There hasn’t been a tremendous amount of change in the auto industry in the past few decades, as far as brands go. Even the bankruptcies of General Motors and Ford in 2009 didn’t lead to the demise of either of those companies.
The Chrysler bankruptcy, and Chrysler’s subsequent takeover by Fiat, did of course pave the way for the Italian carmaker to return to the U.S.
And Tesla has emerged as something of a major player, or potential major player.
You could argue that the advent of a stand-alone electric car company is big news, as is the return of the electric car itself as a viable competitor to the internal-combustion engine. And the entire industry went through an identity crisis during the Great Recession, when sales plunged.
But beyond that, the auto brand universe has been fairly stable in the U.S. The major brands are GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda. Hyundai and Kia have been in the picture for a while, as has Volkswagen. A cluster of minor brands, like Subaru and Mazda, along with luxury marques including BMW, Mercedes, and Audi round out the mix.
This contrasts with the long, long history of the auto industry in America. Brands have risen and fallen. Changed hands. Left the country and returned. It’s been anything but calm.
The folks at Firestone put together this interactive graphic that does a neat job of capturing this:
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