in 1837, that was founded by Raphael Picard and went bankrupt during the 1980s.
Luckily for all of us, it was brought back to life a few years later, but this story is not about watches; not in the least.
This is about a British automobile manufacturer based in Surrey, England. Invicta has been active, or not, intermittently between 1926 and 1950. But the marque has been resurrected again in the early 2000s.
Their Invicta S1 sports car arrived in 2004 and it was manufactured between 2004 and 2012.
Isdera is an automaker specialized in design and manufacture of handcrafted high performance sports cars. Based in Hildesheim, Germany, the brand came to be in 1982 as a specialty automaker.
But they’ve designed their first vehicle – the Erator GTE – in 1969, as a replica of Ford GT40 racer. By 1978, they’ve worked together with Mercedes-Benz for the CW 311 concept car. And just a few years later, in 1982, the brand started to make its own sports cars.
Names such as the Isdera Spyder, Isdera Imperator 108i, and Isdera Commendatore 112i models have earned their place in automotive history.
The mid-engine 1993 Isdera Commendatore 112i featured RWD, a Mercedes-Benz 48-valve 6.0-liter V12 mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and offered the opportunity to go crazy while driving.
With 402 hp available, the lucky driver of that beast was able to reach a speed of 230 mph (370 km/h). Talk about impressive numbers!
Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A was an automobile and motorcycle manufacturer, founded by Renzo Rivolta in 1953. Based in Bresso, Italy, the automotive brand was active through the early 1970s.
If the name doesn’t ring any bells, allow us you remind you of the iconic Isetta bubble car, that cute little thing released in the 1950s. Beating the company’s logo, this is their most popular design ever.
The company’s story ended in 1974, but Iso has had its fair share of successful releases starting with the 1960s and up until early 1970s.
They’ve even known for producing a few high-quality sports vehicles, with notable models including the Grifo A3 L, Iso Nembo II, or the Iso Rivolta.
Italian luxury car manufacturer Isotta Fraschini was founded in 1900 by Cesare Isotta and the Fraschini brothers and delivered outrageous vehicles as well as engines for airplane manufacturers and shipbuilding companies.
Based in Milan, Italy, this was one of the first companies to sell vehicles featuring a four-wheel braking system.
Continuing their pioneering efforts in the automotive world, this brand also managed to equip their cars with OHC engines and also delivered the first production automobile equipped with a straight-eight engine.
Furthermore, the Italian luxury car brand was also known for producing trolleys and buses. By 1955, Isotta Fraschini merged with engine manufacturer Breda Motori and the company’s future was about to change.
During the 1990s, a revival of the company was attempted. As such, the Isotta Fraschini T8 roadster – a concept car – was introduced in 1996, and two years later the T12, as well. But by 1999, Isotta Fraschini’s story has come to an end.
Based in Moncalieri, Italy, Italdesign Giugiaro is an Italian design and engineering company known for its stylish and outstanding automobile designs.
It was founded in 1968 by Aldo Mantovani and Giorgetto Giugiaro and since its inception, the firm was focused on delivering nothing but the most original and impressive automotive designs.
The company was also in charge with engineering and testing of various vehicles for renowned car manufacturers the world over.
Still very much alive, the Italian company continues to astound car enthusiasts and manufacturers across the globe with its unique projects.
Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering – I.DE.A. – is an automobile engineering company with its main offices located in Turin, Italy. They have been involved with some of the most known vehicles of the 20th century.
The company was led by Italian automobile designer Ercole Spada, who became famous during the 1960s, when we has working for the Zagato design studio house.
He was involved with the creation of sports cars manufactured by Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Fiat, Lancia and even Ferrari or Maserati, while competing with fellow designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.
In 1983 he came to the I.DE.A Institute, where this company designed compact and luxury cars, such as the groundbreaking Fiat Tipo, the Lancia Dedra and Delta II, as well as the Alfa Romeo 155.
