May 20, 2024

Who Owns Car Companies?

Lee Iacocca, the famed American auto industry executive responsible for the Mustang, once predicted that by the beginning of the 21st century, there would only be a few major players in the global automotive market. He was right.

Lee Iacocca, the famed American auto industry executive responsible for the Mustang, once predicted that by the beginning of the 21st century, there would only be a few major players in the global automotive market. He was right.

Today, the majority of all car brands are not independent entities, but are part of large car parent companies that produce about 90% of all cars. These conglomerates own multiple brands, making it tough to keep track of who owns car companies.

1. Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen Group holds the title for owning the most different car brands. VW Group expanded its global reach of car company ownership with a diverse portfolio of acquisitions including Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini. Acquisitions of SEAT and Škoda strengthened their foothold in Europe.

2. Stellantis

Stellantis was formed as a result of the multinational merger of major car brands Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA in 2021. This union brought FCA brands like Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Chrysler, and Alfa Romeo, with PSA Group's Peugeot, Opel, and Citroën, creating a powerhouse with a diverse portfolio and global reach.

3. Toyota Motor Corporation

As a leader in hybrid technology, Toyota has become a major player in the automotive industry since its founding in. Lexus was established as their luxury brand in 1989 and their sporty brand, Scion, debuted in 2003. Toyota purchased a majority stake of Daihatsu in 1998, then took full ownership in 2016. Toyota Motor Corp also owns a minority stake in independent car companies Subaru, Suzuki, and Mazda.

4. Ford Motor Company

Established by Henry Ford in 1903, Ford Motor Company revolutionized mass production with the assembly line, making cars more accessible to the masses. Ford diversified its portfolio to include Lincoln in 1922, five years after its founding. The off-road brand Troller, was acquired by Ford in 2007 and Mercury branded vehicles were discontinued in 2011.

5. General Motors

As one of the largest car makers globally, GM boasts an impressive lineup of auto brands. General Motors was founded in 1908, and Chevrolet was established as its flagship brand in 1911. Buick and Cadillac became part of General Motors parent company in the early 1900's as luxury brands. General Motors also produces GMC trucks.

6. BMW Group

Bavarian Motor Works was founded in 1916 and produces a wide range of vehicles, from luxury cars to SUVs. The BMW car family tree also includes the British car Mini, which it acquired in 1994, and the ultra luxury brand Rolls-Royce, acquired in 2003.

7. Mercedes-Benz Group

Mercedes-Benz and Daimler AG work hand in hand to produce vehicles, though the name was updated in 2022 to modernize its brand. Founded in 1883, Mercedes-Benz is the world's oldest car manufacturer. Their car brand family tree includes the ultra-luxury Maybach and sub-compact Smart car brands. Aston Martin was brought into the brand tree after acquiring 20% ownership in 2020.

8. Honda Motor Co

Honda Motor Co., Ltd has established itself as a world leader in producing durable and efficient vehicles after getting its start with bicycles in 1948. Honda became the first Japanese car manufacturer to produce vehicles in the United States in 1982, securing a foothold in the western market. It began producing its luxury branded Acura car models in 1986.

9. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance

The alliance was founded in 1999, then ratified with a new framework in 2020. The French brand Renault was founded in 1899 and has a controlling stake in Nissan. Nissan was founded in 1933 but has been controlled by Renault since 1999. In turn, Nissan owns controlling stake in Mitsubishi motors as of 2016. The luxury brand Infiniti also falls under this manufacturer umbrella.

10. Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group's portfolio includes a wide range of vehicles from small cars to luxury models and sport utility vehicles. In recent years, they have expanded globally, establishing manufacturing facilities in various countries. Their family of brands also includes Kia and Genesis.

11. Tata Motors

Tata Motors, originating in India, has transformed from manufacturing locomotives in 1945 to becoming a player in the automotive industry. It houses the iconic Jaguar and Land Rover brands under its umbrella, as well as Daewoo's truck manufacturing unit in South Korea.

12. Geely Automobile Holdings

The Chinese car manufacturer, Geely, began producing cars in 2002 and has been growing its global stake ever since. Volvo was their first major acquisition in 2010, introducing them to Western markets. They established their dedicated EV manufacturer for electric models with Polestar in 2015, and entered the luxury sports car market after purchasing Lotus in 2017.

Car manufacturers have established complex networks of ownership and partnerships to strengthen their position in the competitive market. From well-established giants to emerging players, who owns which car brands may change, but car makers will keep producing your favorite cars.


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