UK Car Industry – how many British Brands are truly British?

UK Car Industry – how many British Brands are truly British?

After tapping into endless debates on Twitter about the UK car industry and which brands are “British”, I decided to do the research and settle the debate once and for all. My aim was to look at ultimate ownership and control of UK brands to work out which were truly British, and which fly under a flag of convenience.

British Brands & the UK Car Industry

To determine whether a brand is British, I use the origins of the marque and whether it is still producing vehicles. If assembly of the final vehicle occurs in the UK then it is part of the UK car industry, and a British Brand.

To determine whether the brand was British Owned, I use who has final controlling ownership and where that entity is located.

For example, Rolls Royce Cars is a UK based limited company that assembles cars in England. However, it is 100% owned by BMW, which is German. Therefore it is a British Brand, but not British owned.

Aston MartinFloated on London Stock Exchange. Owners include Prestige Motor SA (Luxembourg), Adeem (Kuwaiti)Assembled in the UK.
BentleyOwned by Volkswagen.Assembled in Crewe, UK
CaterhamOwned by 3 businessmen from South East AsiaAssembled in the UK
Jaguar Land RoverOwned by TataAssembly takes place worldwide, depending on model and market
London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC)Owned by Geely (Chinese)Assembled in UK
Lotus CarsOwned by Geely (Chinese)Assembled in UK
McLarenMajority owned by sovereign wealth fund from Bahrain.Manufactured in the UK.
MGOwned by Chinese state motor company SAICSome R&D takes place in UK, with production in China and Thailand.
MINIOwned by BMW.Assembly takes place worldwide, depending on the market.
MorganMajority owned by Investindustrial (Italy) with Morgan family still engagedManufactured in the UK.
Rolls RoyceOwned by BMW.Assembled in the UK
RoverOwned by TataCurrently a dormant brand.
VauxhallWholly owned subsidiary of Opel, now owned by Peugeot.Astra and some engines are built in the UK. Vauxhall is exclusive to the UK as a brand.


This page was ported over from Dalmeny Close on 20/12/2019.

The PSA / Fiat Chrysler merger hasn’t been referenced as they’ve not completed their merger.

Dyson has been removed after their decision to abandon car production.

Although Aston Martin floated on the stock exchange, my research suggests it is still majority controlled by Prestige and Adeem.

Non-British Brands Manufacturing in the UK

The majority of car assembly is undertaken by Japanese manufacturers. The forthcoming withdrawal of Honda from the UK will leave only Toyota and Nissan operating in the UK, although Toyota will assemble vehicles on behalf of Suzuki to maximise their production line.

Ford also operates in the UK, manufacturing engines and carrying out some R&D. Since the sale of Opel to Peugeot, General Motors has no UK operations, nor any presence in the EU markets.

Polestar, the Volvo performance off-shoot, is investing in an R&D centre in the UK. There will be no manufacturing in the country.

FordUSOnly engines are manufactured in the UK. R&D Facility in Dunton
HondaJapanesePlant in Swindon to be closed
NissanJapaneseAssembly occurs in Sunderland
SuzukiJapaneseHas announced a sharing arrangement with Toyota for their Derby Plant
ToyotaJapaneseAssembly occurs in Derbyshire

I will update this from time to time, particularly if there are new developments in the UK car industry.

About Ross A Hall

A business researcher and writer, I help companies find new markets, form strategies and build successful businesses.

Find out more about my work.

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