Car manufacturers are finding it tough to increase their numbers amid the economic slowdown, especially in the United States.
But some companies are doing better than others, thanks to new products, lower prices and smart marketing.
Let’s take a look at the most admired car companies in the US.
Volkswagen Group (sometimes abbreviated to VW Group) is a German multinational automotive manufacturing group headquartered in Wolfsburg.
It is the world’s second-largest motor vehicle manufacturer by 2011 unit sales and the largest based in Europe.
The group’s parent company Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, usually abbreviated to Volkswagen AG, develops vehicles and components for all marques of the whole group, and also manufactures complete vehicles for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles marques.
It is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1917. BMW is headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands.
In 2010, the BMW group produced 1,481,253 automobiles and 112,271 motorcycles across all its brands.
The first car which BMW successfully produced and the car which launched BMW on the road to automobile production was the Dixi, it was based on the Austin 7 and licensed from the Austin Motor Company in Birmingham, England.
Daimler is a German multinational automotive corporation. It is headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
By unit sales, it is the 13th-largest car manufacturer and second-largest truck manufacturer in the world. In addition to automobiles, Daimler manufactures buses and provides financial services through its Daimler Financial Services arm.
The company also owns major stakes in aerospace group EADS, high-technology and parent company of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racing team McLaren Group (which currently is in the process of becoming a fully independent stand-alone corporate entity, and Japanese truck maker Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation.
Daimler produces cars and trucks under the brands of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, Freightliner and many others.
Toyota Motor Corporation is a multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. In 2010, Toyota employed 317,734 people worldwide, and was the world’s largest automobile manufacturer in 2010 by production.
Toyota is the ninth-largest company in the world by revenue.
The company was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father’s company Toyota Industries to create automobiles.
Three years earlier, in 1934, while still a department of Toyota Industries, it created its first product, the Type A engine, and, in 1936, its first passenger car, the Toyota AA. Toyota Motor Corporation group companies are Toyota (including the Scion brand), Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino Motors, along with several “non-automotive” companies.
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903.
In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK.
Ford’s former UK subsidiaries Jaguar and Land Rover were sold to Tata Motors of India in March 2008. In 2010 Ford sold Volvo to Geely Automobile.
Ford discontinued the Mercury brand after the 2011 model year. The company is controlled by the Ford family, which owns a controlling stake in Ford Motor.
The Hyundai Motor Group is South Korea’s largest automobile manufacturer, the second-largest automaker in Asia after Toyota and the world’s fourth-largest automaker after Toyota, GM, and Volkswagen as of the end of 2010.
The group was formed through the purchase of 51 per cent of South Korea’s second-largest car company, Kia Motors, by Hyundai Motor Company in 1998.
As of July 2, 2011, Hyundai owns 49.2 per cent of Kia Motors. The Hyundai Kia Automotive Group also refers to the group of affiliated companies interconnected by complex shareholding arrangements, with Hyundai Motor Company regarded as the de facto representative of the Group.
It is the third-largest South Korean Chaebol or conglomerate after Samsung Group and LG Group and was previously known as the Hyundai Motor Group.
General Motors Company is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world’s largest automaker, by vehicle unit sales, in 2011.
GM employs 202,000 people and does business in some 157 countries. General Motors produces cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sells and services these vehicles through the following divisions/brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Opel, Vauxhall, and Holden, as well as two joint ventures in China, Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile. GM’s OnStar subsidiary provides vehicle safety, security and information services.
In 2009, the company emerged from a government backed Chapter 11 reorganisation. In 2010, GM made an initial public offering that was one of the world’s top 5 largest IPOs to date.
GM has reported significant profits, posting a record annual profit in 2011.
Honda Motor Company is a Japanese public multinational corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.
Honda has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year.
Honda surpassed Nissan in 2001 to become the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer.
As of August 2008, Honda surpassed Chrysler as the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the United States. Honda was the seventh largest automobile manufacturer in the world behind Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Group, Ford, and Nissan in 2010.
Honda was the first Japanese automobile manufacturer to release a dedicated luxury brand, Acura, in 1986. Aside from their core automobile and motorcycle businesses, Honda also manufactures garden equipment, marine engines, personal watercraft and power generators, amongst others.
Nissan Motor Company is a multinational automaker headquartered in Japan. It was a core member of the Nissan Group, but has become more independent after its restructuring under Carlos Ghosn (CEO).
Nissan was the sixth-largest automaker in the world behind Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Group, and Ford in 2010.
It formerly marketed vehicles under the “Datsun” brand name. As of 2011, the company’s global headquarters is located in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. In 1999, Nissan entered a two way alliance with Renault of France, which owns 43.4 per cent of Nissan while Nissan holds 15 per cent of Renault shares, as of 2008.
Along with its normal range of models, Nissan also produces a range of luxury models branded as Infiniti.
Renault is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans, tanks, and also buses/coaches.
Its alliance with Nissan makes it fourth-largest automotive group. Together Renault and Nissan are leading electric car development among major car companies, investing $5.16 billion in eight electric vehicles over the next three to four years.
Headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, Renault owns the Romanian automaker Automobile Dacia and the Korean automaker Renault Samsung Motors.
Renault also owns subsidiaries RCI Banque (providing automotive financing) and Motrio (automotive parts). Renault Trucks, previously Renault Vehicules Industriels, has been part of Volvo Trucks since 2001.
Renault Agriculture became 100 per cent owned by German agricultural equipment manufacturer CLAAS in 2008.