Top 10 Automobile Brands in United Kingdom (UK) 2016

Published in Top Brands category by MBA Skool Team , Last Updated: June 17, 2016

UK is one of the most development markets for cars and automobiles. Some of the leading brands have a strong foothold in the British automobile market. The top car & automobile brands in UK include BMW, Ford, Mercedes Benz and Audi, followed by Volkswagen, Jaguar-Land Rover, Nissan, General Motors, Toyota and Renault. Here is the list of the top 10 automobile companies in UK 2016.

10. Renault

Renault is a French automobile maker which manufactures vehicles for commercial and utility purposes.

Image: pixabay

The company has its headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, and as a group operates mainly because of its alliances and stakes in other companies. In South Korea, it manufactures vehicles in association with Samsung, AvtoVAZ in Russia, and Dacia automobile in Romania etc.

It has stakes in Nissan, Daimler, and Volvo. Carlos Ghosn is the current Chief Executive Officer of the group. The French government owns about fifteen percent stake in the company. It is a public company and is traded on the Euro Next Stock Exchange.

Renault was founded by Louis Renault and his brothers in the year 1899. They started building vehicles and became popular as taxi vehicles in France. Later the company started building tractors, buses and trucks for commercial purposes. They have also built engines for aircrafts during the World War period. In 1990s, Renault signed agreements with Volvo to share their technological expertise. There were talks to merge both Volvo and Renault but shareholders of Volvo rejected it. The company was then looking for alliances when it found Nissan. Nissan was in deep financial crisis at that time. The Renault-Nissan alliance is considered one of the successful in the business world. The alliance is said to sell one out of ten cars sold throughout the world. The alliance entered into an agreement with Russia’s biggest selling car brand AvtoVAZ thus capturing the Russian market.

Renault also takes active part in motor racing events and develops engines for many teams. The company has its own Formula One team. It organises and sponsors Formula One racing events by itself. It is the leader in sales of electric car vehicles in Europe. Some of the successful passenger car models of Renault are Clio and Migane. In India, Renault had an alliance with Mahindra and Mahindra.

Number of Units Sold: 128269

Revenue (million $): 2386.56

Profit before tax (million $): 172.22

9. Toyota

Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese automaker which sells its vehicles worldwide.


The company has its headquarters in Aichi, Japan, and is the first company in the world to have produced ten million vehicles in a year. It is the biggest listed company in Japan in terms of market capitalisation or in terms of revenue. The company is listed on both Tokyo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. The company went public in the year 1949. Akio Toyota is the current Chief Executive Officer.

Toyota was founded in the year 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda which was a spin off from its father’s business. The company produces and markets its vehicles under five brands namely, Lexus, Scion, Hino, Ranz and Toyota. The company also has joint ventures and holds stakes in companies like Isuzu, Daihatsu, Yamaha, Tesla, Sichuan. In India, it has a joint venture with Kirloskar group. The company also has a financial services division.

Toyota Production Systems, Just In Time and Lean Manufacturing are the words that strike one’s mind when talked about Toyota. The Japanese company uses a very different way of production called Just In Time production system that reduces flow time and minimises waste. This helped the Japanese automakers to give a stiff competition to United States automakers in 1980s. Toyota is also the world’s leader in sales of hybrid electrical vehicles under the brand name Prius. It is also actively involved in producing hydrogen fuel cell engines. Toyota also manufactures and sells luxury cars under its Lexus brand, trucks and buses. It also sponsors many racing events worldwide. The company supports a number of philanthropic activities in Japan.

Number of Units Sold: 99062

Revenue (million $): 2388.43

Profit before tax (million $): 250.87

8. General Motors

General Motors (commonly referred to as GM) is an American automaker which designs, manufactures and sells vehicles, vehicle components worldwide.

Image: flickr-photos/thecarspy/

The company has its headquarters in Michigan, United States, and the company has about thirteen brands under its belt and a number of joint ventures with companies across the world. Some of its famous brands include Vauxhall, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Opel, GMC, Alpheon etc. It is a publicly listed company and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Mary Barra is the current Chief Executive Officer.