British sports car manufacturer Trident owns the Iceni Motor company as well, that was started as a separate car brand in 2018.
Trident was responsible for developing the Iceni and Iceni Magna, stylish grand tourers reminiscent of 1960s designs. One of the world’s coolest diesel GT cars bears their logo too, and it’s the Trident Iceni Magna.
The stylish, limited production, 2-seater features a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 Duramax engine – the same engine that Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra owners find under their bonnet.
If that seems like an odd choice, it’s because it is. But with 660hp and 1050 lbs. ft. of torque on tap, the engine makes for a very fast and thrilling experience though.
The Magna will do 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 190 mph, all the while bragging about a fuel consumption of 50 mpg at 70 mph.
Icona Design Group is yet another Italian automotive design company, established in 1986. Based in Turin, the brand seems to have a general approach on automotive efforts.
As such, they will engineer complete vehicles, or simply deliver a body in white, configure internal trims, or offer the possibility of ordering external trims, lighting clusters as well as various other lightweight components.
They might be busy working with other companies, but the brand also managed to bring their very own prototype at the 2013 Auto Shanghai event.
Called Icona Vulcano, this V12 prototype was enough to make people take notice of the company’s expertise and outstanding results.
Let’s dive into the world of customized projects and automotive tuning for a second. Czech design and engineering firm Innotech specializes in providing Corvette owners the next best thing – the Innotech Corvette – and enjoy a wonderfully flavored customized car.
Moreover, the company also designed and developed a car of its own – the Innotech Mysterro – which, aside from looking outrageous, had a 5.7-liter V8 sourced from a Corvette hiding under the bonnet.
The guys from Innotech mostly worked their magic on the American-made icon, with later developments including new and cool projects.
Francesco Morelli founded the Istituto Europeo di Design, or simply IED, back in 1966. This private design school is organized into four disciplines, allowing students to focus on one of the following majors: Design, Fashion, Visual Communication and Management.
This school welcomes its students in nine locations where courses are taught in several languages.
The school’s courses are attended by more than 90,000 students each year, with plenty of opportunities for companies in the automotive field to find a lamented and passionate designer to head their new project.
Based in Turin, Italy, the school had the opportunity to have its students charged with the responsibility of redesigning the iconic Cisitalia 202. The IED Cisitalia 202 E was revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
With an unusual name for a German automotive design company, Imola Racing is specialized in tuning and upgrading already impressive vehicles – especially those bearing the Prancing Horse on the bonnet.
The brand’s most notorious and impressive project was the Imola Racing F612 Wide Body. Looking very desirable, and based on the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, this project made car enthusiasts call in for an order almost immediately after it was revealed.
There are various other project bearing the shop’s special touch and you will most likely find out more about them following a phone call or e-mail from you.
Hoshino Impul Co., Ltd., or Impul, is a Japanese aftermarket specialist. Established by Nissan’s factory driver, Kazuyoshi Hoshino, in 1980, the company is focused on the manufacture of aftermarket components for Nissan vehicles out of Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.
Body kits, engine components, and excellent wheels – if you’re a Nissan owner looking to improve upon your ride, this is the best place to come to.
The company will offer you bespoke aluminum wheels, sporty aerodynamics components, complete suspension systems and upgrade, and more.
Furthermore, Impul has also established its very own racing team in 1983, Hoshino Racing Limited, which uses track-oriented vehicles manufactured in-house.
It allows them to test components under stress and improve upon the designs before making promises to customers.
Construzione Automobili Intermeccanica was established in 1959 by Frank Reisner.
Originally based in Torino, Italy, the automobile manufacturer subsequently moved to Canada and ended up taken over by someone within the family, with Frank’s son, Henry Reisner, ultimately in charge of all of the important decisions regarding the brand.
Intermeccanica was working its magic out of New Westminster, Canada – at least up until 1974 – with a special focus on manufacturing tuning kits, before ending up a full-time automobile manufacturer.
