I bet you didnt know that Volkswagen Group has actually owned 100% of Porsche since 2012, that Tata Motors, an Indian company, owns the reliably unreliable Land Rover, or that McLaren owns… well, McLaren!
Who owns the world’s most popular car brands here in the USA is about as clear as mud, like the kind you can slide through in your Rolls-Royce (which is owned by BMW). Wait… that’s got to be a mistake… there’s no way BMW owns the British icon Rolls-Royce! Are you kidding me? Well, guess what, it’s the truth.
I’m going to dig into the 12 automaker parent companies and which brands are under their care. This is going to be a fun one. And by the end of this article, you might be surprised who actually made your car!
BMW Group owns BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce
First on the list is BMW Group and their ownership structure is about as straight forward as it gets! First off, they own BMW, who makes this BMW Z4 M40i, a playful roadster that’s almost mechanically identical to the 2020 Supra. It’s basically the Supra’s brother from another mother.
And we can’t forget they also own another British legend: Rolls-Royce, who makes the beautiful $450,000 Phantom. Jeez, is anything British made in Britain anymore?
Daimler AG owns Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes AMG, Mercedes-Maybach
One of the oldest car conglomerates in the world, Diamler AG, dates back all the way to 1926, which was before even Bernie Sanders was even born! And they have a slightly more complicated ownership structure than BMW. First, this premium auto corporation owns German motor giant Mercedes-Benz, who make the big baller G550, the SUV to that ups your social clout from 0 to 100 real quick.
Oh, and if that’s not rich enough for your blood, then Diamler AG has something for you. They also own Mercedes-Maybach, who make a limo fit for Darth Vader, the S650 sedan, which is extravagant enough for the Chosen One.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram
In 2014, Fiat and Chrysler tied the knot and created Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA for short, and they hold quite a few brands under their umbrella. Fiat Chrysler owns Alfa Romeo, the quirky italian brand that makes the impossible-to-pronounce Guila Quadrifoglio, a shapely 4-door sedan with enough Italian seasoning to make it as delicious to drive as it is to look at.
And to sum up the Italian trifecta, the group controls Maserati, who make the Levante, a $75,000 Italian SUV. I assume the four people who bought them, love them? I don’t know…
And on this side of the Atlantic, the Fiat Chrysler Automobile group is in control of Dodge, who make Dodgey things like the $71,000 SRT Hellcat Widebody with 707 horsepower, a tire shredding 4-door kitty with a hell of a growl!
They also own Ram Trucks. That’s right, your All-American 3500 Heavy Duty pickup with 1,000 foot-pounds of torque is made in part by Italians. Incredible!
Did you know that Fiat Chrysler also owns America’s favorite war-machine-turned-mall-crawler brand Jeep? They just released the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Diesel for about $50,000, which is an ideal deal if you need to reach the top of a mountain and you want to use the vegetable oil you cooked your french fries in as fuel.
Ford Motor Company owns Ford and Lincoln
FoMoCo, or “Fix Or Repair Daily“, or just Ford Motor Company used to have a bunch of different automakers in their back pocket, like Aston Martin, Mazda, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. But nowadays Ford is going with a much more minimalist lifestyle. Focusing on their namesake: Ford, and their pride and joy, the Shelby GT500, which is packed with supercar performance and a little pony car price tag of under $80,000.
FoMoCo also owns Lincoln, with the full size Lincoln Continental, a big body luxury sedan with throwback styling, oozing with comfort and power making it a magic bullet fit for a president.
General Motors owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC
The largest american automobile manufacturer in the world is General Motors. They’re massive! GM was founded by William C. Durant in 1908, back when Buick existed. What? Really? I guess Buick does still exist! Grandpa Larry is going to be so thrilled to hear that! He’d probably love the 310-horsepower Buick Regal Sportback GS, an often-overlooked sleeper that’ll get you from the golf course to the early bird special and home for bed by 6.
And for those of us younger than Grandpa Larry, GM’s luxury brand, Cadillac sells the 550-horsepower CT-6 V Blackwing, a hard-edged luxury monster with a twin turbo V8. Enough said.
And lastly, GM’s obviously owns its namesake: GMC, makers of the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel Canyon Denali, a solid truck that can roll coal.
Honda Motor Company owns Acura and Honda
Well, believe it or not, the little Japanese car company that could, Honda, actually started by selling clip-on engines that you attached to your bicycle way back in the 1940’s. And they carried that Honda reliability over to cars starting in 1963, and the rest is history. Now, they have 2 brands. The first is Honda with the wicked hatchback, front-wheel drive Civic Type R, a daily drivable track star with a ton of racing history.
Hyundai Motor Group owns Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia
How does that Super Bowl commercial go? Oh right, “Hyundai like Sunday“. The Hyundai Motor Group only owns a couple of automotive brands, but is one of the largest vehicle manufacturer’s in the world. They of course are responsible for Hyundai with the futuristic-looking Hyundai Veloster N. Inspired by their efforts in the World Rally Championship and Touring Car efforts, this 275-horsepower hatchback comes in at under $30,000! It puts the “fun” in “funky”!
