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Car Manufacturers

Choosing which car to buy can be a complex process, with many factors to be considered. It seems the manufacturers are diversifying so that they have a car of every type in their range, so there seem to be so many cars to choose from. As part of our series of features that help you to find the right new or used car, this article takes a brief look at the major car makes. Elsewhere, we'll be taking a more detailed look at each manufacturer, and the individual car models too.
Whilst it seems that there are hundreds of different makes of car, in fact the vast majority of cars sold are made by one of only ten to fifteen different companies. Since the birth of the motorcar there have been thousands of car companies, but over time they have merged, or closed down, leaving a relatively small number of major car makers.
Development costs for cars have spiraled, despite modern techniques because we now expect so much from our vehicles. Whereas car manufacture could be carried out by tiny companies in the past, these days there are very few small companies making cars. Yes, there are one or two operating in niche markets, but those manufacturers will probably source most of their parts from one of the major manufacturers.
It's extremely rare these days for a small company to build their own engines, and some small companies are simply tuners and stylers who take entire cars from another company and add extra power and / or style. Of course there's nothing new in this (from the very earliest days of motoring companies like Peugeot sourced their engines from Daimler). Today, even the biggest companies collaborate on the developement of car components, from floor pans to engines.

So who are the big car companies then?

General Motors

The largest manufacturer of cars worldwide is still General Motors who sell a number of brands in the UK, the biggest of course being Vauxhall with the Corsa and Astra models which are invariably amongst the top ten sellers in the UK. GM also own the Saab brand, and are now selling cars from some of their popular US brands such as Cadillac and Hummer. GM also purchsed Daewoo recently, and have used the Daewoo operation to launch their Chevrolet badge into the UK, and have incorporated some of their Australian Holden brand into the Vauxhall range. Across Europe, General Motors' largest brand is Opel.


The Toyota Motor Corporation owns far fewer brands than GM, but their Toyota brand is the biggest seller worldwide, by some margin. Toyota sell almost all of their cars worldwide under this one badge, though of course the popularity of the Lexus brand is growing, and has been introduced into more markets, including Toyota's home brand of Japan; until recently, the company sold many of the cars that wear a Lexus badge in the UK or the US as Toyota's in their home market. Toyota also own the Scion and Hino brands, and have major shares in several other manufacturers, including Subaru. Lexus, Scion and Hino are all new brands created by Toyota, whereas many other manufacturers brands have been acquired through takeovers and mergers with old established companies. Toyota have been growing, and are expected to become the number one manufacturer at some point in the future, though it's possible that further mergers by GM will prevent, or at least delay that.

Ford Motor Company

For a number of years, Ford vied with Toyota for the second place spot, but short of a major resurgence by Ford, or futher mergers, it looks as if Toyota's have secured that slot for the foreseeable future. Like Toyota, Ford sell a huge number of cars under their primary brand name, though they do own a number of prestige motoring brands in the form of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, and in US Lincoln and Mercury.

Volkswagen AG

VW own several of the UK's most popular brands, including of course Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda. More recently, the company have acquired Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.
VW takeovers have often been exciting and hugely significant for different reasons. In our opinion, the most important take over was of course Audi back in 1964 as it formed the basis for the group as we know it today; VW built new ranges of Volkswagens on the back of the competent Audi 80 and Audi 100 ranges. Meanwhile, Audi picked up the development of VW's 4x4 systems and this lead to huge success for the Audi Quattros, and ultimately the large number of 4x4 systems that are available today in many of the groups cars.
Continued - Daimler Chysler, Peugeot Citroen, Honda and Nissan

Other Information

Car Data

Here at the Car Club, we're attempting to build a database of car information. In the long term we hope to have everything from crash ratings to tyre pressures, including 0-60 times, CO2 ratings and any other piece of data you can imagine.
Information by: Hobbs

Car Manufacturers - page 2

Continuing our feature about the major car manufacturers. This part of the article covers the fifth, sixth and seventh biggest worldwide manufactuers of automobiles, namely DaimlerChrysler, and Japan's Honda and Nissan.
The initial part of this article covered GM, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen.
Information by: Hobbs

Car Manufacturers - page 3

The first part of this article took a look at the four largest manufacturers of cars, from General Motors to Volkswagen. Then we covered DaimlerChrysler to Nissan. This section is a brief discussion of Hyundai, Renault, Suzuki and FIAT.
Information by: Hobbs

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo started life in 1907 as a co-operation between the French automobile maker Darracq and Cavaliere Ugo Stella, and originally its name was Darracq Itaaliana.
Information by: Hobbs

Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen own several of the UKs most popular brands in the form of Volkswagen itself plus Audi, SEAT and Skoda, plus the luxury brand Bentley, and supercar manufacturers Lamborghini and Bugatti.
Information by: Hobbs

Please select a manufacturer for more information.

Information about a variety of manufacturers' cars is available by selecting one of the links from this list.


Discounts on Veloce Automotive books for Car Club Members