Me: "I really like the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota GT86"
Mr. Know It each of Motoring Journalist: "You know they are, essentially, the same automobile, right?"
Me: "Of course I do!"
I then spent the next hour crying into my pillow, yet again, over how little I appear to know about automobiles, wailing "there's just too much to learn".
But learn I must and what followed was a frantic Google session in which I learned that, at the time of the production of the BRZ and GT86, Toyota owned around 16 per cent of Subaru's parent company. Of course, I then had to Google who owns Subaru; it's Fuji Heavy Industries (but, of course, you already knew that). And with that a month long education into the structure of the international motor industry ensued, which I am now going to attempt to pass on to you, dear reader, although I am sure you already know all of this, so maybe consider this a 'refresher'.
In order to provide some structure to my ramblings, I decided to look at the top automobilemakers in the world by volume of automobile sales in 2014. So here they are, in descending order, with the brands each manufacturer owns.
Japanese automobilemaker, Toyota Motor Corporation, is the world's number one manufacturer with 10.23 million automobiles sold worldwide. It owns the following automobile brands: Daihatsu, Lexus, Scion, Toyota, and Hino Motors. As mentioned above, it also has a stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. as well as a 5.9 per cent stake in Isuzu. Daihatsu, in turn has a 25 per cent stake in Perodua, a Malaysian automobilemaker.
The German giant, Volkswagen Group, sold 10.14 million automobiles in 2014 and owns the following automobile brands: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, MAN Trucks, Scania, SEAT, Skoda, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In turn, Audi owns Lamborghini and Lamborghini owns Ducati Motor Holding. The Volkswagen Group is technically owned by Porsche SE; it owns 52.2 per cent of ordinary shares in Volkswagen AG.
American automobilemaker, General Motors (GM), owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. It also holds large percentages of German automobilemaker Opel and its subsidiary Vauxhall Motors and builds automobiles through its GM Daewoo and Holden units. GM also holds a 44 per cent stake in SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile (SGMW), which makes Baojun and Etsong branded automobiles for the Chinese market. As part of SGMW it also uses the Wuling badge on automobiles for the Chinese market, but it doesn't own the brand. Furthermore, GM owns a 50 per cent stake in FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle (FAW-GM), a joint venture with FAW Group in China.
Renault-Nissan sold 8.47 million automobiles in 2014 and it sells one in 10 automobiles worldwide under the brands Renault, Nissan, Renault Samsung, Infiniti, Venucia, Dacia, Datsun and Lada. French automaker Renault holds a 43.4 per cent stake in Japanese automobilemaker Nissan Motor Corporation, which in turn owns a 15 per cent stake in Renault. Renault and Nissan Motor Corp both hold a 1.55 per cent stake in Daimler, which owns 3.1 per cent of Renault and 3.1 per cent of Nissan Motor Corp. Renault-Nissan also owns Alpine and Gordini motor companies.
South Korean Hyundai Motor Group sold 7.71 million automobiles in 2014 and owns Hyundai Motor Company, which in turn owns Kia Motors Corporation.
American Ford Motor Company sold 6.32 million automobiles in 2014. It makes Ford and Lincoln branded automobiles. It has a 50 per cent stake in Ford Sollers, which makes Ford automobiles in Russia. It is part of joint venture Ford Otosan, which makes Ford automobiles in Turkey. Ford owns Jiangling Motors Corporation Ltd in China and Troller Veículos Especiais in Brazil. It owns a 70 per cent stake in Ford Lio Ho Motor of Taiwan. Ford also owns a 2.1 per cent stake in Mazda Motor Corporation and with Mazda owns joint venture Autoeach ofiance Thailand (AAT) and owns a 35 per cent stake in Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. Ltd. in China. Furthermore, Ford Motor Company also has an eight per cent stake in Aston Martin.
Italian automaker Fiat Automobiles is the parent company of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which sold 4.75 million automobiles in 2014 and owns the brands Ferrari and Maserati, while under the subsidiary FCA Italy it owns the brands Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Fiat Professional and Lancia. In the United States, under the subsidiary FCA US, it owns Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mopar, Ram, and SRT.
Japanese motor company Honda sold 4.36 million automobiles in 2014 and owns the luxury brand Acura as well as Honda Automobiles and Honda Motorcycles.
