If you’re one of those people who profess to only buying Japanese, think again if you drive a Nissan because your car is French!
The landscape of modern-day motor vehicle manufacturing has changed substantially over the last few years with many manufacturer marques becoming just brand names for the big conglomerates.
For example did you know that General Motors owns outright, among others, the following manufacturers? Vauxhall, Opel, Holden and Chevrolet and they also have a joint venture with Lada; own 3% of
Suzuki and 10% of Fiat and recently wound down the Saturn brand and off-loaded Saab.
Peugeot and Citroen are one and the same.
Toyota owns Daihatsu, Isuzu and Lexus and shares its diesel engine technology with BMW’s Mini.
Volkswagen owns (wait for it) Audi, Lamborghini, Seat, Bentley, Skoda and Bugatti and has joint ventures running with Proton (who owns over half of Lotus) and Shanghai Automotive. They’re developing a mini-van with Chrysler, and (nearly forgot) Porsche (who in turn shares engine technology with Toyota) owns just under a third of Volkswagen.
BMW owns Rolls Royce, as well as the Mini (mentioned above), and is co-developing a hybrid vehicle with Chrysler and General Motors.
Fiat owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia and Maserati and joint-own Nanjing-Fiat with Nanjing Automobile Corporation (who in turn owns MG, Rover and Soyat).
Renault owns Nissan and Infiniti and 20% of Volvo Trucks.
Then there is Ford, which owns Lincoln, Mercury, and Volvo and sold Jaguar Land-Rover to Indian manufacturer Tata Motors. They also own a third of Mazda and retain an 8% interest in Aston Martin. Ford also has a diesel engine joint venture with Citroen\Peugeot.
Chrysler owns 19.9% of Daimler, which owns Mercedes Benz, Smart and Maybach.
Kia and Hyundai are one and the same and finally, Honda owns, well, just Honda and Acura.
The biggest car conglomerates are General Motor and Volkswagen and the trend for conglomeration seems to be continuing.
So as you can see, the picture is far from clear and is set to get even more confusing over the coming years until, perhaps, there is just one car maker left (Hyper-Global-General Automotive?).
At least we’ll know who makes our car then!