"Consolidation" is a process through which companies working in the same industry merge, giving birth to conglomerates with many brands and massive economic power. This happens quite often in the world of business and commerce, usually when a larger group absorbs smaller competitors either in a certain market or on a global scale. This process can be observed everywhere from show business (just think of the highly publicized Disney-Fox deal) to food production and distribution, fashion, electronics, and everything else. Consolidation is an ongoing process in the automotive industry as well. The makers of some of the world's most reliable cars may appear as different brands but behind the scenes, they are members of the very same group. Here are the biggest companies that dominate the automotive industry today.
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is the fifth biggest carmaker in the world. It is known by many names: Ford, Lincoln (an American luxury brand) and Troller, an offroad brand from Brazil. It has more than 210,000 employees around the world and has produced more than 5.5 million automobiles in 2008.
General Motors (GM) is an American multinational car manufacturer with its headquarters in Detroit, founded in 1908. It is the biggest automaker in America and the fourth largest in the world, with brands like Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick under its umbrella. Plus, it holds a controlling interest in foreign brands like Holden (Australia), Wuling, Baojun, and Jiefang (China).
Hyundai Motor Company
Hyundai Motor Company is the third best-selling car manufacturer, with its headquarters (and the largest integrated auto plant) in South Korea. The group operates under the brands of Hyundai, Kia (the second-largest car manufacturer in South Korea) and Genesis, a luxury brand introduced in 2015. Together, these brands sell enough for Hyundai to become the third largest car manufacturer in the world.
Toyota Motor Corporation is perhaps the biggest automaker in the world. It has many commercial and personal brands under its umbrella – the best-known are Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu, Ranz (electric), and Hino. It also holds a stake in brands like Subaru, Isuzu, and many others.
The brand's products are well-known for being reliable and versatile, and they are also innovative – just think of the Prius hybrid, the highest-selling plug-in hybrid in the world.
Together, Toyota and Volkswagen deliver almost a quarter of all cars sold in the world in a year.
Volkswagen Group is a German multinational automotive group with many well-known brands under its umbrella. It covers everything from engine design and manufacturing to financials, leasing, and fleet management. It is the world's largest automaker by sales – it has kept its position even despite the resounding "Dieselgate" scandal.
Volkswagen has many commercial and personal automotive brands in its portfolio: it owns Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, half of Porsche, Ducati, Seat, Škoda, and commercial vehicle brands like MAN, Scania, and Traton, the company's heavy commercial vehicle branch.