Curiosity

This Chart Traces 150 Years Of Car Brand History

This is interesting!

All right, gearheads: are you wild with curiosity about the history of your favorite car? Got some time to kill? A massive flowchart released by British website LeasingOptions shows the various mergers, alliances and acquisitions of famous car brands since the late 19th century.

As LeasingOptions points out, only a handful of automakers now build many of the most popular brands. That’s because car companies and brands are always getting bought, sold and shuffled around. When the 20th century started, most of these brands didn’t even exist. Only seven of the listed manufacturers arrived in 1900 or earlier. But as time went on, new companies started up and joined forces with the others.

Nowadays, some surprising names link up together. Did you know that Bentleys and Lamborghinis — heritage brands that scream of wealth and luxury — are manufactured by The Volkswagen Group?

Niche sports car maker Lotus, while manufactured in the UK, is owned by Chinese auto giant Geely Automotive Holdings Limited. Volvo, a name synonymous with sober-minded Swedish design, is also a Geely brand. Many Volvos are built in China, too, though there are still plants in Europe.

volvo photo
Getty Images | Robert Hradil

One thing we found interesting was to trace the very few automakers who’ve never joined with another manufacturer. Subaru, for example, rolled its first cars off the line in 1953 and is still going strong today (full disclosure: I love my old, beat-up Forester). Suzuki and Mazda have been on their own for even longer — starting in 1909 and 1920, respectively.

Tesla, the popular electric-car maker, is still an independent company. Founded in 2003, it’s one of the youngest, too. The newest brand on the chart is Genesis, Hyundai’s upmarket label that started in 2015.

See? Look at all these things I’ve learned in just a few minutes of poking around. This thing is a trivia lover’s dream. If you’re ready to learn more about the history behind the hood ornaments, take a look. The full chart is below:

Do you love cars? What have you learned about your vehicle’s history on this chart?