General Motors was formed in 1908 by William Clark Durant and few others. He later acquired other automobile companies and built GM as a strong brand in America. The company had led global auto sales for almost 80 years starting from 1930. In 2009, the company went bankrupt and was backed by United States government. Later that year, the company announced an IPO and returned to profitability the next year. GM operates with the brand names Opel and Vauxhall in Europe, Buick and Wuling in China. GM also has a financial services division.

General Motors had also participated in a number of racing and sporting events till now. GM has also taken many initiatives to conserve environment. Most of its production wastes are either refilled or recycled. General Motors is the first company in automobile world to introduce an all- electric vehicle. It was also the first company to try out a hydrogen fuel cell to power up the engine. GM and Honda had an agreement to mass produce hydrogen fuel cells to be used in vehicles by 2020. Currently, GM ranks no.1 in hydrogen fuel cell technology. General Motors also has a seven percent stake in Europe based automobile company, PSA Peugeot.

Number of Units Sold: 312000

Revenue (million $): 5178.04

Profit before tax (million $): -225.07

7. Nissan

Nissan motor company is a Japanese automobile manufacturer with a worldwide presence.

Image: flickr-photos/falcon_33/

The company’s headquarters are located in Yokohama, Japan, and the company markets and sells its brands under the names Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun. It is a publicly listed company and is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Carlos Ghosn is the current Chief Executive Officer. In 1934, Yoshisuke Aikwa founded Nissan Motor Company and became operational from 1935 after the construction of its own manufacturing plant. It started expanding into foreign territories with its Datsun brand by making changes to match the local needs. The 1973 oil crisis also helped Nissan and other Japanese automakers since their engines were fuel efficient and the cars were small. The U.S automakers were not able to match these specifications at a faster rate. This led the Japanese automakers including Nissan to expand into other countries rapidly.

In 1999, Nissan faced severe financial problems. It then entered into an alliance with the French automaker Renault. The Renault-Nissan alliance is considered one of the successful in the business world. The alliance is said to sell one out of ten cars sold throughout the world. The alliance entered into an agreement with Russia’s biggest selling car brand AvtoVAZ thus capturing the Russian market. In India, Nissan has a joint venture with Ashok Leyland producing commercial vehicles. The company is also known for producing sports cars under the brand name GT. The Nismo division of Nissan produces sports vehicles. In addition to passenger and commercial cars, the company also manufactures and sells trucks and buses. It is also involved in producing electric cars and it holds about forty percent market share in this segment.

Number of Units Sold: 165504

Revenue (million $): 4549.23

Profit before tax (million $): 273.54

6. Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar and Land Rover are two British luxury car manufacturers which were merged to form Jaguar Land Rover in the year 2002.

Image: pixabay

Later the company was bought by Indian conglomerate Tata Motors in the year 2008, and now, Jaguar Land Rover is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors. The company has its headquarters in Whitley, United Kingdom & Ralf Speth is the current Chief Executive Officer. Before the merger of Jaguar and Land Rover, Jaguar was a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company and Land Rover was a subsidiary of BMW Motors. In 2000, Ford acquired Land Rover from BMW and the subsidiary was named Jaguar Land Rover in 2002 by combining both Jaguar and Land Rover divisions. Ford incurred huge losses with the subsidiary and sold it off to Tata Motors in 2008.

After the company was acquired by Tata Motors, it has been in a profit path till now and never incurred losses. It has six manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Jaguar was initially founded as Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922 which was later merged to become British Leyland in 1975. Jaguar also participated in many racing events and won many championships. It also designed engines for many vehicles. On the other hand, Land Rover car design was first formulated in the year 1948 by Rover Company. But the company Land Rover took its shape in 1978. Most of the Land Rover vehicles are also used for military purposes in addition to commercial and passenger needs. According to United Kingdom government estimates, Land Rover is one of the safest vehicles to drive and the accident rate is very minuscule. Land Rover also has a coffee company division.

