Who owns what? Car brands and their parent companies

October, 2018

Did you know that The Coca-Cola Company owns Mount Franklin, or that Proctor & Gamble own Wella, Herbal Essences, Pantene and Head and Shoulders? Johnson & Johnson owns Band-Aid and Sudafed, as well as Tylenol, Nicorette, Regaine, Imodium and Listerine.

Everywhere you look, a seemingly autonomous company is owned by someone else…and it doesn’t just stop at beverages or consumer packaged goods. In reality, many car companies you may love are, in fact, owned by someone else. Curious if those Mitsubishi cars you bought are actually owned by Mitsubishi? Take a look at these car brands and see for yourself…

BMW’s double trouble

If you thought the Mini Cooper was originally a British symbol, Mini cars are owned and produced by the German luxury car company, BMW. BMW is also the parent company to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars – another British luxury car line that turns heads everywhere it goes – after an agreement with Volkswagen Group, who now have custody of Bentley.

The engine producer Rapp Motorenwerke turned into the Bayerische Motoren Werke back in 1917 and then merged with the aircraft company Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke in 1922. It started selling aircraft engine at first then expanded its production to motorcycles and cars later on.

The BMW Group has a simple structure and it owns:

  • BMW
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Mini
  • BMW Motorrad

Volkswagen Group

Speaking of the Volkswagen group, this German car giant is the owner of many well-known vehicle brands. Volkswagen currently holds a majority share in Audi, Scania and Porsche, and also wholly owns Skoda Auto, Lamborghini, and Ducati. Clearly, the Volkswagen Group chooses its car brands wisely – they boast ownership of some of the best and most recognised car brands in the world.

The brand wanted to have a car for the masses to help mobilise their population for the future. There were only a few of the models made before World War II broke out and the plant switched its production towards military vehicles.

After the war, the production of its iconic Beetle started to ramp up again and later on surpassed 21 million in total. The headquarters of Volkswagen can be found in Wolfsburg, Germany. The corporation controls these assets:

  • Volkswagen
  • Bentley
  • Audi
  • Bugatti
  • Porsche
  • SEAT
  • Lamborghini
  • Skoda
  • MAN
  • Scania
  • Ducati

Daimler AG

Founded in 1899, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft merged in 1926 with Benz & Cie to become what we now know as Daimler-Benz AG. The Mercedes brand, which was better known, dates all the way back to 1900. Daimler’s dealer, Emil Jellinek, used to race the company’s top models which he named Mercedes – which was also a reference to the name of his daughter. The success in competition eventually led to Mercedes being installed on the radiators of road cars from Daimler by 1902.

Daimler AG currently owns:

  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Fuso
  • Western Star
  • Smart
  • Freightliner
  • Bharat Benz
  • Setra
  • Thomas Built

General Motors Company

One of the world’s most well-known companies, General Motors owns a lion’s share of car brands. Their impressive portfolio of accumulations includes Holden Special Vehicles, Corvette, Peugeot, and Citroën. Who said Americans didn’t make fine cars?

General Motors was founded by William C Durant who was the owner of Buick at that time in 1908. Later on, it bought other automakers like Cadillac and Oldsmobile. The brand was once the owner of many popular cars in the USA before it went bankrupt in 2009 which closed known brands such as Saturn, Hummer, Pontiac and Oldsmobile. At this time, General Motors controls:

  • Buick
  • Cadillac
  • Aubobaoijun
  • Chevrolet
  • GMC
  • Holden
  • Opel
  • Jiefang
  • Wuling

Hyundai Motor Company

Starting as a construction firm in 1947, Hyundai quickly expanded and joined the auto business in 1967. They first started building a version of the Ford Cortina which was under license and revealed its own model the Pony back in 1976.

The year 1944 saw the rise of Kia which was a firm that specialised in making parts for bicycles. It officially entered the auto market by the year 1962 by creating the K-360, a small three-wheeled truck, which was under license. Although Kia went bankrupt in 1997, Hyundai took control of its reigns and merged the following year.

At this time, Hyundai Motor Company controls:

  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Genesis

Honda Motor Company

The Honda Motor Company was founded by both Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa in 1948 where they started selling motorcycles. Before that, the firm manufactured clip-on engines that were attached to bicycles. In 1963, the company officially entered the auto business with a small T360 truck and an S500 sports car a few months later.

The company’s headquarters can be found in Tokyo, Japan and the brand currently controls:

  • Honda
  • Acura
  • Honda Powersports

Fiat’s impressive line-up

As the largest manufacturer in Italy, there’s no denying that Fiat has a slew of amazing brands under its belt. With Chrysler, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Lancia among its subsidiaries, this Italian car company sure can be proud of its children.

In October 2014, Fiat from Italy and the American Chrysler completed their merger officially to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The process started way back in 2011 when Chrysler came out from bankruptcy with Fiat as its partial owner. Eventually, the Italian firm bought enough shares to gain ownership of the brand.

Although Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have their corporate headquarters in London, the majority of the work gets accomplished through the primary Chrysler office in Michigan, USA. FCA controls the following brands:

  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Ram
  • Fiat
  • Jeep
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Lancia
  • Maserati

Despite many companies merging or controlling other car brands in the auto business, there are also those that prefer to stay separate and autonomous.

The lone rangers

However, for every clique that exists in high school, there are also those who are singled out…and these brands are single – literally. Suzuki and Mazda essentially fly solo, and Mitsubishi is another singleton. The Mitsubishi Corporation does own Mitsubishi Bank and Nikon Corporation, however. Diverse.

Ownership of major auto dealerships can be broken down into the above categories.

If you are looking to buy a car today or simply want to research about a specific model before making a decision, contact us at John Hughes today!

What’s your favourite parent car company?