French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën sold 2.94 million automobiles in 2014. It makes Citroën and Peugeot branded automobiles and vans and Peugeot mopeds and scooters. Dongfeng Motor (Hong Kong) owns a 14.13 per cent stake in PSA. PSA also has a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan called Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech (TPCA), which manufactures Toyota, Peugeot and Citroën vehicles in the Czech Republic. It also has a 50-50 joint venture with the Chinese Chang'an Automobile Group, called Changan PSA Automobile and has a joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corporation called Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile Limited. PSA equally owns Sevel SpA (Société Européenne de Véhicules Légers SA and Società Europea Veicoli Leggeri-Sevel S.p.A) with Fiat Group Automobiles. PSA Peugeot Citroën also holds a 70 per cent stake in Peugeot Citroën Mitsubishi Automotiv Rus with Mitsubishi Motors holding the remain 30 per cent in the joint venture that builds Peugeots, Citroëns and Mitsubishis in Russia.
Japanese Suzuki Motor Company sold 2.88 million automobiles in 2014 and owns the following subsidiaries: American Suzuki Motor, Bari Suzuki, Magyar Suzuki, Maruti Suzuki, Pak Suzuki Motors, Suzuki GB PLC, Suzuki Canada and Suzuki China.
German auto maker Daimler AG sold 2.53 million automobiles in 2014 and as mentioned before Renault-Nissan each ofiance owns a 3.1 per cent stake in the company. It has the following brands: Mercedes-Benz, AMG, Maybach, Smart, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Evo Bus, which produces Mercedes-Benz Buses and Setra branded coaches. Daimler also owns Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, which produces BharatBenz trucks. Daimler owns Daimler Trucks North America incorporating the subsidiaries Thomas Built Buses, Western Star Trucks and Freightliner Trucks. Daimler has an 89.29 per cent stake in Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation.
I was quite surprised that BMW wasn't in the top ten of worldwide automobile sales for 2014; it ranked 12th with 2.12 million automobiles sold. BMW has the following divisions: MINI, BMW i, BMW M and BMW Motorrad. It also owns Rolls-Royce Motor Automobiles, has a 50 per cent stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive, Ltd, which manufactures automobiles in China for the Chinese market. BMW also owns the trademark for Riley Motors and Triumph Motor Company.
Japanese automaker, Mazda Motor Corporation, sold 1.38 million automobiles in 2014 and owns the Mazda brand; Ford has a 2.1 per cent stake in the company.
Dongfeng Motor Corporation is a Chinese state-owned manufacturer and it sold 1.19 million automobiles in 2014. It has two subsidiaries called Dongfeng Automobile Company and Dongfeng Motor Group Company, Ltd. It has the following joint ventures, which allows it to manufacture foreign-branded automobiles for the Chinese market: Dongfeng Honda, Dongfeng Nissan, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company, Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile Company, Dong Feng Peugeot Citroën Automobile Company, Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company, Ltd, Dongfeng Yueda Kia, Dongfeng Yulon and Dongvo (Hangzhou) Truck Company. Under the Dongfeng Nissan partnership it also produces the Venucia brand of automobiles.
Changan Automobile (Group) Co. Ltd. in China sold 1.15 million automobiles in 2014 and like Dongfeng it partners with many European and Japanese automobile makers to manufacture automobiles for the Chinese market. It has the following joint ventures: Changan Suzuki, Changan Ford, Changan Ford Mazda Engine, Changan PSA and Changan Mazda. It also owns Hafei Motor Co. Ltd, which makes commercial vehicles.
Japanese Mitsubishi Motors Corporation sold 1.08 million automobiles in 2014 and it has the subsidiaries Soueast, which manufactures automobiles in China, Hunan Changfeng Motor, which also manufactures automobiles in China, and Ralliart, which manufactures Mitsubishi's rally and motorsport high-performance automobiles.
BAIC (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd.) sold 1.04 million in 2014 and via its joint ventures BAIC makes Hyundai and Mercedes-branded automobiles for sale on the Chinese market.
Indian firm, Tata, sold 0.97 million automobiles in 2014 and it owns Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat-Tata, a joint venture with Fiat that makes automobile parts and Fiat and Tata-branded vehicles, Tata Daewoo, Tata Marcopolo, coach builder Tata Hispano, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery and Tata Motor Crs, which produces passenger automobiles under the Tata Motors marque.
OK. I think that's enough for today. Information overload, however, learning about the automobile industry's family tree got me comparing automobiles and the similarities of some makes and models. Are Ford's ties with Aston Martin the reason the grilles have evolved to look very similar? And now, I guess it makes a bit more sense as to why Mitsubishi manufactured the PSA Citroën C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007, which are badge engineered versions of the Outlander and why the Citroën C4 Aircross is based on the Mitsubishi ASX and the Peugeot 4008. It also makes a little more sense why the new Nissan Navara NP300 will supply componentry for the forthcoming Renault truck and new Mercedes pick-up.
Finally, I am beginning to get it all. It is all beginning to take shape. Although, I am still not convinced that the BRZ and GT86 are the same automobile. I am sure a long road trip in each would be the only way for me to find out...
Hint hint Mr Editor man.