Number of Units Sold: 100636

Revenue (million $): 6653.4

Profit before tax (million $): 466.47

5. Volkswagen

Volkswagen is a German automaker which manufactures and sells passenger and commercial vehicles under the brand name Volkswagen.

Image: pixabay

The company has its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, and in German language, Volkswagen means “people’s car”. It is a publicly listed company and is traded on Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and Matthias Muller is the current Chief Executive Officer of the company. Volkswagen was founded in 1936. During that time, there were only luxury cars being sold in Germany and only super rich people were able to afford a car. The German Labour Front then created the people’s car; Volkswagen by bringing independent car projects together thus manufacturing Mercedes, Adler, Steyr, Hanomag etc.

Now, the Volkswagen group is also the in charge of brands like Audi, SEAT, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Skoda, and Bentley. The group is the largest automaker in Europe. Among all the car models Volkswagen had sold, Beetle is the most famous. It was one of the highest selling models for Volkswagen so as Mustang is to Ford. Another model is the Golf, which is even now manufactured and sold. The model Polo is also a big hit. Jetta, Scirocco, Passat were other famous models. Volkswagen is famous for its fuel efficient engines.

Volkswagen shares a very interesting relationship with Porsche. Porsche is the company founded by Fedrinand Porsche, one of the members of German National Front. Porsche maintains a stake in Volkswagen group and Volkswagen maintains a stake in Porsche so that no other companies can make a hostile takeover on both companies. Sometimes, it looked as if Porsche tried to take over Volkswagen and there had been many court proceedings as well. Finally, Volkswagen acquired Porsche in 2011.

Number of Units Sold: 521345

Revenue (million $): 11237.66

Profit before tax (million $): -313.52

4. Audi

Audi is a German automaker which manufactures and sells luxury vehicles. The company has its headquarters in Bavaria, Germany.

Image: pixabay

The company also produces sports vehicles and is a very well recognized automobile brand not only in Europe but all across the world. It is a publicly listed company and is traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and Rupert Stadler is the current Chairman of the board of management of the company. Audi means Listen in Latin. In India, the company has a manufacturing plant in Aurangabad.

Audi was originally founded as Auto Union in the year 1932. It was founded by August Horch and two others. The company was renamed to Audi in 1965 when it launched the first Audi car. Audi was formed by merging four independent automakers Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. This merger is symbolised by the company logo consisting of four rings. In 1958, Daimler-Benz took the controlling stake in auto union but after few years, it had to sell off auto union since it lacked profitability. In 1964, Volkswagen acquired about fifty percent stake in auto union. In 1969, auto union merged with NSU motor works, which was then the largest two wheeler manufacturer and was producing small cars. The new merged company was called the Audi NSU.

From 1990s, Audi took a shift in its perspective and started to compete with Mercedes Benz and BMW in the luxury car segment. It has truth in engineering as its tag line. Audi has also developed a technology to produce synthetic diesel using water and carbon dioxide. Audi is also heavily involved in motor sport racing events. Most of the cars with engines designed by Audi won many championships. Audi is also a sponsor for number of football teams.

Number of Units Sold: 166817

Revenue (million $): 6195.9

Profit before tax (million $): 562.14

3. Mercedes Benz

Mercedes-Benz is a German automobile manufacturer and is a division of the company Daimler.

Image: pixabay

Mercedes-Benz is well known for its luxury vehicles, trucks and buses, and is an aspirational brand for people all across the world. The company has its headquarters located in Stuttgart, Germany and the slogan of Mercedes-Benz is “the best or nothing” is recognized across the world. Dieter Zetsche is the current chairman. The company also has a financial services division.

The history of Mercedes-Benz dates back to 1886 when Karl Benz created the first petrol powered car. Gottlieb Daimler also had a helping hand in this. The first Mercedes was marketed by Daimler in 1901. All the cars produced thereafter are well known for their quality and durability. Some of the famous Mercedes-Benz vehicles include the GLC class luxury cars, Sprinter for cargo transportation, Zetros for snow ploughing, Unimog for all type of road conditions etc. Mercedes-Benz also has another brand called Maybach under its portfolio which is known for ultra-luxury cars. In India, it has manufacturing plants in Pune and Chennai.

