Can You Match the Car Brand to Its Parent Company?
About This Quiz
Know your luxury car brands? Take this HowStuffWorks quiz to test your knowledge!
One of the best marketing strategies for any company to employ is to corner as much of a market as possible. That means selling their product, or a version of it, to everyone. The problem is that not everyone needs, wants or can afford every product. When talking about cars, that means developing vehicles that meet the needs and wants of everyone, from the economy buyer to the luxury aficionado and marketing those cars to the right set of buyers. For this reason, vehicle manufacturers expand their business, their lines and their divisions to include economy and luxury car models. Although most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the companies and the models, we're often stunned to find out that there is a connection between luxury car brands and our well-known vehicle favorites.
For instance, did you know that Porsche is a division of Volkswagen? Did you know that Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota? How about Lamborghini? Did you know that it is also a division of Volkswagen?
If you knew these and you think you can name them all, let's get rolling!
Ford, the iconic American car, is a publicly traded company, and members of the Ford family have a minority ownership of 2%. For years, Ford also sold many other brands, but the company has offloaded most of them to increase profitability.
Chevrolet, better known as Chevy, is owned by General Motors (GM). As any Ford fanatic will tell you, Chevrolet is definitely not owned by Ford.
GMC is owned, of course, by GM. GMC is a brand that focuses primarily on trucks, often marketed towards professionals who need hardcore, reliable vehicles.
BMW is responsible for a huge portion of the world's luxury automobile market. But since 2000, it also owns the Mini brand, which manufactures the cheaper — but still classy — small cars.
Ford has ditched many of the brands it has been associated with for decades. But it did hold on to Lincoln, which is still producing vehicles that feature higher-end components and parts than most Ford offerings.
You know Honda as the maker of budget-priced (and super reliable) cars and SUVs. But Honda also owns Acura, a luxury brand that costs far more than a Civic or Accord. Acura was founded in 1986 and is active in motorsports, as well.
As you've undoubtedly noted, independent brands are rare in the car business. But Mitsubishi is technically independently owned by the Japanese company of the same name. Mitsubishi's roots, in fact, go back to 1870, when it was a shipping business. The company is actually part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance after Nissan bought a controlling interest of the company; it is, however, an equal partner.
Nissan established its name in the 1930s and grew to gigantic proportions in Japan. But in 1999, the company was nearly bankrupt and sold much of its stock to Renault, which now controls almost 44% of Nissan's stock. The companies are, in fact, part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance, which formed in 2017 after Nissan bought a controlling interest in Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi, however, is an equal partner.
Rolls-Royce is one of the most luxurious (and costly) brands of cars in the world. It's no wonder, then, that luxury carmaker BMW wanted a piece of the action. It got the rights to the brand name, logo and other trademarks from Volkswagen AG in 1998 and started Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited.
Toyota created the Scion brand in 2003 to appeal to younger consumers. In 2016, Toyota decided that it couldn't sell enough Scions to make the effort worthwhile, and so it killed off the brand.
Porsche is known for its small, fast sports cars. It's had a relationship with Volkswagen for decades (Ferdinand Porsche and his team are credited for largely designing the Volkswagen Beetle in 1938, in fact). In 2009, the two companies reached an agreement to combine many of their manufacturing capabilities.
GM sells millions of vehicles all over the world, but only a few are Cadillacs. Cadillac is the luxury brand made famous thanks to cars like the El Dorado, Escalade and DeVille, which offer high-end features matched with posh attitude. The company formed from what was left of the Henry Ford Company in 1902 and was purchased by GM in 1909.
Saab is a favorite of eccentric American car buyers everywhere and has gone through a number of owners, including GM from 1990 through 2010. The brand is currently owned by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which also hopes to sell electric vehicles under the NEVS nameplate.
Since 2015, South Korean carmaker Hyundai owns a large stake in the Kia brand, which is known for its affordable vehicles. Kia sells millions and millions of cars each year, raking in huge profits for Hyundai. Kia, in turn, is a minority owner of several Hyundai subsidiaries.
Like other Japanese brands, Nissan has a very successful line of wallet-friendly and dependable vehicles, like the Sentra and Maxima. Its Infiniti brand targets consumers who have richer tastes and bigger bank accounts. Nissan launched the line in 1989 and also competes in the Indy Racing League under that brand. Infiniti is going electric, planning on selling nothing but electric or hybrid vehicles by 2021.
The Jeep brand is known for toughness and traction. Stared as Willys-Overland in 1944, the company has changed ownership several times. In 1987, it was sold to Chrysler, which itself later became part of ever-bigger companies. It is currently owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Land Rovers are known as luxurious four-wheel-drive vehicles that can crash their way over just about any terrain. The brand has bounced around some, but it's currently owned by Jaguar Land Rover, which in turn is owned by the Indian car giant Tata Motors.
Mazda is mostly owned by just Mazda. Ford has traditionally had dealings with Mazda — and at one point owned a third of the company's stock — but largely got out of the brand in 2015 when Mazda's profits began sinking. Mazda is currently in a partnership with Toyota.
Chrysler was an American company for decades, but in 1998 Chrysler merged with German carmaker Daimler-Benz to form DaimlerChrysler AG. Chrysler was later sold off to Cerberus Capital Management and became Chrysler LLC in 2007. When the Great Recession of 2008 struck, the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and it was eventually acquired by Fiat to become part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
You've seen Smart cars, the tiny autos buzzing around city streets looking like bugs lost in a concrete jungle. The microcar brand is owned by Mercedes-Benz USA, which is owned by German carmaker Daimler AG.
Morgan is a tiny British car maker that handcrafts fewer than 1,000 vehicles per year. The company, founded in 1910, is 100 percent owned by the Morgan family. This might be changing, however, as the company recently announced that a stake in the company is being acquired by the Italian investment group Investindustrial.
Jaguar has long been known for its sleek luxury cars. In 2008, Indian conglomerate Tata Motors bought the rights to Jaguar vehicles, along with Land Rover, to form Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC.
Mercedes-Benz is a German brand owned by a German company — Daimler AG. Daimler got its start in 1926 when the company's name was Daimler-Benz. From 1998 through 2007, the company was known as DaimlerChrysler — a merger that was very unpopular with shareholders. The Chrysler Group was sold to Cerberus Capital Management and Daimler changed its name to Daimler AG.
Subarus have a reputation for ridiculous off-road capabilities. The brand is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries, of which Toyota is a minority owner with a 16.5% share.
With roots stretching back to the beginning of the 20th century, Audis are made in Germany by Volkswagen. With the famous interlocking ring emblem, Audi stands for luxury vehicles coveted by people who appreciate German manufacturing precision. Audi became a member of the Volkswagen Group in 1969.
Dodge has a legendary history in America. The brand, started by the Dodge brothers in 1900, was snapped up by Chrysler in 1928; now both are owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Toyota is the purveyor of all manner of affordable and reliable vehicles that sell like hotcakes around the world. But it also owns the luxury brand Lexus, which has a level of refinement not found in Corollas and Camrys. Lexus came onto the scene in 1989, the same year as Infiniti (Nissan's luxury marque), and two years after Acura (Honda's).
There's a reason that Volkswagen is one of the most prolific car makers in the world: It owns a lot of car companies. Since 1998 this includes Lamborghini, which makes the sportiest sports cars around. And no, you probably can't afford one.
Bentley is the car of choice for rap videos everywhere. These ridiculously luxurious cars are made, since 1998, thanks to the efforts of Volkswagen.
While the company has previously had owners including GM (49%), Isuzu is currently owned mostly by Japanese banks (71.5%) and the Mitsubishi Corp (7.5%).
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