Who Owns Which Of The Big Three Brands?

One of the problems with the Big Three U.S. automakers: They have too many brands. Who makes what? Almost no one can keep them straight. Melissa Block and Michele Norris run down the various brand names Ford, Chrysler and GM use to market their cars, and offer a bonus look at brands owned by the Italian carmaker Fiat.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Too many brands. That's one complaint about American auto companies. And, in fact, unless you're an ardent car nut or a forensic scientist, it's almost impossible to know who owns what.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Not only do the car companies have lots of brands, the globalization of the business has led to a lot of shuffling of ownership.

BLOCK: So let's start with the biggest of the Big Three, GM, and perhaps its most recognizable brand, Chevrolet.

(Soundbite of song, "See the USA in Your Chevrolet")

Ms. DINAH SHORE (Singer): (Singing) See the USA in your Chevrolet.

BLOCK: Under the GM name, there is also Buick, Pontiac, Cadillac and GMC. GM dropped its Oldsmobile brand five years ago and it's closing Saturn and trying to sell Saab and Hummer.

NORRIS: Plus, GM owns a 10 percent share of the Italian carmaker, Fiat, the very same company that Chrysler is now trying to merge with. And speaking of Chrysler, its brands include Dodge…

(Soundbite of TV ad)

Unidentified Man #1: …the all new Dodge Durango.

NORRIS: Chrysler also owns Jeep, and it shed its Plymouth brand in 2001.

(Soundbite of TV ad)

Unidentified Man #2: Are you built Ford tough?

BLOCK: Along with their namesake brand, Ford's other brands or marks, as they're known in the industry, are Lincoln and Mercury. Ford owns the Swedish company, Volvo, a small share of Aston Martin, and they have a joint development and production agreement with, guess who? Fiat.

NORRIS: Okay. So what about Fiat? Well, along with their namesake brand, identified mostly with small fuel efficient cars, Fiat is also behind three names that produce instant lust in car enthusiasts everywhere. Alfa Romeo, Maserati and (makes noise) Ferrari.

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