Navigating the nostalgic lanes of the automotive history, have you ever stopped to ponder how many car brands that start with the letter ‘N’ do you actually know?
This article will take you on a thrilling ride through the world of ‘N’ – the legendary car brands that may have fueled your first drive or left you spellbound by their innovations.
From classic masterpieces to daily drivers, this list of car brands starting with the letter ‘N’ is not merely an alphabetic curiosity.
It’s a window into history, a reflection of engineering prowess, and perhaps a touch of your own automotive legacy. Buckle up; an adventure with ‘N’ awaits!
Founded back in 1933 by Yoshisuke Aikawa, Masujiro Hashimoto, William Gorham, Rokuro Aoyama, Nissan is easily one of the largest car manufacturers in the world right now.
The multinational company is based in Yokohama, Japan, and even though it’s mostly known for its automobile manufacturing efforts, it has more than one automotive division to focus on.
Following the merger of two other companies – Tobata and Nihon Sangyo – the resulting firm started assembling cars for Datsun. It would not take long until the brand became known worldwide for its high-quality vehicles.
By 1958, Nissan has reached North America; since then, their car lineup has always kept in line with state-of-the-art technologies and features – feel free to check out Nissan’s current line-up, it’s quite extensive.
Nismo, short for Nissan Motorsport, is special customization division that Nissan launched back in 1984.
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Nismo was established with the purpose of tuning and updating cars, but they also planned to design and manufacture some sports cars of their own.
Set to represent the Nissan name in motorsports, Nismo revealed their first model in 1988, the Saurus. It was an impressive sports car, but not as successful as Nismo’s take on the Skyline R32 GT-R, that blew everyone’s mind and raised the bar for tuners everywhere.
Nissan’s in-house tuning division is known for many other interesting projects, such as the very popular 2010 Nismo 370Z and 2015 Nismo GT-R.
British entrepreneur and car designer Lee Noble had the idea to start his own company a few decades ago, one that focus on developing simple and fast cars.
We use the term simple, but that doesn’t not mean, in any way, that the cars wearing this brand’s logo were not amazing works of engineering; it means they managed to remain impressive while keeping away from digital assistance as much as possible.
The British car brand was founded in 1999, immediately starting work on a few car designs. Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Noble Automotive had one goal in mind: designing the next best high-speed sports cars.
The low-volume manufacturer has always been focused on high-performance, which is why their projects usually include a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.
Mr. Noble did not stay away from the action, he got involved in the design of each car leaving the facility, which is why we thank him for Noble M10, Noble M12, Noble M400 and more. Who knows what’s next?
Nembo (Neri & Bonacini)
In 1959, Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini established Nembo, a company that was also known as Neri and Bonacini, after its founders.
Based in Modena, Italy, this firm was initially a small workshop where people brought their cars to be repaired – truth be told, they were also working their magic on bespoke boodies for Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati vehicles.
The brand’s most notable efforts have led to the creation of the Ferrari 250 GT-based Nembo spiders and the Lamborghini 400GT Monza. But this wasn’t enough for company founders.
Neri and Bonacini wanted to make their very own cars, which is why they developed two prototypes, with the Neri and Bonacini Studio GT Due Litri design putting their name on the world map.
They didn’t receive too many orders and in 1967 Bonacini decided to call it quits and that’s how the brand was suddenly no more.
Established in 1935, Neoplan Bus GmbH is a German automotive company focused on the manufacture of buses, trolleybuses and coaches. It was founded by Gottlob Auwärter and originally based in Stuttgart and initially the company started off by producing only the outer shell for buses and trucks.
By 1953, technological advancements have allowed Neoplan to make use of a partial monocoque design with a steel tube skeleton and the engine placed at the rear. In 1961, they’ve introduced the first bus to allow passengers to regulate their fresh air supply through a nozzle from two air ducts, while riding on an air suspension system.
Ten years later, a double-deck bus design was imagined for a service bus. With low weight, a low-frame front axle with forward-mounted steering gear, this concept transformed into a high-capacity comfortable touring vehicle – the Skyliner.
