Brits still tighten the lugnuts and stitch the leather. The pride is still resident in the United Kingdom. In some ways, so much has changed. Viewed another way, the story hasn’t been altered.
Lotus. Aston Martin. Bentley. Rolls-Royce. Rover. Jaguar. Land Rover. These are the most prominent automotive badges that Britain exports in 2008. In most cases, “export” is even the proper terms, as mentioned in line one of this post. The difference now is simply the Indian influence that wasn’t present previously.
Interestingly, the new owner of Jaguar and Land Rover, Tata Motors, held some sway in Britain before. Rover sold its own version of the Tata Indica. Rover and Land Rover are terribly separate now, but use of the term ironic is awfully appropriate.
Rover’s pieces are in Chinese hands. Of course, it was British at its beginning and the rights to its name are now in Tata’s hands. Yes, it strikes as obvious that a country that was once in British hands now holds not just one, but three of the UK’s most famous automotive fixtures. Even Honda (Japan) once held some measure of control over Rover, long before Germany’s BMW had complete control and botched the whole shebang.
Asia and Germany are in quite the battle to dominate the British brand marketplace, come to think of it. Lotus is a member of Proton’s little empire. That’d be Proton, the Malaysian manufacturer of the Satria, which has been showcased here on GoodCarBadCar. Land Rover and Jaguar were bought for a tidy sum by a massive Indian conglomerate. Rolls-Royce and Bentley were caught in the midst of a humourous German battle. BMW owns the former (as well as Mini); Volkswagen the latter. Oh, and don’t forget that Aston Martin is heavily backed by a group of Kuwaiti investors.
Where does that leave American involvement? After Ford Motor Company’s recent dismissal of Jaguar and Land Rover and last year’s dropping of Aston Martin, major American shareholding is considered a thing of the past with equally large British motor companies. General Motors and Lotus? Nope. Not anymore.