- Many car brands sold today are subsidiaries of much larger companies, and the same is true for some of the most expensive, luxurious, and high-performance supercars available.
- The Volkswagen Group, for example, owns Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Bugatti.
- A select few supercar brands, though, don’t have larger automotive parent companies.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Judging by the sheer number of different marques on the road, one might think there are dozens upon dozens of car companies vying for our business.
In large part, however, many new cars are sold by a handful of huge conglomerates, and the same goes for even the fanciest of ultra-luxury and supercar makers – no matter how low their production volumes or how prestigious their names.
Whether you buy a car from Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, or Buick, that car actually comes from General Motors. Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Jeeps, and Dodges, likewise, fall under the much larger Fiat Chrysler blanket. Counterintuitively, the same is true of the most luxurious, expensive, and powerful vehicles money can buy.
Read on to learn which larger companies own the likes of Bentley, Bugatti, and Rolls-Royce, and which brands are truly independent.
Foto: The Aston Martin DB11.sourceHollis Johnson
Aston Martin is renowned for its luxurious and powerful sports cars and grand tourers, and the brand’s DB series has been James Bond’s preferred set of wheels since theearly 1960s. Aston has changed hands multiple timessince its foundingin 1913, and, via theBBC, Ford took a 75% stake in 1987 before taking full control a few years later.
Foto: The Bentley Bentayga.sourceHollis Johnson/Business Insider
Bentley Motors, founded by W.O. Bentley in 1919, has been a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998. Rolls-Royce, currently Bentley’s biggest rival, owned Bentley for several decades, starting in 1931.
Foto: The Bugatti Chiron.sourceHollis Johnson
Founded in 1909, Bugatti manufactured lots of successful race cars for decades, but stopped production in the 1950s. The Bugatti marque was revived as a maker of super-fast, limited-production sports cars with the introduction of the EB110 in 1991.
The Volkswagen Group bought the brand in 1998, and still owns it today.
Foto: The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso.sourceHollis Johnson
The first car built with the Ferrari badge, the 125 S, arrived in 1947. Ferrari entertained merger talks with Ford in the early 1960s, as you might remember from the movie “Ford v. Ferrari,” but those ultimately failed. In 1969,Fiat took a 50% stake in Ferrari, and in the 1980s, that stake increased to 90%.
In 2016, Fiat Chrysler separated from Ferrari. Like Aston Martin, it remains without a large automotive parent company.
Foto: The Lamborghini Urus.sourceHollis Johnson/Business Insider
Automobili Lamborghini was foundedin 1963, and has changed owners a few times in its 50-plus-year history. Ferruccio Lamborghini sold control of his company in 1972, and the company was later owned by Chrysler from 1987 through 1994.
Lamborghini became part of the Volkswagen Group in 1998, the same year as Bugatti did, and remains there today.
Foto: The Maserati Levante.sourceHollis Johnson
The Maserati brothers built their first car in 1926, and sold their company to an Italian entrepreneur just 11 years later. The French manufacturer Citroën took a controlling stake in Maseratiin the late 1960s, and the brand eventually fell into the hands of Fiat, where itremains today.
Foto: The McLaren 720S.sourceHollis Johnson
Formula One driver Bruce McLaren founded McLaren Automotive in 1963to develop race cars.In 1992, McLaren released the F1, a three-seat supercar lauded for its performance and central seating position for the driver.
While the company has collaborated with Mercedes-Benzin the past – most notably to produce the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren – it isn’t owned by any major parent companies.
Foto: Porsche 911 GT3 RS.sourceHollis Johnson/Business Insider
Porsche, perhaps best known for its 911 sports car, got its start in 1948as the brainchild of automotive designer Ferdinand Porsche.
Today, Porsche is owned by the Volkswagen Group, along with Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini.
Foto: The Rolls-Royce Phantom.sourceHollis Johnson
Henry Royce built his first car in 1904, and linked up with Charles Rolls to found Rolls-Roycein 1906.
Rolls-Royce was bought in 1998by the Volkswagen Group, which, embarrassingly, neglected to acquire the rightsto the Rolls-Royce name. BMW bought those rights that same year, and took over production of Rolls-Royce cars in 2003.