Who made my car? A breakdown of car conglomerates

Do you own a couple nice Tatas? Perhaps a Jaguar or a Land Rover? Tata Motors, based in India, owns those two brands. After the auto industry bailout, and all the craziness that goes on in any far-reaching corporate structure, it’s hard to know who actually owns the company you bought your car from. We’ve compiled a list of what car companies own what other car companies. We hope you’re ready to plug into the Matrix (Toyota makes that). 



We’ll do this alphabetically for convenience, and that means we start with BMW. BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) was founded in 1916 as an aircraft engine company, then they did motorcycles, and eventually cars. This little Aktiengesellschaft (shareholder corporation), as they call it, has come a long way. BMW currently owns BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce. This company profited $10.7 billion last year. 


Daimler AG

Daimler AG was founded in 1998. Don’t be confused, that’s just the founding of the current incarnation. The original Daimler-Benz was founded in Germany in 1926. Daimler owns Mercedes-Benz and the Smart car series. Daimler used to own Maybach brand but it recently axed the high-end luxury sedan maker. Don’t fret, Maybach lovers, Mercedes will once again offer a reincarnated Maybach moniker on its top-end S-Class. Daimler AG made $8.8 billion in 2012. Where did the name Mercedes come from? It was the name of the daughter of someone who worked for the company early on in their history. So there’s that.



Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino is an Italian company that was essentially founded as a car company. However, the year was 1899 and things were a lot different in the car industry. In the early days, this plucky Italian automaker also made railroad engines, tractors, and airplane engines. Fiat now owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, and all the Chrysler brands, including Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and SRT. Fiat has a parent company called Exor but we won’t go into that. This company profited $1.9 billion last year. Fiat is very popular in Brazil, where it produces the second most Fiats in the world (Italy makes the most).

ford mustang


Ford is the company that famously revolutionized the use of the assembly line for cars. The Model T is widely considered the first massively available automobile. “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” Ford famously said of the Model T. Ford owns Lincoln and has some stake in Mazda but less than it has it in the past. Fords profits were $8 billion last year. 



General Motors, along with Fiat-owned Chrysler, was one of those companies we bailed out a few years back. The company was started in 1908 by a man in the horse-drawn carriage business, which we have to assume was on the decline. GM owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. GM also owns large percentages of Opel and the Australian Holden brand. It looks like we’re going to take a loss on the bailout of this company, despite its $4.9 billion in profit last year. Fun fact: General Motors helped make the lunar rover back in the day.



Honda is a Japanese motor company. It’s 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. Aside from its affordable, reliable cars, Honda is well-known for the robot it built in 2000 named ASIMO. As of 2007, these ASIMOs can work together, and they’re using tools! Beware!

Honda made 7,950,000,000,000 yen in revenue last year. That’s only about $80 billion – and that’s revenue, not profit. Still, it sure sounds like a lot of money…

Next Page: Hyundai to Subaru

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