Hyundai Motor Group also owns the Hyundai-off-shoot brand Genesis, which has some interesting options in the mid-size luxury car space, like their G80, which is a strong value but not top tier.
And interestingly enough, Hyundai Motor Group also owns Kia! It’s a strange relationship. They’re technically owned by the same company, but they stay separate and compete with each other. And the competition is fierce with the Kia Soul EV, a quirky, adorable electric car made for hamsters.
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance owns Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi
Not technically one company, but a strategic partnership, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was formed in 1999 and sells one in every nine cars in the world! And if you ask me, the star in that alliance is definitely Nissan, makers of the Nissan GT-R, or better known as “Godzilla”. Nissan, give this old dinosaur an update already!
Renault-Infiniti-Mitsubishi Alliance also owns Nissan’s luxury off-shoot Infiniti, which has the Q60 performance coupe, which is more luxurious than it deserves to be!
The European part of this trifecta is Renault (re-now), which was established 120 years ago and continues to have a storied history to this day. They make some pretty interesting cars that I wish we got stateside, like the Renault Megane Trophy R which crushes a lap on the Nurburgring in under 8 minutes!
Tata Motors owns Jaguar and Land Rover
Tata Motors is the funny-sounding Indian auto company that you may have never heard of. They own a ton of brands worldwide, and yet again proving that nothing British is actually British, they are the makers of both Jaguar and Land Rover! Crikey! Indian or British, the 550-horsepower Jaguar F-Type R is a fun, fast, loud cat on wheels.
And we also have Tata motors to thank for the $90,000 Land Rover Range Rover, which combines beauty and brawn into one menacing beast that’ll probably break down as you leave the dealership.
Toyota Motor Corporation
Now, Toyota Motor Corporation is our shortest honorable mention, because they own Toyota And Lexus. Let’s go! That’s it. Next section.
Volkswagen Group owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Volkswagen
Volkswagen was a little-known automaker that started off building”The People’s Car“, a cheap, rear-engined people-hauler known as the VW Beetle. And thanks to the Bug, VW Group has grown into something spectacular. First, they now own Audi, who pound-for-pound creates one of the best supercars: the R8. It’s a real, daily-drivable supercar and the choice of Tony Starks everywhere!
Volkswagen Group also owns Bentley, makers of the gigantic Bentley Continental GT, which actually uses a Porsche Panamera platform. That’s the benefit of these huge auto megacorps: shared tech!
Bugatti is the brand with the most: the most horsepower, the most turbos, and the most money required to buy. Put it all together, and you have a V8 quad-turbo coupe with 1,500-horsepower that’ll take you up to 304 miles per hour. Holy heck! Time to start saving, boys, we need about $3 million ASAP.
But Bugatti isn’t the only supercar brand powered by Volkswagen, the Italian raging bulls at Lamborghini are made possible by zee Germans too. Want a rodeo on wheels? Hop in the Huracan Performante and have your face torn off by a V10 taking you to 60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds.
Near and dear to my heart, Volkswagen Group also owns Porsche. But also Porsche owns the majority share of Volkswagen Group… so who owns who? Who cares as long as they keep putting out cars like the Porsche GT2RS, the most powerful 911 ever made?
And last but not least, Volkswagen Group owns themselves: Volkswagen. They’re still making “The People’s Car” with the cheap and versatile GTI, a practical commuter with sports car pedigree.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group owns Lotus, Polestar, and Volvo
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, also known as Geely, is relatively new to the game, being founded in 1986 as a refrigerator company… But this Chinese coalition has been able to make a dent in the automotive world rather quickly with some strategic acquisitions! Recently, in 2017, Geely acquired Lotus. Starting to see a theme here? Yet another Brit icon owned by an outside company. Lotus is still going strong with the Evora GT, a mid-engine supercharged sports car built for the track and unleashed on the streets.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group also purchased Volvo from Ford back in 2010, and today make the $50,000 XC90, a stylish, luxurious SUV packed with cutting edge tech and features.
Need a faster Volvo? Geely also runs Polestar, the performance off-shoot of Volvo. They’re coming out with the Polestar 1, a highly capable plug-in ready for action.
Alright, that’s a long list! But what about the hold outs, the independents, the brave few who refuse to take on a sugar daddy?
Ferrari stands on it’s own as an Italian hyper-luxury sports car manufacturer that always pushes the envelope.
James Bond’s favorite mark Aston Martin is still undeniably British independent brand.
Japan’s maker of the most popular all-terrain capable cars, Subaru, has stayed independent for its entire 66 year history.
Mazda, maker of our favorite little fighter, the Miata, is still free of corporate overlords to this day, even after flirting with Ford for a few years.
Tesla, a tech company building cars. Or is it a car company building tech? Either way, Tesla is electrifying the future of automobiles, all while remaining independent.
McLaren Group, whose business plan is to release a car or model every single year, and every year they keep getting better. So, keep them coming, McLaren! They are also not owned by any larger corporation.