Research and development continued, with new and interesting models revealed constantly. Orders were pouring in, resulting in new facilities developed and more employees put to work. The Neoplan name went on to become a world-renowned icon, with their Starliner model winning the Bus of the Year award for two consecutive years.
Nowadays, the company is a subsidiary of MAN Truck & Bus SE and is responsible for delivering comfortable city and tourist buses – don’t forget the trolleys – as well as special vehicles meant for airport service.
NH Buchanan Motor Co
N H Buchanan Motor Co Pty Ltd was an Australian kit car manufacturer that received quite a lot of attention in the 1950s for a series of impressive sports cars.
Established in 1956 in Annandale, N.S.W., the company’s name was inspired by the designer who came up with the idea of delivering drivers a Lego-like kit for them to assemble before they actually got to enjoy the roar of the engine.
Featuring fiberglass bodies, a wide array of choices and requiring some technical skills, these kit cars were an interesting concept. The original body was based on an Aston Martin DB3-S racing car, and racing cars were inspired by the Holden FJ model.
The Buchanan Cobra was introduced in 1958, with only 7 units making it out the factory gates; the Repco Ricardian project was developed the same year, but due to poor sales by 1961 the brand had already closed up shop.
Nationale Automobil-Gesellschaft (NAG)
As you have already guessed by now, this is also a German firm. NAG was founded in 1901 in Berlin-Oberschöneweide, and was initially known as NOS.
The company’s first two cars were reliable, although boasting a far too obvious resemblance to Mercedes vehicles of the era – the two-cylinder Typ A and 5.2 liter four-cylinder Typ B.
By joining forces with electrical company AEG, NAG was able to design and develop its first electric cars by 1907. The next year, two models and double-decker omnibuses were introduced.
In 1915 the brand name was changed to NAG, with research and development efforts unaffected with this brand change.
The Great Wat put a halt on things, but the end of the military conflict inspired NAG to produce what they called new cars – essentially their already introduced K4 models with new radiators. Understandable, for sure.
In 1930, companies NAG and Büssing merged, resulting in the firm’s iconic model – NAG-Protos, Typ 208.
NAG created the Nag 212 one year later, in 1931, which became the first V8-powered cars to come out of Germany. Powered by a 4.5-liter engine, it became recognized as an outstanding German luxury car.
In 1934, NAG ceased car production only to be part of the World War II military efforts. As such, the company went on to manufacture various armored vehicles for the German troops.
Nagant Frères, just as the name implies – for those of you able to speak French – was founded by the Nagant brothers. Established in 1855, the company was focused on the manufacture of precise engineering components.
Based in Liege, France, Nagant soon became the Fabrique d’Armes Em & L. Nagant – yes, they designed and manufactured weapons, mainly handheld ones, including revolvers and riffles. This side of the company still remains active, to this day.
But by the end of the 19th century, the brand also got involved in the automotive field. Keen on manufacturing vehicles, Nagant revealed the licensed Gobron-Brillié model at the turn of the 20th century.
Beginning with 1904, the company designed and develop its own components and cars in-house. The most notable models include the 1910 Phaeton, a name most familiar to us thanks to the modern-era Volkswagen counterpart.
In 1927, the automotive company was sold and the Nagant name remained attached to weapon manufacture.
NAMCO is short for National Motor Company of Greece, a vehicle manufacturer established in 1972. Based in Thessaloniki, the company was founded by the Kontogouris family and started off by manufacturing the NAMCO Pony-Citroën.
Introduced at the Thessaloniki International Fair, following an agreement with Citroën, and inspired by a 2CV platform, the car was not exactly like the original, but a mix of various other cars around the world – which were all based on the same 2CV platform.
It was only in 1986 that the brand’s Pony Super was revealed, with this independent design being also the last one to show off the Greek company’s logo.
Nonetheless, production of the Pony Super is always a possibility, since the company maintains a factory able to resume production.
