Europe is known for many things, and a vibrant automotive industry is just one of its most important international assets.
Of course, you can argue about which country or continent produces the best cars until the cows come home, but there are some cold, hard facts about European vehicles in particular that give them the edge.
Fuel efficiency is higher on the agenda
While American-made cars may be bigger, bolder and often more cost-effective up front, in the long run it is the improved fuel efficiency offered by European manufacturers that will save you more money.
Part of the reason for this is pure practicality; it is costlier to fill up at gas stations across the Atlantic, which means cars need to squeeze as many miles from a tank of fuel as possible.
Engineering is exceptional
Europe’s car industry is home to some prestigious brands from an engineering perspective, and in particular it is German automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz which deserve to be singled out.
Again there is a cause for this, rooted in the desire not to deliver the cheapest possible product to consumers by making some compromises on quality, but rather to achieve engineering excellence even if this results in a higher sticker price.
Likewise this means that European imports can be more reliable and hard-wearing than their domestic counterparts, even if it is manufacturers from places like South Korea and Japan that lead the world in automotive reliability.
Depreciation is gentler
Most cars need to be seen as a loss-making asset, but one way you can justify a purchase is to pick a vehicle that is not going to shed its value as quickly as some of its competitors.
European brands have the benefit of being more prestigious and sought-after, which in turn means that they can maintain their value for longer.
You will of course need to keep up with the manufacturer-mandated maintenance schedule and treat the car with care to ensure that it does not depreciate at a speedy rate; this is unavoidable whichever brand you choose to buy.
Tech features are at the bleeding edge
In-car entertainment solutions have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years the world over, yet not all infotainment solutions are created equally, and there are many more bells and whistles found in top-end European vehicles than in equivalent models from US brands.
It is not just about being first to market with these features, but about making sure that the tech actually works well as and when it is implemented, and this is also something that they do better across the pond.
Design cues are eye-catching and timeless
If there is one word that seems to define American car design over the decades, ‘rugged’ is probably up there, vying for position against ‘boxy’ and ‘boat-like’.
European cars, however, are generally put together in a way that speaks to the elegance, refinement and history of the continent as a whole.
This has the added benefit of meaning that they can look good for years after they launch, rather than seeming dated quite quickly.
Brand recognition is unquestionable
All of these aforementioned factors come together to mean that most people recognize that European auto brands are just that little bit more prestigious than their global counterparts.
While this is not necessarily something that a lot of people care about, it is certainly an aspect that helps to sell these vehicles overseas, with many buyers in the US and elsewhere eager to get a taste of the credibility and curb appeal for themselves.