About thirty years ago, Lee Yakokka, the former president of Ford and Chrysler, predicted, that by the beginning of the XXIst century, just several carmakers would remain in the world. His prophecy was fulfilled.
During the economic crisis, General Motors and Chrysler bankrupted and Ford had a miraculous escape. Ford lost the Premiere Automotive Group, which contained Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover. It was forced to sell the English brand of super cars Aston Martin and got rid of the controlling block of Mazda shares, while its make Mercury was eliminated. The company retained only Ford and Lincoln.
General Motors sustained serious loss. It lost SAAB, Hummer, Saturn, but, despite the bankruptcy, managed to defend Opel and Daewoo. Now, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Vauxhall belong to General Motors. On top of that, the American concern has Russian Joint Venture -GM-AutoVAZ, producing off-road car Chevrolet Niva.
What is happening in Europe? The crisis made changes to the array of forces, but it did not affect the situation of European car industry grandees. Volkswagen continues to replenish its “collection” of brands. Now nine trademarks, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Skoda, Seat and Scania belong to the Volkswagen Group. The fact that Suzuki will soon join this company is not excluded.
The Renault-Nissan alliance, which includes Renault, Dacia, Nissan, Infiniti, Samsung, is one of the world major carmakers. Renault also holds 25% of AutoVAZ shares: the make Lada similarly belongs to the French–Japanese alliance.
The other largest French carmaker, PSA concern, possesses the makes Citroën and Peugeot.
The Japanese Honda has not much to boast of besides the premium-brand Acura and the motorcycle segment.
In the recent years, the Hyundai- Kia alliance rapidly fights the path to the number of leaders of the world car industry. The alliance produces autos of the makes Hyundai and Kia, but in the near future the Koreans plan to create the premium-brand. Perhaps it will be called Genesis.
We should also mention the transfer of the make Volvo under the control of Chinese Geely and the purchase by Indian Tata Motor of the English premium brands Jaguar and Land Rover. In this row, the acquisition of the Swedish Saab brand by a small Dutch producer of super cars Spyker looks most curious.
The known British carmakers lost their independence long ago. The legendary firm Lotus belongs to Malaysian Proton and the Chinese SAIC company bought MG. At the same time, SAIC sold Korean SsangYong Motor to the Indian carmaker Mahindra&Mahindra.
Is not possible to survive in the modern world being a loner firm. There are exceptions like English Morgan, Japanese Mitsuoka or Malaysian Proton. But nothing depends on them in the world car industry. To sell cars by hundreds of thousands in a year without speaking about millions, one needs to have very strong “backs”, which are provided either by partners, as in the case of the Renault-Nissan alliance or by the whole brood of brands, as Volkswagen does.