The East German car market was unique and totally different from West Germany. The most popular model by far and one of the most famous cars in the world, reaching iconic status after the Berlin Wall Fall in 1989, the Trabant dominated the East German car landscape during the period.
The original model, the P50, introduced in 1957, was replaced by the 601 in 1963 and this model stayed practically unchanged up to its production end in 1991. In total, over 3.7 million Trabants were produced between 1958 and 1991.
Since it could take years for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered, people who finally got one were very careful with it and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing it, and as a result the lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years. Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately… More on the Trabant here.
In 2007, Bavarian miniature vehicles manufacturer Herpa announced the project of introducing the Trabant nT, a new, all-electric version of the model. Production was planned to start in 2012 but has been put on hold since. More about this here.
Another symbol of the East German car industry is the Wartburg, with the 353 produced between 1966 and 1985, then replaced by the 1.3 from 1985 to 1991.