Nasr is short for El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company, Egypt’s state-owned automotive company. Based in Helwan, the first Arab car manufacturer was established in 1960 and was initially focused on manufacturing licensed versions of Fiat cars.
Aiming to deliver affordable cars to the masses, the company avoided the engineering and design problems automobile companies usually face by using affordable Fiat-based cars – or, their licensed versions.
The most popular model, released in the 1970s, was the Nasr 128 GLS. However, as it became obvious it was not keeping in line with customer demand, Nasr began production of a new range inspired by the Fiat Regata.
To keep the cash flow coming in, the company would expand its area of activity and turn to the manufacture of trucks and agricultural machinery.
Today, Nasr remains popular in its native country, due to the level of affordability its cars come with – but don’t start thinking about comforts, cool features or safety standards, that’s why competitors are seriously affecting its sales numbers.
National Motor Vehicle Company
Established in 1900. the National Motor Vehicle Company was based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Founder Arthur C. Newby started off the American car manufacturer with one ambitious goal in mind: to design and produce electric cars.
However, the firm shifted towards internal combustion engines shortly after, in 1905, with various passenger cars starting to come off the factory lines. What’s more interesting is that the American company has even produced various racing models.
The popular National Series V-N3 Tonneau was a passenger car introduced in 1913, while the National 40 racer came three years earlier – there are many other models to feature the car’s logo.
Inflation and financial problems forced a merger with the Dixie Flyer and Jackson, but even that wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat. In 1924, complete closure became unavoidable.
Established in 1986 as a truck and engine manufacturer, Navistar International Corporation is based in Lisle, Illinois. The American brand gained popularity during the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to diesel engines increasingly being fitted to utility vehicles.
Navistar soon became a leading manufacturer of bus chassis in the US, under the IC Bus brand, with school buses putting the firm’s name on the map. Market share quickly increased, and the company was in charge of both body and chassis manufacture.
The lineup was extensive and interesting, with truck proving to be more than reliable over the years. And with the popular yellow school buses keeping the cash flow coming in, owners of Navistar were smiling.
Today, the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Traton, and therefore part of the Volkswagen Group.
NAZ Naxçıvan Avtomotive Plant
Nakhchivan Automobile Plant, also known as NAZ, is an automobile manufacturer in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Founded in 1993 in Nakhichevan, the brand has been known to produce quite a wide range of vehicles.
Considered somewhat retro, or simplistic for the market, the company went through financial troubles and eventually required some help. But they teamed up with Chinese brand Lifan and the brand got a second wind in its automotive sails.
The company remains the leading car manufacturer in the country, with newer car models adopting a more modern approach to customer satisfaction and allowing NAZ to remain financially viable.
Greek company Neorion is the oldest heavy industry player in the country. Based in Ermoupolis, the firm has been around since 1820, when it was mentioned as the largest shipyard in the country.
During the 1860s, the company’s efforts were focused on manufacturing boilers, pumps, as well as steam engines for ships, not to mention heavy artillery – basically, the most important part of metallurgic industry was covered and money was coming in.
The years passed, and come 1970s, Neorion merges with Enfield Automotive and the resulting company begins automobile production. In 1974, the vehicle for which the company is most familiar for was released: the Neorion Chicago.
Before you get way too excited, you should know that only two units of the Chicago ever made it out the assembly line. Sadly, by 1976 the automotive division of the brand was no more.
The Chinese automotive industry has plenty of cars to offer these days, with a wide line-up of vehicles and purpose-built machines covering just about any and all demands.
Some companies are working exclusively for the Chinese market, while others have made a name for themselves worldwide by exporting components and cars all across the globe.
NIO is one of those brands that received a lot of attention in these last couple of years. The company managed to stand out of a crowd due to the fact that its efforts are dedicated to the development of sporty electric vehicles.
William Lee established the company in 2014, with its operations based in Shanghai, while production facilities were placed within suburban areas.
Impressed by the company’s concepts and ideas, other brands joined in to support its research and development efforts, including names such as Sequoia, Lenovo, and more.
