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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top 10 Car Companies

10. Volkswagen

► Country : Germany
► Headquarters : Wolfsburg  


► Brands : Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, SEAT, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche, Scania, MAN, Ducati

► Introduction : Volkswagen has been the largest car maker in Europe since the 1970s. It also has the largest assembly plant (Wolfsburg) and best selling car (Golf) in Europe. 

Being a German company, Volkswagen group positions its brands at the premium part of the market - Audi is mass premium, Volkswagen is semi-premium while Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti are prestige marques. Only the Spannish SEAT and Czech Skoda target at the lower end of the market, but they still share the high quality and engineering standard of the group because of extensive platform and component sharing.

9. Porsche

► Country : Germany
► Headquarters: Zuffenhausen of Stuttgart


► Brands : Porsche

► Introduction : Porsche is by far the largest sports car maker in the world. In recent years it enjoyed the highest profit margin in the industry, thus enabled it to acquire the giant Volkswagen group. However, the global financial collapse ruined its takeover plan, eventually resulted in counter takeover by Volkswagen.

8. Rolls-Royce

► Country : UK
► Headquarters and factory : Goodwood, UK.


► Brands : Rolls-Royce

► Intoduction : For almost a century, Rolls-Royce was seen as the most prestigous luxurious car brand in the world. Although engineering is no match for giant rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce is renowned for craftsmanship. It emphasized that its assembly is taking by experienced human hands with intensive care and using the most expensive materials in traditional British way. For that reason, Rolls-Royce cars are huge, heavyweight and ultra-expensive, targetting at only the richest people in the world.

Compare to Volkswagen's approach to Bentley, BMW's plan for Rolls-Royce is more loyal to the core values of RR. It maintained the market positioning, the styling and character of traditional Rolls-Royce. However, the conservative approach resulted in less sales than expected. Today it is still searching for ways to return the investment made by its parent company.

7. Bugatti

► Country : France
► Headquarters and factory: Molsheim, France.


► Brands : Bugatti

► Introduction : One of the most prestigous names in automotive history, Bugatti was resurrected by Volkswagen group in 1998. Today, it builds only one car, Veyron EB16.4, in the original site where Ettore Bugatti founded the company a century ago. Design and engineering are done in Germany by its parent company.

6. Ford

► Country : USA
► Headquarters: Dearborn (near Detroit), Michigan.


► Brands : Ford,Lincoln

► Introduction : Ford had long been the No. 2 car maker in the world behind GM. However, in recent years it followed the declining trend of American auto industry and gradually slipped behind Toyota (in 2005) and Volkswagen (in 2007). 

Ford operates 2 brands in its home market - Ford is for the majority people while Lincoln is the luxury brand. However, Ford did not have the required money to develop Lincoln, therefore most of its cars are usually badge-engineered versions of Ford. 

Ford’s European operation and Australia arm have their own production and car development program independent of Detroit. The former is one of the European big 6 while the latter is struggling to retain its R&D and production independence. Ford used to own a third of Mazda, but in recent years it is offloading most stakes in the Japanese company and decoupling its product programs from the latter.

5. Audi

► Country : Germany
► Headquarters: Ingolstadt 


► Brands : Audi,Lamborghini

► Introduction : Audi is the jewel of the crown within Volkswagen group as well as the driving force of growth. Until the mid-1990s, Audi cars were still seen as poor man's Mercedes or BMWs. However, since the 1996 A4 and then the head-turning TT, Audi has established itself as a leader in style and quality. Its technology also shines in powerful turbocharged engines, quattro 4WD, aluminum spaceframe chassis and advanced transmissions. Now Audi has become a strong premium brand like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

4. Mercedes-Benz

► Country : Germany
► Headquarters: Stuttgart


► Brands : Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Maybach

► Introduction : The name of Daimler is quite confusing. It used to be "Daimler-Benz", named after the two founders of the company, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz. In 1998, it merged with Chrysler and was therefore renamed to DaimlerChrysler. Following their divorce in 2007, the Germany company changed its name to "Daimler", losing the name of one of its co-founders.

Even more confusing is that Daimler never marketed its cars under its own name, because Jaguar holds the rights of the Daimler name due to some historical reasons. Instead, Daimler always sells its cars as "Mercedes-Benz", which is totally irrelevant to the group name now.

Daimler or Mercedes-Benz, it is the oldest car maker in the world and has long been the benchmark of mass production premium cars. Its truck division is the largest in the world.

3. Lamborghini

► Country : Italy
► Headquarters and factory: Sant'Agata, Bolognese, near Modena.


► Brands : Lamborghini

► Introduction : Lamborghini is the only sport car brand can rival the prestige status of Ferrari. In many ways, it is even more exotic than Ferrari in the eyes of car lovers, thanks to the loss-making supercars it produced throughout its 40 years history - Miura, Countach, Diablo and Murcielago. Lamborghini has proven itself as the biggest headache to Enzo Ferrari because there is hardly a flagship Ferrari without a Bull to compete with.

Financial instability used to limit the success of Lamborghini. However, since acquired by Audi in 1998, it has been growing stronger and stronger. Thanks to Audi's quality standard, new generation of Lamborghinis no longer suffer quality problems like their predecessors. The cars are also made easier to live with. The addition of the smaller Gallardo allowed Lamborghini to target at a volume in excess of 2000 units, which brought financial stability to Sant'Agata for the first time.

2. BMW

► Country : Germany
► Headquarters: Munich


► Brands : BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce. (Unused brands: Triumph, Riley)

► Introduction : BMW is currently the largest premium car maker in the world, although Mercedes-Benz and Audi are not far behind. For decades, the Munich company has been renowned for making good driver's cars, therefore until today it still insists to use rear-wheel drive (or 4WD) in its cars. As rivals are catching up, it emphasizes more on advanced technology and efficient dynamics in recent years. 

To expand to cheaper segments, where front-wheel drive is a must, BMW purchased Rover in 1994. It failed to turn around the British company, but it kept the MINI brand when it sold Rover in 2000. With adequate design and engineering, the reborn MINI has become the most successful new product line from BMW in years, more so than its own 1-Series.

In comparison, the investment in another British marque, Rolls-Royce, seems less successful. Although it got favourable comments from the press, it is still struggling to meet its sales target. 

1. Ferrari

► Country : Itlay
► Headquarters, R&D and factory: Maranello, Modena.


► Brands : Ferrari

► Introduction : Undoubtedly, Ferrari is the most famous sports car manufacturer in the world. This is not only due to its unmatchable success in Formula 1 racing history, but also the fabulous road cars it built through the years. Ferrari cars are renowned for sexy looks and spectacular speed. Since the 1990s they are also reasonably user friendly and reliable. In addition to their rarity and heritage, it is easy to see why Ferrari is the most sought after sports car marque from millionaires.

By : Super Modified Sports Cars & Automotive News

Posted by : Shahen Tharammal

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