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Bugatti, Volvo, Beemer, Citroen: what gives?


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So as not to steal Lookin's thread, have you ever analyzed the different "strengths" of European car companies? Why is it, for example, that Norwegian/Swedish (Volvo & Saab) pursue "safety;" Germans (BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen) pursue Autobahn "performance;" Italians (Bugatti, Lamborghini, etc.) pursue exotica; and the French pursue shit?

 

Ever driven a Citroen? You'll wish DeGaulle had stayed in Britain. x(

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>So as not to steal Lookin's thread, have you ever analyzed

>the different "strengths" of European car companies?

> Why is it, for example, that Norwegian/Swedish (Volvo &

>Saab) pursue "safety;" Germans (BMW, Mercedes,

>Volkswagen) pursue Autobahn "performance;" Italians

>(Bugatti, Lamborghini, etc.) pursue exotica; and the French

>pursue shit?

 

But at the same time, how many of these companies truly belong to the countries cited? Saab is GM and Volvo is Ford (remembering that I'm suddenly less interested in the XC60). And Volkswagen owns half the notable brands.

 

BMW owns:

-BMW

-Mini

-Rolls Royce

 

Chrysler owns:

-AMC (brand discontinued -- Chrysler bought AMC primarily for the Jeep brand which was owned by AMC)

-Chrysler

-Dodge

-Eagle (brand discontinued)

-Jeep

-Plymouth (brand discontinued)

 

Daimler/Chrysler owns:

-Chrysler (small percentage)

-Maybach

-Mercedes-Benz

-Smart

 

Fiat owns:

-Alfa Romeo

-Ferrari

-Fiat

-Lancia

-Maserati

 

Ford owns:

-Aston Martin (SALE PENDING)

-Ford

-Jaguar

-Land Rover (bought from BMW)

-Lincoln

-Mazda (Ford owns 33% of Mazda)

-Mercury

-Volvo cars

 

Fuji Heavy Industries owns:

-Subaru

 

General Motors owns:

-Buick

-Cadillac

-Chevrolet

-Daewoo (GM owns 44%)

-Fiat (GM has decided to divorce itself from Fiat as of Feb '05, but will retain 10% ownership.)

-GMC

-Holden

-Hummer

-Oldsmobile (brand discontinued)

-Opel

-Pontiac

-Saab

-Saturn

-Suzuki (2.5%, from 20%)

-Vauxhall

 

Honda owns:

-Acura

-Honda

 

Hyundai owns:

-Hyundai

-Kia

 

Isuzu owns:

-Isuzu

(Mitsubishi Corp., Itochu Corp. and Mizuho Corporate Bank owns part of Isuzu.)

 

Mitsubishi Corp. owns:

-Isuzu (13.6%)

-Mitsubishi Motors Corp (13%)

 

Nissan owns:

-Infiniti

-Nissan

-Renault (Nissan owns 15%)

 

PSA Peugeot Citroen owns:

-Citroen

-Peugeot

 

Porsche owns:

-Porsche

-VW (~31%)

 

Renault owns:

-Nissan (Renault owns 44%)

 

Toyota owns:

-Daihatsu (~51%)

-Fuji Heavy Industries -- Subaru (Toyota owns ~20%. Toyota bought this from GM in late 2005. )

-Isuzu (5.9%, announced 7 Nov. 2006)

-Lexus

-Scion

-Toyota

 

Volkswagen owns:

-Audi

-Bentley

-Bugatti

-Lamborghini

-SEAT

-Skoda

-Volkswagen

 

http://carscarscars.blogs.com/index/2004/03/who_owns_who.html

 

Any car buffs here who don't watch the UK series Top Gear somewhere online are really missing out, by the way.

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Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors of India if I remember correctly. Volvo is up for sale with no takers.

 

At one time GM owned a portion of Isuzu but sold that stake in the 1990s.

 

I'm a big fan of the BBC series Top Gear and wish we had something similar in the US. However, I'm relieved that NBC has decided not to produce the show here in the states. They were going to have Adam Carolla as host and no doubt would have turned the show in to some game show type of mess that would not have been about the cars. Another issue was the advertiser support needed and fears that negative reviews would piss off the car companies. The BBC is now shopping the format to various cable networks.

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I agree that sometimes the French have a great idea but the execution leaves something to be desired. The Germans do well on both fronts. But French engineers did develop front-wheel drive, I believe, at Citroen and also I always thought their hydraulic suspension on the Citroen was cool. When the car was jacked up, it looked like a lady lifting her skirts over a puddle. When the Citroen DL (I believe that was the model description) came out in 1958 or so, it was the most modern car of its time and put the American chrome dinosaurs in the shade. It also went very fast. The only decent British cars, unfortunately, always cost more than the average house over here. The Nordic were mostly safe but boring.

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My error for not make it clear that I do watch the program on BBC America. What I meant was a that it's unfortunate that we don't have a decent US version of the program. Australia has it's own version of Top Gear which follows the same format with just a bit of teaking for the local flavor.

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