Who owns what in the auto industry?

A graphic illustrating which company owns which other car company. Some like Mistubishi and Isuzu are independent. However, Daimler AG owns Mitsubishi’s trucks and bus division. In terms of numbers, Volkswagen Group leads with 10 automobile companies. GRAPHIC BY MUSTAFA ZIRABA

What you need to know:

The automobile industry is a multi-billion dollar affair with many major companies posting profits as well as losses. Although we like our cars, we may not know who the actual owners of the businesses are. Knowing helps you learn how “healthy” the parent company is. Some companies such as the Volkswagen Group have several other car companies under them. Mustafa Ziraba looks at the major companies’ earnings and history.

The auto industry has an amazingly interesting and quite surprising and at times confusing family tree. The past few years have seen conglomerates, sales, partings, bankruptcies, and entire departments closed, making it difficult to keep up with who owns which car brands. Everyone is trying to meet shareholder demands and become more profitable while being maximally efficient. As a result, we have seen once hugely popular brands such as Hummer fade away into the history books.
We have seen others, such as Chrysler, Jaguar, and Volvo, find new international corporate parents. And some, such as Aston Martin are owned by a consortium of investors, including Ford with a minority interest.

BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) was founded in Germany in 1916 as an aircraft engine company, then they did motorcycles, and eventually cars. BMW has come a long way and currently owns BMW obviously, Mini, and Rolls-Royce. According to Forbes, BMW is number 11 on the Forbes’ world’s most valuable brands and made $6.59b (about Shs16.8t) profit last fiscal year.

Daimler AG
Daimler AG was founded in 1998. The original Daimler Benz was founded in Germany in 1926. Daimler owns Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and the Smart car series. Daimler recently did bench the Maybach attempt at beating Rolls Royce and Bentley due to poor sales and promised a special top tier Mercedes Benz S-Class that shall have all the Maybach amenities.
According to Forbes, Daimler made $8.04b (about Shs20.4t) profit last fiscal year. Mercedes Benz is number 16 on the world’s most valuable brands.

Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino aka FIAT is an Italian company that was essentially founded as a car company. It now owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, and all the Chrysler brands, including Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and SRT.
According to Forbes FIAT Group made $1.73b (about Shs4.4t) last fiscal year.

Ford motor company
Ford is the company that famously modernised the use of the assembly line for cars. The Model T is widely considered the first massively available car.
Ford owns Lincoln and has some stake in Mazda which has been reducing over the years. According to Forbes, Ford made $5.66b (about Shs14.4t) profit with sales last fiscal year. Ford is number 44 on the world’s most valuable brands.

General Motors
General Motors, an American company, owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. It also owns large percentages of Opel. According to Forbes, General Motors made $6.19b (about Shs15.7t) profit last fiscal year.

Honda is a Japanese motor company. It is younger than a lot of the other automakers on this list, having been founded in 1948. Honda’s name comes from Soichiro Honda, one of the company founders.
Honda owns Acura and Honda, of course. According to Forbes, Honda made $2.55b (about Shs6.4t) profit last fiscal year. Honda is number 20 on the Forbes’ world’s most valuable brands.

Hyundai is a car company that is less than 50 years old with a story similar to Samsung. Hyundai partly owns Kia, one of its leading competitors in the home market of South Korea.
In the past few years, Hyundai has made huge strides in getting a foothold in the already crowded car market with competitively priced reliable cars with radical designs.
According to Forbes, Hyundai made $7.6b (about Shs19.3t) profit last fiscal year. Hyundai is number 81 on the Forbes’ world’s most valuable brands.

Mazda from Japan was founded in 1920. The name of the company comes from Ahura Mazda, an old Iranian god. Mazda owns itself, essentially.
Ford has a small stake in the company though. According to Forbes, Mazda made a loss of $1.3b (about Shs3.3t) last fiscal year.

Mitsubishi is independently owned under the Mitsubishi Group umbrella. The Mitsubishi “Keiretsu”, as Mitsu calls it, is a group of companies that work together. The Mitsubishi Corporation is Japan’s largest “general trading company.”
This motor company started in 1970, after breaking off of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries department. According to Forbes, Mitsubishi Motors made $289m (about Shs736b) profit last fiscal year.

Nissan from Japan was founded in 1933, and is owned by Renault a French car manufacturer. Nissan has a luxury marquee called Infiniti. According to Forbes, Nissan made $4.12b (about Shs10.4t) profit last fiscal year. Nissan is number 78 on the Forbes’ world’s most valuable brands.

It is no secret that Subaru from Japan makes some of the best rally cars in the world. The company started making cars in the 1950s, as a side gig of Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI). Toyota is currently a part-owner in this company.

Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover, which means they are insanely classy. Enough said. According to Forbes, Tata Motors made $2.66b (about Shs6.76t) profit last fiscal year.

Toyota motor corporation
Toyota from Japan is one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world if not the biggest. It owns Daihatsu, Lexus, Scion, and Hino Motors.
According to Forbes, Toyota made $3.43b (about Shs8.72t) profit last fiscal year. Toyota and Lexus are number 14 and 73 respectively on the Forbes’ world’s most valuable brands.

Volkswagen Group
Volkswagen was started in 1937, by the Nazi Trade Union “German Labour Front,” with the idea of making a car more affordable for Germans than what was currently available. VW owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda, MAN Trucks, Scania, and Porsche.
Also as a small interest in Suzuki It is perfectly okay to say that VW makes some really expensive cars these days but also some cheap ones still. Oh it also sells the most expensive car in the world, the Lamborghini Veneno, for $4m (about Shs10.1b) each.
According to Forbes, Volkswagen Group made $28.6b (aboutShs72.7t) profit last fiscal year.
Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche are number 43, 62 and 95 on the Forbes’ world’s most valuable brands. Audi and Porsche are the top money makers for the brand.

You as a consumer, benefit when the car you are driving has a healthy “parent”. Otherwise, you get to worry when the company ceases production like what happened to Hummer. Questions about sourcing of spare parts start to linger in your mind. Some companies are lucky to be bought off by others. Volvo, was going down the drain but was rescued by Geely. Sweden’s Saab is now under Hong-Kong based National Electric Vehicle Sweden. The Chinese firm bought Saab out of bankruptcy last year and late last year resumed production. Now Saab owners in Uganda can afford a smile and not worry about where to get spare parts from.


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