Car Brands: What Are You Actually Driving?

Many of the vehicles we drive today come from parent companies of the brand that is actually on our car. Here is a break-down of who-owns-who currently, keep in mind, this is an ever-changing list.

  • BMW, which stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, is part of a shareholder corporation which also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce. BMW also takes #14 on Forbes list of most valuable brands.
  • Fiat, or, Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, is an Italian brand which owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, and all the Chrysler brands including Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and SRT.
  • Ford owns Lincoln and a small stake in Mazda. The company used to own Jaguar and Land Rover but sold to the Indian company Tata Motors in 2008.
  • GM owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM is the brand from a few years ago that tried to argue any modifications you do to a vehicle are illegal and break the licensing agreement you signed at purchase. However, this argument is a discussion for another day.
  • Honda owns Acura. These brands are somewhat young compared to some of the other brands – which is interesting due to the fact that Honda is known for its affordability and its reliability, something that takes many brands a long time to achieve.
  • Hyundai partially owns Kia. The first vehicle ever produced by Hyundai was a project with Ford and was called the Cortina.
  • Mazda mostly owns itself, with that small stake from Ford as well.
  • Mercedes is owned by a company called Dalmer AG, who also owns Smart and did own Maybach before the brand was killed off.
  • Mitsubishi is independently owned under the Mitsubishi group umbrella in Japan.
  • Nissan owns Infiniti and the newly revived Datsun which has been reintroduced in Sri Lanka where it was originally first sold. They are also partnered with Renault.
  • Subaru is partly owned by Toyota, which explains the recent partnership to build the European-known Toyota GT86 or the American versions, the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ.
  • Tesla is partly owned by Toyota and has a partnership with Mercedes.
  • Toyota owns Lexus and the recently discontinued Scion, which Toyota will more than likely absorb and re-brand as their own.
  • Volkswagen owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche. VW also owns the worlds most expensive car – the Lamborghini Veneno that prices at just around $4 Million.
  • Volvo is owned by a company named Geely, and interesting enough, Volvo is the one who invented the seat belt almost 50 years ago.

It makes sense as to why so many different brands have such similar vehicles. Many, like Nissan and Infiniti, make essentially the same car, but one in a standard class and one in a luxury class. We will most likely continue to see car makers buy and sell other brands and continue to revolutionize the vehicles we know today.

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