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When we think of car manufacturing powerhouses, countries like Germany, Japan, and the United States often come to mind. However, there are a few hidden gems in the automotive industry that might surprise you. One of the best hidden gems is Ireland. Although not typically recognised as a major car manufacturing country, Ireland has a rich history of producing automobiles.

In this blog, we will explore the fascinating world of cars made in Ireland and the impact they have had on the automotive landscape.

The DeLorean DMC-12 in grey with its gullwing doors up.

DeLorean DMC-12

One of the most iconic vehicles to come from the Irish is the DeLorean DMC-12, made famous from the classic film Back to the Future (also featured in our blog Our Favourite Cars from Films). First manufactured in the 1980s by the Belfast-based company DeLorean Motor Company.  With its distinctive gull wing doors and stainless-steel body, it became a cultural icon despite its short run. It was only manufactured from 1980 to 1983, so can be hard to get your hands on the classic car, plus they now sell for double the original price!

A white Shamrock car parked by the side of a road with greenery in the background.


One of the rarest Irish exports was The Shamrock. Nicknamed the Irish T-Bird, the Shamrock was made as a sports convertible in the 1950s. Exported from Ireland to the US, the sports convertible was made with Americans in mind, but struggled to have the break it was intended to have. The Shamrock was bulit in Tralee in County Kerry originally, but soon moved to County Monaghan to a larger factory. Sadly, production came to a halt in 1959 as sales were too low in the US and the vehicle was too big for British roads. It is believed that just eight to ten cars were produced making the Shamrock a very rare car. Five are still in existence in Ireland and three are in America and you can usually see one of these in the St Patrick’s Day parade – the perfect place for a car that looks like a float.

A GINAF truck driving on an open road.

GINAF Trucks

Although not exclusively an Irish brand, GINAF Trucks has a manufacturing facility in Shannon, County Clare. Specializing in heavy-duty vehicles, GINAF produces robust trucks for various industries, including construction, mining, and agriculture. Known for their durability, GINAF trucks are built to withstand challenging terrains and demanding work environments. The company’s presence in Ireland has contributed to the local economy and provided employment opportunities in the automotive sector.

An assembly line in Ireland where the shell of a car is being worked on.

Assembly Plants in Ireland

There are a number of well-known car manufactures that employ Irish factories to assemble their new vehicles, past and present, including:

The Ford Factory, located in Cork assemble several different vehicles such as the Ford Escort, Cortina and Prefect. All of which have been a ubiquitous sight in Ireland since post-war.

Volkswagen’s licenced importer, Motor Distributors Ltd were assembling their cars in Ireland from 1950 right up until the 1990s. The first Volkswagen Beetle ever made outside of Germany was built in Ballsbridge in Dublin. It now proudly sits in the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg Germany!

In Newtownards, County Down, a number of different vehicles were assembled in their factories during the 1960s and 1980s, including the York Noble Bubble and Clan Crusader.

From bubble cars to 17-foot cruisers, from Buncrana Beetles to Volkswagen Beetles, Ireland certainly has an interesting and varied car manufacturing history.


Ireland may not be synonymous with car manufacturing, but its contributions to the automotive industry are certainly worth recognising. From the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 to the classic vehicles produced by Shamrock Cars, Ireland has showcased its innovation and craftsmanship since the 1950s. As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, Ireland’s dedication to producing quality cars highlights the country’s potential as an emerging player in the global automobile industry.

If you’re looking to own your own Irish-made vehicle, LM Operations can help make that dream a reality. Our experienced team takes a holistic approach to finance applications, believing individuals are more than just a credit score. This means that even if you have bad credit, we can still provide you with car finance. With competitive rates and an exceptional customer experience, you can be sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. Plus, when you apply with us, you’ll receive a full car finance quote within just 2 hours. So why wait? Apply for car finance with LM Operations today and take the first step towards owning the car of your dreams!

Representative Example

Borrowing €12,500 over 54 Months with a representative of 17.9% APR, an annual interest rate of 17.9% (fixed) and a deposit of €0.00, the amount payable would be 53 repayments of €327.52 per month, with one final repayment of €526.52 (which includes the option to purchase fee of €199.00), with a total cost of credit of €5,385.08 and a total amount payable of €17,885.08.

LM Operations Ltd are a lender, not a broker. This is for illustrative purposes only and is not a quote or an offer of finance.

Our finance rates vary depend on individual circumstances and is subject to status.