It is one of the few countries that produced automobiles before 1900s: the first British car was steam-powered, made in 1860.
Today, most auto makers in the UK specialize in premium and sports cars, and in terms of quality British cars are among the best. Over the past decade, local car manufacturing has been experiencing a renaissance.
Aston manufactures luxury sports cars and grand tourers epitomising the heritage of British auto industry. In spite of their iconic design, Astons appear a bit fragile and unreliable to some experts.
Today, Aston Martin is owned by a consortium of investors, including Prestige Motor Holdings, Asmar, Primewagon, Adeem Investments, Daimler, and a number of minor shareholders.
The current lineup includes the famous old grand tourer DB9, Aston’s smallest sports car, Vantage, and very stylish Vantage Roadster, four-door Rapide S, One-77-inspired Vanquish, Vulcan, and DB11.
Excellent luxury motorcars with an impressive Grand Touring history. From 1924 to 2003 Bentley won the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times. Vehicles, that are largely hand-built, are sold via franchised dealers worldwide.
Bentayga, Continental Flying Spur, Continental GT, and Mulsanne can be named among the most popular models in the current range. Most cars are manufactured in England, but some of Continental Flying Spurs are made in Germany.
Although Jaguar was purchased by Indian giant Tata, many of its British top managers preserved their positions. No wonder this brand continues making brilliant luxury vehicles noted for excellent driving experience. Among them are such jewels as charismatic sports car F-type and top-line F-type Coupe, long-awaited Jaguar XE and upper-medium executive saloon Jaguar XF, that can be named a class leader, stylish grand tourer XK, and futuristic range-topping saloon XJ.
One of the leading British car brands, Land Rover has survived several difficult periods in its history, including recessions, fuel crises, reliability problems and changes of owners. In spite of all this, the company is manufacturing exceptional cars noted for their design and performance, and Top Gear even refers to Land Rover as “the maker of the world’s best 4×4”.
Jaguar Land Rover plans to invest 160 million USD in a research and development center in Coventry, where a thousand engineers would create a next generation of vehicles.
McLaren is famous as the maker of upscale cars. Due to an aggressive pricing strategy, the company managed to conquer a lot of new customers and make supercars more affordable.
The history of the company goes back to 1963, but in fact in 2010 a completely new, stand-alone car maker McLaren Automotive was founded.
Originally, Mini was famous for its iconic, brilliantly packaged small cars. Between 1959 and 2000 several vehicles of this kind were launched, including Morris Mini-Minor, Austin Seven, and Clubman. Their performance versions used the name Cooper. The Company’s specialization – small cars – has not changed after Mini was purchased by BMW.
Parent company: TATA Land Rover
The English make Rover gave to the world many decent models of cars, which left their trace in the history (Rover Jet 1, Rover P6, Rover SD1, etc.).
The trade mark Rover was acquired by Ford. In its turn, Ford sold the make Rover to the Indian corporation Tata in the 2008.
The firm tried to depict the theme of Vikings on its logos. At first, images of a spear or of a battle-axe were its symbols. Since the 1929, the image of a ship on a shield became the Rover logo. Designers tried many times to stylize the logo and its latest version appeared in the 1990.
On the 4th of February, 1971, the company Rolls-Royce Limited, which existed since 1904 in Britain, was officially announced bankrupt. But the British government saved it, having invested around 250 million dollars into the business. In 1998, the firm was sold to the German carmaker BMW.
There are two symbols of this famous car brand. Twinned letters “RR” are depicted on the first one. These are the first letters of surnames of the founders of the brand: Sir Henry Royce and Charles Stewart Rolls. One more symbol of this make is a figurine of a hovering woman in a billowing dress on the car bonnet. This figure is also called the “Spirit of rapture”.
The company was founded in 1952 by Anthony Colin Bruce Chapmen as Lotus Engineering Ltd.
The rich story of the Lotus company continues. Already being a part of the Proton concern, the engineers of the firm started again the production of the models Elise and Esprit, which resurrected the glory of the British car racing legend.
The Lotus logo is a bright-yellow circumference reminiscent of the sun and a triangle in British Racing Green inserted in it. The name of the brand and the initials of its creator Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman are inscribed in the triangle.
Other car brands
Parent company: ACEDES Holdings
The company AC Cars Ltd was founded in 1902 by an engineer John Weller and a butcher, John Portwine. Since 2002, the make is a part of the concern AC Motors Holding. This is one of the first car makers of Great Britain, which is specialized in production only of the sports cars standing out against other representatives of car industry with their excellent dynamics and racing qualities. AC emblem consists of its name recorded into a circle of blue color in light-blue graphical letters
In the 1999, Arash Farboud, the founder of the company Arash Motor, discovered a new era of sports cars unique in power and convenience. The make Arash is still engaged in the design and production of deluxe class cars. The Emblem of Arash is decorated with a vivid image of a peregrine falcon, which is the fastest creature on earth.
