August 01, 2021

Ever thought about who owns your car brand?

Your favorite car company might be owned by a different car company and you don't even know it. Jeep? owned by Acura? Owned by, Chevy? owned by oh come on! So the question is who owns whom.

which company owns which car brand

Almost every car company nowadays is owned by a mega-corporation. Honestly, only 15 corporations around the world own most of the cars manufactured today. We see only a few independent car manufacturers and that can be both good and bad. 

    General Motors

    Let's start with one of the biggest companies out there General Motors. Presently they rake in more than $145 billion annually. 

    Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Buick | Chevrolet | SAIC

    But it wasn't so easy for General Motors (GM) until it started as a holding company which in its simplest form is a company that buys other companies. Their first acquirement was Buick back in 1907. Later they acquired Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, which was later formed as GMC. 

    In 1918 they also acquired Chevrolet the brand that would grow to become one of GMC’s biggest income producers. It's not just American Brand though. GM also owns Chinese manufacturers like Wuling, Baojun, and Jiefang. Just a disclaimer: there will be a lot more Chinese names and I'm probably going to break those too. Other car companies within the GM family include Holden, Saab, Opal, and Daewoo. Of those manufacturing, cars are only Holden and Opel.


    Opel, Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall | premium mark DS

    And note that Opal is no longer owned by GM but why another group called PSA. The PSA group is a French multinational corporation that also owns Opel, Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, and the premium mark DS. They once owned Chrysler Europe, which they bought in 1978 for Dollar 1. PSA makes upward of 75 billion dollars annually, making it the largest French automobile manufacturer. 


    Brands acquired by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi

    But right below them is Renault. Renault does 58 billion annually, but they are part of a bigger group named the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Although they are not technically a Merger they kind of operate as one. Renault has a 43% stake in Nissan, Nissan has a 15% stake in Renault, and a 34% stake in Mitsubishi. This umbrella group is the parent company of Infiniti, Datsun, Dacia, ArtoVAZ, Alpina, and the defunct brand Lada. All in all the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance brings in $190 billion in annual sales making them the number 3 top auto manufacturing group in the world. So what does this all mean for the customer?

    Why is it possible to buy a car for cheap?

    Well, big car companies make it possible to buy a car for cheap right now you can buy a Nissan Versa for the other $ 13000 brand new. But it probably costs Nissan hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the thing. A car company that just starting to get off the ground can’t afford to sell a car that costs them hundreds of millions of dollars for that cheap. But Nissan can. The profit margin of economy cars is razor-thin but Nissan sells millions of verses to make it up for it. 

    It’s also easier to mass-produce parts that can be installed in many different models versus developing a car from the ground up. You probably heard of a car company going to their parts bin right? One downside of this is that cars can all start looking the same or at least feeling the same using Nissan as an example the GTR $200,000 Supercar might share parts with economically cheaper cars in their lineup. 

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

    Jeep, Eagle, and Plymouth and Ram | Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia and Ferrari

    Chrysler merged with Italian car manufacturer Fiat back in 2014 to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA. The Merger had been underway since Chrysler announced bankruptcy in April 2009 but it wasn't finalized until 5 years later. This group is responsible for $111 billion in sales per year and it is made up of many smaller subsidiaries. Chrysler owns Jeep, Dodge, and Ram but they are also the parent company of other defunct brands such as AMC, Eagle, and Plymouth. Fiat owns Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Lancia and has a 90% stake in Ferrari.

    Daimler Benz

    The name Daimler has been around since 1880 but it wasn't until 1926 that they consolidated with Benz to become Daimler Benz and started generating the Mercedes Marks. As a conglomerate, they are responsible for over $188 billion in annual sales all across the world. These numbers are getting so big that they are losing meaning. They own Mercedes-Benz and the now-defunct Maybach along with Chinese companies Denza and BAIC. Although they are often in the same category, BMW makes around $75 million less than Mercedes coming in just at under 113 billion dollars a year. That's great by BMW! Bayerische Motoren Werke owns Mini as well as Rolls Royce and I'm pretty sure I butchered that name too. 


    Toyota is another company that got its hands in a bunch of different cookie jars they took in almost 261 billion dollars last year with its brand Lexus, Hino Motors, Daihatsu, three more Chinese companies as well as the defunct Scion brand. They also own of 5.9 % stake in Suzu and 16.6% in Subaru and that's how you get a nearly identical car like the Toyota 86, the Subaru BRZ, and the Scion FR-S  they share a lot of the same parts and are essentially the same cars surprisingly Toyota has largest Japanese competition Honda makes about half as much as they do at 139 billion dollars with Acura being the only other car badge they own. South Korea-based Hyundai owns Kia and Genesis and pulls in almost 86 billion dollars a year. 

    TATA Group

    The TATA Group based out of Mumbai India pulls in a cool hundred billion dollars in sales through the brand Jaguar Land Rover and of course Tata. The only Chinese group that makes this list is Geely, the group has been around since 1986 and really only entered the automobile market in 1997 making them one of the brand's new and most blooming car manufacturers to date. This group is on Chinese brands Geely and Lynk as well as Lotus, Volvo, and Proton. They bring in about $15 billion a year in sales. 

    The only two independent Brands

    Suzuki and Tesla 

    The only two brands on this list that are independent are Suzuki based out of Japan and relative newcomer Tesla. They do about $34 billion and $12 billion in sales respectively. Suzuki has been around for over a hundred years and its profits rely heavily on its motorcycles and ATV sales. Tesla has only been around since 2003, so how are they able to roll with the big boy's Tesla business strategy?

    The Business Theory of Tesla

    Tesla was to sell their high-end electric cars to a more affluent crowd at first. More expensive vehicles have a much higher profit margin so fewer sales are needed to make the money back. Then, when they become more financially stable, they could release models that were more affordable to embroider the consumer base. So the sales of higher models bankrolled the RND for the People's car the model 3. Basically, it was the opposite business model for Volkswagen which happens to be the number one highest-producing conglomerate in the entire automotive industry.

    Volkswagen Group

    Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Bentley, Bugatti, Seat and Skoda | Lamborghini

    The Volkswagen group is made up of Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Bentley, Bugatti, Seat, Skoda,  Lamborghini, and other small subsidiaries. They raked in over $278 billion in 2018 and employ over 6,30,000 people in 153 countries worldwide. they produced 10,083,000 vehicles last year. 

    Sure your favorite brand might be owned by some bigger most likely dull brand but don't let that discourage you. Because without their helping hand, your favorite rides might not be around you at all.

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