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How Unique is My Drive?

Audi RS 5

It’s pretty likely that you’ll be aware of the enormous number of brand names out there in the market place.  The mass consumer goods industry is a huge area of vibrant buying madness, and it’s all about choice and variety – isn’t it?  Who is supplying the different brands and goods served onto our own dinner tables?  Who is supplying the different brands and goods that we choose to wear for clothing?  Who is supplying the different brands of fuel for our cars?  Who is supplying the different brands of cars that we buy?

There has been a bit of an illusion of choice that’s been built up over the last few decades.  Back in the old days when most people lived in villages and small towns everyone knew who the local blacksmith was that tinkered on the locals’ machinery.  The food and produce at the local store usually came from local farmers, and the animals were bought locally or nearby.  Today, goods may have travelled the world before they arrive at our door.  And, today, generally, we know all of the company names who own and sell the favourite brands that we buy – don’t we?

We likely inherently know that PepsiCo sells plenty of drink beverages, including its flagship Pepsi product.  We may well know that Nestle makes Milky Bars, Kit Kat, scorched almonds and Nescafe instant coffee.  What is less recognizable is that Nestle also makes DiGiorno pizzas and owns two competing brands of rather nice carbonated water, which are called San Pellegrino and Perrier.  Did you know that Nestle also has at least 29 separate brands that all help make them an annual sales turnover of $1 billion!  And, inside each of these brands, the company has hundreds of different food products in all kinds of sectors.  Nestle is the world’s largest food company by revenue, and its market capitalization in dollar terms is massive; well over $225 billion in fact.

There is nothing wrong in buying from any of these brands, but it is worth noting that every dollar of your money is a vote; a vote for products and companies that you believe in, or maybe now would rather not…  But let’s get back to cars, because, as much as I like chocolate, we are all about cars here at Private Fleet, aren’t we?

A relatively recent study found that it was actually only around 14 major big companies that controlled 54 common car brands that most of us either buy our own cars from, or will, at least, be familiar with.  So, say you were looking to buy a luxury car such as a quick Porsche or classy Bentley; well, you might just have less choice than you may think.  These two luxury brands are actually owned by Volkswagen (a German-based company) who also own the Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Skoda brand, as well as VW and Seat.  Interestingly, motoring fans would often consider Porsche and Audi RS cars to be entirely different, even out-and-out rivals, but here they are being owned and governed by VW.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., often abbreviated as FCA, owns Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Maserati and Jeep; oh, and Lancia, RAM, Fiat and Chrysler vehicles.

GM is the company who owns Buick and Chevrolet.  But did you know they also own Holden, Vauxhall, Cadillac, Opel, GMC, Wuling Motors and Baojun.

Perhaps if you wanted a nice car built for the masses but that wasn’t at all much linked to any other marque, then you could argue that, of the 14 companies, Daimler, Ford, Honda, PSA, Hyundai, Toyota and Nissan are the truly most distinctive brands amidst the monopolies.  Daimler owns and makes Mercedes Benz and Smart cars; Ford owns and makes Ford and Lincoln cars; Honda owns and makes Honda and Acura cars; PSA owns and makes DS, Citroen and Peugeot cars; Hyundai owns and makes Hyundai and Kia cars; Toyota owns and makes Toyota, Lexus and Daihatsu cars; and Nissan owns and makes Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun cars.

It’s just another way of being informed and looking at things!

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