Ariel Motors Ltd is the English company of small batch production of sports cars situated in the county Somerset. The company’s staff consists of 7 persons, who manufacture around 100 cars a year. The company was founded by Simon Saunders in 1991 as Solocrest Ltd. In 2001, the company name was changed into Ariel Motors. In June 2014, it represented the own-designed product, which got the name Ace. The emblem of the company Ariel is represented in form of a red circle with an unusual white letter “A” inside.
Ascari Cars Ltd. is a producer of sports cars basing in Banberi, the United Kingdom. The company was founded by Dutch millionaire Klaas Zwart. The company is named after Alberto Ascari (1918—1955), who became the world champion of Formula 1 twice.
Parent company: Kamkorp
Bristol Cars is a manufacturer of autos of the class “deluxe”. All its cars are assembled manually and in a very small amount. The production was suspended in March 2011, when an appointment of the new administration and dismissal of 22 employees occurred. In April of the same year, the company Bristol Cars was acquired by Kamkorp Group. For its emblem, the car maker Bristol decided to choose the coat of arms of the city Bristol, in honor of which the make received its name.
Parent company: Caterham Group
Caterham Cars is a British producer of sports cars and car kits basing in Surrey, England. Since the moment of its foundation and until 1973, the company Caterham Cars was one of the major dealers of the company Lotus Cars and became the only legitimate heir of Lotus. The construction of its cars refines constantly. In the beginning of the 2014, Caterham represented its new emblem reminiscent of a British flag, but having retained the traditional green color of its initial variant.
In 2014, the well-known businessman and modern speed car lover David Brown represented his first car model. David Brown believes the car is created for the soul. Therefore, producing his first car, he gave special attention to its appearance. The first car received the name Speedback GT. The combination of old and ultra-modern technologies does not leave anyone indifferent. All its parts and the finest cells are made-to-order.
Parent company: SAIC Motor
MG Cars is an English firm now belonging to Chinese corporation, Nanjing Automobile Group. At present, it makes serial autos, while previously it produced sports cars. Nanjing Automobile immediately engaged in production of the previous MG models, having slightly modernized them. The vehicle manufacturing was shifted to the plant of the company in Nanjing. The MG emblem symbolizes the sense of the collocation “sports car”.
Morgan Motor Company is a small English firm for production of limited deluxe class sports cars. Henry Frederic Stanley Morgan founded it in the 1909. All the Morgan cars have a classic design or a stylized one under the classic look of sport cars of the 30s-40s. They are assembled manually. Such varieties of wood as ash, oak, aspen, and maple are basic materials for the assembly of all models, as well as high-resistance steel and aviation aluminum. The cows’ Windsor leather and satin finished aluminum are used in interior trimming, based on the desire of a customer, insertions from valuable kinds of wood and gold are used in car decoration.
The make Noble was founded in 1999 in Leicestershire. The English automobile industry company, which is specialized only in express sports cars is the owner of this make. The production of bodyworks and chassis takes place in South Africa. The cars are assembled at the plant Noble. The Noble emblem contains the name of the founder of the company Lee Noble, who was the chief designer and the manager of Noble from 1996 to 2009.
The company was created in 1947 by English engineers Trevor Wilkinson and Jack Pickard. The company is engaged in the production of light sports cars; it has fairly rich history, but its future remains uncertain. In December 2006, the company was divided into several small firms. At present, the US is known as the market for implementation of the company business plan. TVR emblem represents stylized letters “TreVoR” from the name of one of its founders.
Parent company: Adam Opel AG
Vauxhall Motors is a car firm in Great Britain, a unit of the concern General Motors. In the middle of the XXth century, the company Vauxhall linked its activity to the German firm Opel. Today the majority of cars produced by the concern Opel AG and sold in Great Britain have an information code plate Vauxhall. Cars of the Australian make Holden (Commodore and Ute) are also sold under this make.
Westfield is an English make of cars founded in the beginning of the 80s. Chris Smith became the director of this company. The founder of the company was engaged in sales of cars in West Midlands for a long while and did not have a dream to produce his own cars. But the cars Westfield began to be sold already in 1982. The model range of Westfield is not often replenished by new cars, but the quality and the high rates of these autos keep out of doubting that the company achieved success.
Minor car manufacturers
Today, there are around 40 active auto makers in the UK. In addition to British car brands (like Caterham, Lagonda, Lotus, MG, Morgan, and Rolls-Royce), there are also international companies that build cars locally (Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Vauxhall Motors).