The company’s lineup includes more than one vehicle these days, although it all started with the NIO EP9 sports model.
Norsk Automobil & Vagnfabrik AS
The story of Norsk is a short one, yet it still deserves to be mentioned. The car manufacturer that was Norsk Automobil & Vagnfabrik AS was based in Oslo, Norway and it was active between 1908 and 1911.
Norsk aimed to create fun, lightweight and affordable vehicles for people to enjoy and it quickly gained a lot of attention for their cars.
Featuring a single-cylinder engine developing as many as 8 ponies, these cars did not sound impressive, but they were not bad either. The company also envisioned touring cars, that were set to feature more powerful 4-cylinder engines.
As big as company’s plans were, Norsk only managed to complete the assembly of ten vehicles before closing up shop, in 1911.
Truth be told, NSU initially had nothing to do with building cars; its beginnings saw the company manufacturing knitting machines – at least that’s what founder Christian Schmidt had in mind.
Based in the city of Riedlingen, the company moved its operations to Neckarsulm in 1880, followed by rapid growth and a shift in focus. In 1886, the company began to produce bicycles and by 1892, knitting machines manufacture was ceased.
The first NSU motorcycle was introduced in 1901 and four years later the first vehicle to feature the company’s brand name showed up on the streets. By 1932, bankruptcy forced to company to sell its recently completed facility in Heilbronn and call it quits.
However, the end of World War II meant there was a chance to start all over again. As such, in 1946, manufacture of bicycles and motor-bicycles was resumed at Neckarsulm; motorcycle manufacture followed shortly after.
By 1949, new models were being developed and in 1953, the NSU Max bike was revealed – it had a 250cc engine with a unique overhead camdrive driven by reciprocating rods.
After being acknowledged as one of the biggest motorcycle producers in the world and having one of its bikes going over the 200mph mark, NSU turned its attention towards more interesting vehicle technologies.
In 1964, NSU delivered the world’s first car to be powered by a Wankel engine. The Sport Prinz featured 129 hp coming out of a 995cc engine.
The 1967 NSU Ro 80 had a lot going for itself, with disc brakes, independent suspension, and front wheel drive as part of its features. It received several design awards and high praise from drivers.
Every car manufacturer that followed and made use of Wenkel engines, purchased a license from NSU. However, sales were disappointing and the costs of developing the rotary engine were high.
In 1969, the company was taken over by Volkswagen and the brand was no more.
Nyayo Car was an attempt by the Kenyan government to manufacture its own vehicles for the population, and possibly export them as well.
Established in 1986 at the request of president Daniel arap Moi, the brand did manage to create five prototypes of Pioneer Nyayo Cars.
Developed by the University of Nairobi, the resulting vehicles were able to achieve a top speed of 120 km/h and the Nyayo Motor Corporation was all set up to begin production of these models.
Great ideas aside, business is business and time is money. Without money, the decisive factor in this case, the car models never made it to the assembly line.
As such, the brand was renamed Numerical Machining Complex Limited and went on to deliver various metal parts for Kenyan companies.
Nikola is a name that has become synonymous with electricity and a powerful vision of the future.
There are many things to be said about Nikola Tesla and his research in the field of electricity, but one thing remains certain: he never gave up, no matter how many great minds of the era told him that it couldn’t be done.
One of many new American automakers founded after the 2000s, the Nikola Corporation has been around since 2014.
Established by Trevor Milton and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, this company has been hard at work, designing several conceptual cars focused around the idea that utility vehicles or vehicles, in general, can solve problems while featuring zero emissions.
By 2016, the brand was all set to produce as many as 5,000 platform trucks. Nikola One, Nikola Two, and other truck models powered by electric motors.
You would be surprised to learn more about these vehicles’ range and power. The future is, obviously, electric.
NEVS AB is short for “National Electric Vehicle Sweden”, a Swedish electric car manufacturer that built its vehicles and reputation upon the acquired assets of Saab Automobile.
Based in Trollhättan, Sweden, the company was founded in 2012 and by 2015 they were already signing an agreement with Chinese company Panda New Energy.
