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Who owns who in a changing global environment?

Who loves the legends?  Rover, Lamborghini, Jaguar and Aston Martin are all legends that have experienced a change of hands in recent times.  But who belongs with whom these days?  The more recent economic climate has forced a number of new automotive amalgamations and buy-outs due to rising costs that have become too great for a number of iconic car manufacturers to manage solo.

Established prestige British marques like Rover and Jaguar are now Indian or Chinese owned.  Almost all car manufacturers have needed to look elsewhere for building the cars that they create.  So setting up a manufacturing plant in another land where the costs of production are lower makes a lot of sense.  The likes of China, Brazil, India, Holland, Spain, Hungary and Argentina are a few of the locations around the world that have witnessed well known brands from Europe and beyond setting up low cost car manufacturing plants at these new locations. 

Many car manufacturers have, in fact, been bought over by their competitors because of the scary economic losses they’ve experienced in diminishing returns recently.  Saab just about disappeared completely, but was saved by a few Saab enthusiasts – and Spyker in Netherlands, which now owns Saab.  Lamborghini is now owned by Volkswagen.  Rolls Royce is owned by BMW.  And Jaguar, which was owned by Ford, is now owned by the Tata group in India.  MG is Chinese owned, while the other once British owned Mini is now completely BMW’s work.  Land Rover has also been taken over and owned by Tata of India.  Volvo is owned by Geely in China.

Joint ventures or amalgamations has seen Aston Martin amalgamate with Toyota, Renault marry Nissan, Fiat joint venture with Chrysler, Suzuki – incredibly – unite with Volkswagen and… wait for it… BMW join with Brilliance in China.  You are probably aware that Ford and Mazda have had something going for quite some time, but you may not have known that Peugeot and Citroen of France have amalgamated with Mitsubishi of Japan.

I think it is pretty obvious that the motor industry will continue to grow with plenty of vigour via a large level of Chinese and Indian investment.  These two countries have a huge domestic market. 

China is no bunny when it comes to copying a template and, without a doubt, if Chinese engineers are able to create a Chinese BMW, Lexus or Mercedes Benz equivalent for a fraction of the price, then the real BMW, Lexus or Mercedes Benz manufacturers have their work cut out.  I guess this kind of competition has got to be good for the consumer.  A new Audi or Mercedes Benz might be a great deal cheaper to buy in the future.

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