British Car Brands
Famous British car brands roll off the tongue almost as easily as famous British bands or authors, but in reality it’s been decades since any of these brands wasn’t owned by one of the global automotive giants. However, dany of the cars retain their British identity and make use of the wealth of design and manufacturing expertise that still thrives in the UK. Here we look at ten ‘British’ brands and who actually owns them.
1. Aston Martin (Ford, USA. Investment Dar, Kuwait. Investindustrial, Italy.)
Aston Martin has changed hands relatively frequently, from the mid-90s until 2007 it was a subsidiary of Ford, before being taken over by a consortium led by Prodrive and made up of private American and Kuwaiti finance. In 2012 Italian equity fund Invesindustrial bought just over a third of the company.
2. Bentley (Volkswagen, Germany)
Bentley was purchased by Rolls-Royce as far back as 1931, but it wasn’t until 1997 that BMW and Volkswagen battled it out to buy the Crewe-based Bentley brand.
3. Jaguar (Tata, India)
Jaguar was part of British Leyland until its privatisation in 1984. It was part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group from 1990 until 2008, before being sold on to India’s Tata Motors.
4. Land Rover (Tata, India)
Land Rover was purchased by Tata as part of the same deal to buy Jaguar from Ford in 2008, the total value, along with several other brands was £1.7billion.
5. Lotus (Proton, Malaysia)
The Lotus brand of sports and racing cars was purchased by General Motors in 1986, following years of financial trouble. After passing through the hands of Italian businessman Romano Artioli, it was bought by Malaysian car company Proton in 1996.
6. MG (SAIC, China)
After the collapse of MG Rover in 2005, the Rover brand disappeared, but the more valuable MG name was purchased and saved by Chinese company SAIC who now manufacture cars in the MG Rover Longbridge plant under the ‘MG Motor’ brand.
7. Mini (BMW, Germany)
BMW picked off the Mini brand in 2000 as the Rover group was stripped of its more valuable brands before finally going under in 2005. BMW had owned the Rover Group overall since 1994.
8. Morgan (Morgan, UK)
In their own words – “The last remaining FAMILY OWNED, independent, innovative British motor manufacturer.” The company was founded in 1910 and produces several hundred hand-assembled prestige cars each year.
9. Rolls-Royce (BMW, Germany)
Bentley and Rolls-Royce were sold to Volkswagen in 1998, however the rights to sell cars under the Rolls-Royce brand went to BMW. This was as a result of the brand name being owned by Rolls-Royce PLC, not Rolls-Royce Motors. In 2002 BMW took over the remaining assets and moved production to Goodwood.
10. Vauxhall (GM, USA)
The Vauxhall brand was purchased way back in 1925 by General Motors who reshaped the company in line with their global product. Despite financial difficulties in the late 2000s GM gave a boost to the Vauxhall brand and British manufacturing by moving the production of the Astra to the UK.