One story ends, another one begins; following the bankruptcy of Saab, NEVS went to work and promised to deliver Panda with 150,000 9-3 sedan electric vehicles by the end of 2020.
While doing so, major strategic moves were still being developed by company officials. For example, NEVS acquired a 20% stake in Koenigsegg in 2019; who says Monopoly is just a game?
Although the brand has facilities in China and Canada, NEVS sells vehicles only on the Chinese market.
One of the oldest automobile manufacturers in China, Nanjing Automobile is a state-owned enterprise that has been around since 1947. Based in Shanghai, PRC, the company managed early on to own exclusive rights to use various car brands, such as Austin, Rover, MG, and more.
The Chinese company was involved in the manufacture of cars, trucks, as well as buses. Nanjing has even offered maintenance services for defense equipment along the years. Since 1950, the company has been delivering NJ130 trucks, vehicles inspired by the GAZ-51.
The 1980s saw the car manufacturer reaching for another segment of the market, with the development of a commercial van based upon the popular Iveco Daily design.
In 2000, SEAT’s first-generation Ibiza was what the company was aiming for – the design was purchased, with the resulting vehicles sold in China as the Nanjing Yuejin Soyat.
Later, Nanjing acquired MG Rover Group assets – MG, Austin, and other British car brands – in order to add new vehicles to its lineup. The plans never did get achieved, and in 2007 SAIC took over the company.
An automobile manufacturer hailing from Australia, Nota is focused on developing sports cars and racers. The company was founded in 1952 by aircraft engineer Guy Buckingham, who used his experience to create triangulated space-framed sportscars.
In 1958 Nota Sports and Racing Cars built a series of aluminum streamlined sports cars, dubbed “Streamliners”, with only 11 units being assemble until 1960. Meanwhile, Formula Junior cars were also being completed by them, in both front and mid-engine formats.
Mini inspired Nota to create a series of small sports cars in 1963 and the next year the Nota Sapphire would be released, featuring Ford Fiat and Coventry Climax engines.
During the 1960s, the company came up with a Lotus 7 copycat, dubbed the “Sportsman”. It’s still available today, in a transverse, mid-engine form, and it seems that combining various parts from other car manufacturers and assembling them under your own roof constitutes the recipe for success – at least, for this company.
Nash Motors Company joined forces with British automaker Donald Healey only to develop the Nash-Healey. The resulting two-seat gran turismo was designed specifically for the American market, and produced between 1951 and 1954.
The first sports car to be revealed following World War II, this vehicle managed to outshine the Chevrolet Corvette and even take part in various international racing events. The prototype was revealed at the 1950 Paris Motor Show,, with the production-ready version making its way at the 1951 Chicago Auto Show.
Surprisingly, this vehicle received quite a lot of attention even in Paris, considering that it was meant to promote sales of the other Nash cars on the North American continent. Featuring the Nash Ambassador drivetrain, a handmade European chassis and body, the car even received styling tweaks by Pininfarina.
A perfect version, ready for racing, featured a spartan aluminum body and managed to score the third place at the 1952 Le Mans 24-hour race.
No true car enthusiast can honestly say they’ve never heard of this name. Based in Stetten, Bavaria, the Germans at Novitec will gladly upgrade and update your Italian car, whether it’s an Alfa Romeo or Ferrari.
They became famous for taking Ferraris to the next level. In 2004, the first Novitec project was revealed, in the form of a twin-supercharged Ferrari 360, developing 565 hp and looking like it meant business.
The tuning shop has expended even further, adding in 2007 a division that caters exclusively to Maserati owners, but that was only the beginning.
Nowadays, the company will also work its magic on a wide array of Lamborghini, McLaren, Rolls-Royce and even Tesla vehicles.
For each car brand, there’s a different division with its own name. Regardless of the car you own, feel free to ask anyone: Novitec is all about quality work, attention to detail and incredible performance.
Neuspeed is an aftermarket automotive specialist based in California, USA. The company develops and produces high-quality aftermarket performance components for various vehicles, especially from the Volkswagen Group.