Mercedes has been associated with Formula one for a long time. It has also won some championships. The famous world champion Michael Schumacher drove for Mercedes team from 2010 to 2012. In addition to that, the company also supplies engines to other formula one teams. Mercedes-Benz sponsors the German National Football team. It is the only automaker to design and manufacture bicycles too. It introduced them in 2005 for fitness and trekking purposes. The company is also involved in the process of launching an all-electric vehicle.

Number of Units Sold: 154000

Revenue (million $): 7415.95

Profit before tax (million $): 701.34

2. Ford

Ford Motor Company is an American automaker which manufactures and sells passenger and commercial vehicles under the brand name Ford.

Image: Wikimedia

The company has its headquarters in Michigan, United States and is a public company and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which not only shows its strong financial position but also it global appeal among car lovers. William Ford is the current Executive Chairman and Mark Fields is the current Chief Executive Officer. Founded by Henry Ford in 1903, the company has a standalone reputation in auto industry. The company was the first to invent a moving assembly line to integrate the car parts. The company went public in 1956. The company today owns many brands like Lincoln, Troller, FPV, Mercury etc. apart from Ford brand. The company also owns stakes in other automobile companies like Aston Martin, Mazda, and Jiangling etc.

It also has joint ventures to support automobile operations in companies present in countries like China, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Russia. The company once owned United Kingdom’s luxury car makers Jaguar and Land Rover but they were sold off to Tata Motors in 2008. The company also owned Volvo till 2010. It also operated luxury car operations under the brand name Mercury till 2011 after which it was discontinued.

Talking about Ford’s cars, Mustang series is the one which made the company standout in 1970s. Mustang is the only series of cars which continues to be produced even now for the last five decades. Besides cars, the company also manufactures trucks, buses, tractors and automotive parts. It also has an automobile finance company called the Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford also took active part in Formula One Sports racing events by supplying engines to its racing teams. It owned a company called Cosworth which designed, manufactured and supplied engines to sports cars. Ford had also sponsored many sporting events and had been sponsoring UEFA Champions League for over two decades.

Number of Units Sold: 447000

Revenue (million $): 9469.93

Profit before tax (million $): 554.05

1. BMW

BMW is a German automaker known for manufacturing and selling luxury vehicles. The company headquarters are located in Munich, Germany.

Image: pixabay

It also sells motor cycles along with cars in the luxury segment, which are among the most popular car brands across the world. It also the parent company for the world famous Rolls Royce motor cars, and the company also owns the Mini car brand which is famous in the United Kingdom. BMW is traded on the Euro 50 Stock market index. Norbert Reithofer is the current supervisory Chairman.

The company’s founding days date back to 1917. It was initially started as an aircraft manufacturing business firm. After World War 1, it was forced to stop its operations. Then, it entered the automobile business. The first BMW car went on to roads in the year 1923. But, it continued producing aircraft engines till the end of World War 2 in 1945. In 1958, the company’s automobile division went into a financial crisis and the then board thought of shutting down the business. Then, it started producing the tiny cars which helped the company get back on track.

In 1994, the company purchased the British Rover Group that consisted of the brands Rover, Land Rover, MG, Austin and Morris. But by 2000, the group was incurring huge losses and it had to sell of the entire brands under the group. BMW is actively involved in sporting and racing events. The company has its own racing team and runs its own races. Many of the BMW powered engines won titles in Formula one racing. BMW holds a record to be ranked as world’s most sustainable company in automobile industry for many years. BMW sponsors the Bundesliga football club.

Number of Units Sold: 230982

Revenue (million $): 10894.12

Profit before tax (million $): 1090.18

Ranking Methodology:

1.All leading brands which sold cars in UK are considered

2.For each company, the number of units sold, revenues and profit before tax were considered, and were normalized to the highest value

3.Weights were assigned to each parameter i.e. Units sold (20%), revenue (40%) and profit (40%).

4.Based on this a final score was calculated and the top companies were ranked

This article has been researched & authored by the Content & Research Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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