Some of the more notable models include the brand’s Italia Spyder and the Indra cars.
Established back in 1902, International Trucks focuses on the design and manufacture of medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks and specialized vehicles, and it’s one of the most sought after names on those segments.
They’ve initially started with vehicles developed for farmers or battlefields, and the brand has been part of probably all the major events throughout history, that’s why you know it’s a name you can count on.
Following an extensive effort of development and innovation, International Trucks has an impressive line-up of vehicles today for just about anyone.
One quick look at their official website, and you realize it: whatever you need, they’ve got it.
Speaking of trucks, International Harvester – or, IHC – was also North American manufacturer of trucks, agricultural machines, construction equipment, trucks, and other commercial products.
Founded in 1902 by Cyrus Hall McCormick, it would later be replaced by Navistar International Corporation.
Based in Lisle, Illinois, this brand was actually the result of a unique merger, where J.P. Morgan took the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, added three smaller agricultural equipment firms to the mix and… voila.
The International Harvester company was born. It had an immense impact on rural development and farming, but after years of financial hurdles, International began selling its separate equipment divisions.
By 1986, however, following an agreement with to Tenneco, Inc., the company’s assets would be sold and its name would be changed to Navistar International Corporation.
Established in 1889, Irizar Group is a Spanish manufacturer of luxury buses and coaches. With its main factory found in Ormaiztegi, Basque Country, the company is the market-leading builder of coach vehicle bodies in the country.
But Irizar also sells its vehicles in more than 90 countries across the globe, which is why it’s today the second coachbuilder in Europe.
The Irízar group also owns air conditioning systems’ Hispacold as well as Masats, a company specialized in the design and production of automated bus doors and ramps.
As a result, Irizar was able to further expand its reach on the market. Their collaboration with Scania, Iveco or MAN – to name a few – has allowed the brand to deliver bodies to other automotive giants as well.
Based in Lisle, Illinois, and owned by Navistar International, IC Bus was established in 2002. The American-made company is focused on bus manufacture, mainly those familiar yellow school buses but also shuttle buses, aimed at the US and Canadian market.
Following a reorganization of bus manufacturer AmTran, Navistar decided not to let go of the legacy and history of the Ward Body Works company, which can be traced far back to 1933, and put the Integrated Coach brand name to work.
Navistar actually produces the bodies, chassis, and engines for all vehicles bearing the IC logo at the company’s manufacturing facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, it might be worth mentioning that the chassis and hood IC buses use are also used for the manufacture of International trucks.
Based in Milan, Italy, Innocenti was a machinery works established by Ferdinando Innocenti at the beginning of the 20th century.
The brand became popular thanks to their iconic Lambretta scooters, with later additions to the lineup including automobiles inspired by British Leyland.
Following World War II, the company became even more popular and released upon the world various scooter models. It brought them financial success and fame.
But it wouldn’t last long, that’s why the Italian brand went on to manufacture Mini cars between 1961 and 1976, under British Leyland license.
Moreover, British Leyland purchased the company’s assets and equipment in 1972. New ownership would provide high hopes, only to be disappointed ten years later, when the deal with Leyland was dropped and the brand had no more engines supplied to its facilities.
Daihatsu came in to save the day, providing drivetrains and making an entrance on the European market. By 1990, Fiat was taking over only to have the Innocenti brand close up shop six years later.
Looking back at the car brands that begin with the letter ‘I’, it’s pretty clear that the journey of an automobile company is filled with uncertainty and challenge.
Some of these companies soared to great heights, innovating the automotive world with brilliant ideas and stylish designs, only to face unexpected obstacles that forced them to close their doors a few years later.
The tales of these companies serve as a reminder that success in the automotive industry isn’t guaranteed, even with passion and innovation at the helm.
It’s a reflection of life itself, where anything can happen, and even the most promising ventures can face sudden demise.
As we look back on these car brands, we can appreciate the legacy they’ve left behind, whether they continue to thrive or exist now only in memory.