The whole story started when the company’s founder, Bill Neumann, purchased a 1928 Model A Ford (when he was only 15), and started to put it back in running condition. He managed to do that and impress everyone at his high school, but this wasn’t enough for the teenager.
Next up, he decided to customize a 1939 Ford convertible. By the end of the project, this vehicle featured a gorgeous de-chromed look, a lowered stance, as well as a modified 1950 Mercury engine.
This all happened in 1950, somewhere in Scarsdale, New York and the rest is.. history.
Today, Neuspeed is associated with Audi and Volkswagen brands, specifically for importing non-USA certified cars up to a year in advance, before going on sale in North America.
In 1975, the first VW Scirocco and the VW Rabbit – what Europeans call Golf – grabbed the attention of the firm. Fine German engineering and with virtual unlimited performance potential, these were the ideal cars to start with.
The company established a reputation for producing state-of-the-art springs, sway bars, and many other performance-oriented components for these cars.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Nickey Chevrolet was not your usual automobile dealership. The American firm was established in 1925, and quickly became known as one of the largest factory dealerships in the world during by the 1950s.
With all that muscle-car enthusiasm, big engines, Hemi madness and the excitement that only an American-made petrol-powered engine could deliver, this was the perfect time to enter the scene and bring a few more thrills to the table.
Nickey went all out and focused on modifying high-performance muscle cars, like the ones we used to dream about: the Camaro, Corvette and other iconic vehicles of the 1960s.
You could easily walk into the dealership, pick your favorite car and have the shop modify it in any way you wanted.
It all went well, at least until 1973, when this success story ended – or, when the company was sold.
Norman E. Timbs
Mechanical engineer Norman E. Timbs has earned his place in the pages of automotive history for designing and manufacturing his very own Buick Streamliner. One quick glimpse of it and you will easily realize why it has become one of the most sought-after cars of its time.
The 1948 Norman E. Timbs Buick Streamliner might just be the ultimate hot rod. With most of the components designed and fabricated by the man himself, including a custom aluminum body and steel chassis, it took two years for this project to reach the final stage.
The body was inspired by German GP cars of the era, with no tasteless chrome bumpers and large tail fins distracting us from that smooth and flowing design. Chic, elegant, and timeless, this vehicle had plenty going for it – it still does.
The engine was fitted at the back, with a large one-piece rear panel making use of hydraulic power to reveal the magic. A quick Internet search will have you wanting it in your garage in an instant.
Nova Engineering is an Italian full-service engineering company. It was meant to provide engineering solutions and consultancy support, no matter the customer’s sector or market.
The brand has been actively making a difference in automotive, by getting involved with the design and development of vehicles or otherwise car-related components – for road-legal or performance-oriented machines.
The 1991 Nova Engineering R91CK is a fine example of their excellence in engineering, a project for which the brand has received high praise.
So, we’ve shifted gears, explored the winding roads, and discovered ‘N’ car companies starting with the letter N – some familiar, others a revelation. But now we’re faced with a fascinating question: Which of these models will cruise into the future as a timeless classic or an invaluable design?
Speculate if you will, but here’s the real fuel for thought: each of these vehicles, no matter how grand or humble, has been a cog in the great machine of automotive history. Without them, our modern-day driving luxuries, comforts, and safety would be but a distant dream.
These aren’t just cars; they’re the milestones on a journey, the pitstops in a race, and the landmarks on a roadmap to innovation. Whether or not their names begin with N, they’re part of a legacy that has shaped our roads, our rides, and our lives.
- Nembo (Neri & Bonacini)
- NH Buchanan Motor Co
- Nationale Automobil-Gesellschaft (NAG)
- National Motor Vehicle Company
- NAZ Naxçıvan Avtomotive Plant
- Norsk Automobil & Vagnfabrik AS
- Nikola Motor
- Nanjing Automobile
- Nash Motors
- Nickey Chevrolet
- Norman E. Timbs
- Nova Engineering