An interesting thing to consider in the automotive world is who owns the vehicles we drive. I still remember the slogan “Buy American”, which originated during the time when the Japanese vehicles started to come into this country. I heard that the bigger car manufacturers were not bothered by the Japanese vehicles in the 60s. But as the 70s came and the Japanese vehicles were gaining more and more market share, that concern flourished. One thing for sure: competition results in better products, because people cast their votes with were they spend money. The consumer’s wins in this, for vehicles today are of the highest quality ever. As per other articles I have written, vehicles are the most technologically advanced thing most of us ever own.
But who are the competitors, and who owns what in the world of automobiles imported into or made in this country? Here’s a breakdown of the major players competing in the global auto industry:
BMW (German) owns Mini and Rolls Royce.
Fiat (Italy) owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Ram and SRT.
Ford Motor Company (USA) owns: Lincoln and a small stake in Mazda.
General Motors (USA) owns: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM owns a controlling interest in Opel and Vauxhall in Europe and Holden in Australia.
Honda (Japanese) owns Acura, the first Japanese luxury vehicles.
Hyundai (South Korea) owns Kia.
Tata Motors (India) owns Jaguar and Land Rover.
Mazda (Japanese) mostly independently owned (Ford has small stake)
Mitsubishi (Japanese) is independently owned.
Daimler AG (German) owns: Mercedes-Benz and Smart.
Nissan (Japanese) owns: Infiniti and oh, by the way Nissan, in turn, is owned by Renault (French).
Saab (Swedish) is owned by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS).
Subaru (Japanese): Owned by Fuji Heavy Industries with Toyota a minority partner.
Tesla (USA) has minor partnerships with Toyota and Daimler AG.
Toyota Motor Company (Japanese) owns: Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu and Hino Motors, with a stake in Fuji Industries (Subaru's parent company) and Isuzu.
Volkswagen (German) owns: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and overseas-brands SEAT and Skoda.
Volvo is owned by Chinese-automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, aka Geely.
The top five countries that make vehicles: China (twice as many vehicles than the US), USA, Japan, Germany, South Korea.
“Buy American” has become so much more confusing.
There are many other blurred lines between global automotive manufacturers these days, represented by various partnerships and sharing of platforms. For example, Subaru and Scion (Toyota) produced essentially the same cars as the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S. And BMW and Toyota will soon share a platform; the new Toyota Supra and the BMW Z4 replacement will be out by 2018.
If you have been keeping track, there are a few car brands that are not around anymore. American Motors, Geo, Hummer, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Pontiac, Saab, and Saturn are all gone.
The bottom line in my opinion, automobile manufactories are going to be sharing more and more. I have read that GM and Ford and going to be sharing a transmission. My opinion why is as vehicles get more refined and complicated, it is just not practical not to share.
Auto tips by George
For security’s sake, always lock your car with windows up when you leave it. Do not leave any valuables in your car at any time including credit cards in the glove box. Garage door openers, combined with the address from your car registration, make your home open target for thieves. Also, the trunk is the safest place to store things but only when prying eyes don’t see you put merchandise there.
Lighten your key chain; if you have lots of leys or other stuff on your keychain, it put extra strain on your ignition lock tumblers. Remove these will extend the life of those tumblers could save you the cost and inconvenience of a repair.
Driving a pre-2000 vehicle. These are easy for thieves to steal, more so if it’s a 1990s Toyota or Honda. Keep your vehicle safe by installing a steering wheel lock like the Club. The Club is available from the Eugene Police Department for $12.50; it’s a cheap price for peace of mind. No car has ever been stolen in Eugene with a steering lock installed. Every one of our older vehicles has a club in it. This is important as newer cars get harder to steal.
Buying a vehicle for the young adult who just turned 16? Newer vehicles have so many more safety features than older ones, including systems to help prevent a crash and to protect occupants during one. These include ABS brakes, traction and stability controls and advance air bags systems, which can make a huge safety difference. So I recommend young drivers have safer modern vehicles, as in 2012 and newer, or at least with stability controls systems.
Pay close attention to warning lights on your dash. If one is on, it is a warning that something is amiss. Procrastination will lead to a breakdown or more expensive repair. It never gets cheaper leaving the warning light unintended.
Never leave any living animals in a vehicle with the windows rolled up. On a hot sunny day, temperatures can rapidly increase to over 135 degrees. Leave the animals at home; it’s a matter of life and death for them.