Famous Rivalries in the Car World

Online Loans

January 5, 2021

The car world isn’t alone when it comes to rivalries.

Test cricket has ‘The Ashes’ and EPL Soccer has Liverpool vs Manchester United.

But it doesn’t stop there:

  • iOS vs Android
  • Pepsi vs Coca Cola
  • PlayStation vs Xbox
  • Airbus vs Boeing
  • McDonald’s vs Hungry Jack’s (Burger King)

It’s a long list.

The automotive industry is definitely NOT without its fair share of rivalries too. Manufacturers put a twist on car deals to compete for innovations, speed records, popularity and ultimately, car sales.

Here are some standouts:

Ford vs Holden

This Aussie rivalry goes back decades to when Holden first started producing cars in the late 1940s. Although the last Holden rolled off the production line in 2017 and the rivalry has become a thing of the past – like Aussie-made cars, it was once extremely fierce.

Holden vs Ford

 Did you know that an Aussie hypercar is now being produced in Australia?

In the late 1950s, Ford began producing the Falcon in Victoria. Making it locally, as Holden did its Commodore, cut import taxes and allowed the two vehicles to be marketed at the same price point. This made car sales for the two Aussie favourites a close game of chess as they competed every step of the way.

VB Commodore

(Holden’s first Commodore, the VB. Source: wikipedia.org)

The battle between blue and red was most famous on the race track with fans often appearing similarly dressed to crowds at an AFL Grand Final. As most car dealers would say when Falcons and Commodores were manufactured in Australia: “A win on Sunday means car sales on Monday”.

Ferrari vs Lamborghini

One of the most infamous rivalries in the entire car world – the one between the two Italian supercar makers. Car sales are close, especially in recent years, with Ferrari edging ahead.


The legend of the rivalry dates back to the early 1960s when Lambo founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini operated a farm machinery business. The car enthusiast purchased a Ferrari thinking it would live up to its reputation of being a supreme supercar.

Lamborghini, a skilled mechanic was less than impressed with his car and informed Ferrari engineers of everything he believed was wrong, they were not amused and accused Ferruccio Lamborghini of not knowing anything about performance cars. The rivalry was born.


In 1963, Ferruccio Lamborghini set up his own supercar company aiming to outdo Ferrari at their own game. The rivalry hasn’t softened with the two brands competing with each other for every car sale and statistic on and off the race track.

Porsche 911 Turbo vs Nissan GT-R

Back in the mid-2000s, when Nissan benchmarked their new GT-R on the Porsche 911 Turbo and beat it around the Nürburgring track in Porsche’s home country, Germany, a rivalry was inevitable.

Nissan GTR

Upon hearing that the new Nissan recorded a faster time around the famous track in Germany, Porsche accused Nissan of using race tyres or other performance enhancements – this, of course, stirred the pot further. Porsche then acquired a GT-R and tried to match Nissan’s own Nürburgring time – they couldn’t. This, they said, showed that Nissan had not been honest on the track. Nissan’s response: Porsche engineers can’t drive.

Nissan managed to gain a huge fan base for its GT-R with positive reviews from the media who weren’t shy to agree it was cheaper and faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo.

Porsche 911

Recent 911 models may have risen above the GT-R, which is now showing its age, however, the rivalry is still strong. Will Nissan’s next version of the GT-R be able to once again beat the latest 911 and gain popularity in car sales? It’s due in 2023.

F1: Senna vs Prost

F1 superstars, Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna and French driver Alain Prost, shared one of motor racing’s most infamous rivalries. The two were actually teammates driving for McLaren. The rivalry was at its most intense during the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Senna and Prost not only competed for the best car and fastest driver on the track – but also pretty much everything else.

Senna and Prost

(Senna (yellow helmet) and Prost in their McLaren F1 cars)

Lasting around a decade, the rivalry between the two F1 titans included wins, fastest lap times, pole positions and driver points.

Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost

(Ayrton Senna on the left and Alain Prost on the right)

The rivalry came to a boiling point in the Japanese Grand Prix in 1989 when Senna performed a dangerous overtaking tactic causing both him and Prost to crash out. Senna was disqualified, knocking himself off the podium.

Tesla vs Fisker

Tesla sometimes seems to be in a class of its own – even being dubbed the ‘iPhone of electric cars’.

But, did you know that in its early days of the electric car world, Tesla once had a fierce rivalry with Fisker Automotive? The now-defunct electric car company produced luxury electric and hybrid vehicles in 2011 and 2012 with models aiming to capture the same buyers as Tesla. Who could produce the best electric car and make the most car sales? Tesla claimed victory as Fisker went bankrupt in 2013 after its EV battery supplier suffered the same fate.

Fisker Karma

(The Fisker Karma, source: driving.ca)

Prior to its demise, Tesla attempted to file a lawsuit against Fisker for allegedly stealing Tesla’s Model S hybrid technology. Fisker won the lawsuit further provoking the rivalry.

Tesla Model S 2012

(2012 Tesla Model S)

Car World Rivalry Recap

When companies create rivalries, it’s absolutely not a bad thing. Prices often remain low as they strive for car sales and customers looking for the best deals. Technology, design, unique innovations and overall quality improve too as they compete for positive reviews.

Apply now to get started on your next car. Find out repayment options and a budget in a few minutes.

More information about the car world.


Sign Up to the OnlineLoans.com.au Newsletter

Get offers, contests and promos delivered straight to you inbox