Red Marlin’s guide…to car brand families 

With today being the first of September, many motorists will be looking forward to getting their hands on the keys to their new car. With that, there will be plenty of savvy drivers taking to the forecourt, looking to pick up a used car bargain over the next few weeks. Some people will already know what they would like to upgrade to, but many others will spend hours trawling through the classifieds and get confused.

SEAT and Volkswagen are the same car, right? The automotive family tree is…complicated, to say the least. Over the past decade or so, there have been numerous partnerships, brand mergers, sales, and breakups. As manufacturers look to prioritise their business needs and ambitions, the question people are asking themselves is…who owns who? 

Below, you will be able to find out which car brand is owned by their parent corporation. 


Volkswagen Group (VAG) 

The German manufacturer has a long and colourful history. Founded in 1937, Volkswagen was designed to mobilise the German population – also holding the claim to the longest-running and most manufactured car of all time – the Beetle. Now the Volkswagen Group produces some of the most popular, most exclusive, and most desirable cars on the planet.  

VAG consists of nine car brands and Ducati (famously a brand of Motorcycles), ranging from mass market, volume vehicles, to premium sports and supercars. Among the nine brands you have: 

  • Volkswagen (VW) 
  • Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles 
  • Skoda 
  • SEAT 
  • Cupra 
  • AUDI 
  • Lamborghini 
  • Bentley 
  • Porsche 
  • Ducati (Motorcycle) 

With such a large portfolio of brands, there’s a good chance you, a friend or family member has owned a VW group car. 



Wasn’t Stellantis a 90s Drum & Bass group? Unfortunately, they were not – Stellantis is the new kid on the block, backed up with some rich heritage. In early 2021, there was a merger deal between PSA (formerly PEUGEOT Citroën, Groupe PSA) and FCA (FIAT Chrysler Automobiles), becoming Stellantis – firmly a crowd favourite, offering sharp angular vehicle design, dynamic vehicle handling and a reasonable price point. With a total of 16 brands, below is a list of vehicle manufacturers which make up the Stellantis group (in alphabetical order): 

  • Abarth 
  • Alfa Romeo 
  • Chrysler 
  • Citroën 
  • Dodge 
  • DS 
  • FIAT 
  • FIAT Professional 
  • Jeep 
  • Lancia 
  • Maserati 
  • Mopar 
  • Opel 
  • Ram 
  • Vauxhall 


Groupe Renault 

Fun fact – FCA initially approached the Renault group looking to enter a 50/50 ownership agreement, but difficulties surrounding shareholder structure and concerns from the French government which owns a 15 per cent stake quickly put the brakes on the deal. 

One of the most renowned French car brands, Renault group is one of the powerhouses of the automotive industry. Selling cars all around the world, the company has a rich portfolio of marques spanning every automotive class. 

  • Infiniti  
  • Mitsubishi  
  • Nissan  
  • Renault 



Toyota is one of the most recognisable car brands in the world, becoming the class leader in the hybrid market, producing tens of millions of vehicles per year. One of Toyota’s hallmarks is its strong reliability and customer satisfaction. While Toyota may be seen to produce mass-market vehicles, they do have a luxury brand within the Toyota umbrella, in the form of Lexus.  



Lexus is the largest-selling brand of luxury vehicles in Japan. Lexus (regularly mistaken for meaning Luxury Export to United States) is often credited for its modern, sleek and futuristic designs, making it one of the firm favourites within the executive sectors. 



Also, within the Toyota umbrella, you’d be forgiven for not necessarily recognising Daihatsu (unless you’re a car nut). A popular brand within the Asian market and the oldest Japanese manufacturer of internal combustion engines – the brand is more commonly known for its range of small, passenger and off-road vehicles. However, as of 2013, Daihatsu no longer export vehicles to the European markets due to economic factors.  



Another German powerhouse, Daimler, sells its vehicles under the more popular brand of Mercedes-Benz. The brand also boasts to be the world’s oldest manufacturer, known for its premium vehicles. They also own: 

  • Smart  
  • Maybach (now Mercedes-Maybach) 


Honourable mentions 

There are plenty of other vehicle manufacturers who own other brands:  

  • BMW owns MINI and Rolls Royce.  
  • Hyundai owns Kia and Genesis.  
  • TATA, the biggest car brand in India, own Jaguar Land Rover. 
  •  Geely, a Chinese car brand which focuses on producing and selling cars in China, owns Volvo and Lotus. 

With current rates of developments within the automotive sector, car brands may very quickly change hands once again, as manufacturers look to reprioritise, slim down their portfolio, or expand into new markets – on the other hand, some families may become a whole lot bigger.  



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