Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Are they still British? Parent companies of MG, LDV, Mini, Bentley and more revealed

MG Motor is hugely popular with massive sales growth around the world under its new owners.

There’s been so much change in the automotive industry of late, it’s hard to know who’s who in the zoo.

Globalisation has seen more car companies change hands, re-brand or change names, and understanding who, or what entity, owns a car company is tricky.

You have alliances like Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, but they all retain their own headquarters and identities.

Then there is Stellantis, the multinational giant formed by the merger of Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group.

Iconic Italian brands like Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Fiat are in bed with French marques like Peugeot and Citroen, all mixing with Dodge and Jeep from the US. And their headquarters is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, because of course it is.

If you’ve ever wondered about the corporate origins of a particular brand, then read on.

Bentley might be German owned, but it still builds all its models in the UK.


Ah Bentley. That famous Briti…

Wait, that famous German brand?

That’s right, Bentley, one of the world’s top luxury marques, falls under the umbrella of German giant, Volkswagen Group.

Founded in 1919, Bentley has had a number of owners over the years, including fellow Brit (or are they?) Rolls-Royce, but VW snapped it up in 1998, along with iconic Italian supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini and French hypercar brand, Bugatti.

Rather than bundling Bentley production in with one of VW Group’s many facilities in Germany or other parts of Europe, all Bentley models are still exclusively built at its Crewe, UK plant.

Even the Bentayga SUV that shares its underpinnings with the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and more. VW reached an agreement with the British government to build it in the UK, rather than the Bratislava, Slovakia factory where the other related models hail from.

Indian-owned British brand Land Rover builds the Defender in Slovakia.

Jaguar Land Rover

Like Bentley, former British brands Jaguar and Land Rover have had various owners over the years.

Ford famously controlled the two brands under its Premier Automotive Group umbrella that was an initiative of then Ford global boss, Australian Jac Nasser.

But in 2008, Indian conglomerate Tata Group took ownership of Jaguar and Land Rover off Ford for £1.7 billion. Incidentally, it also bought the rights to three other dormant British brands – Daimler, Lanchester and Rover. More on the latter brand in a bit.

JLR builds vehicles in the UK and India, as well as parts of Europe. Australian models are mostly sourced from the UK, except the Jaguar I-Pace and E-Pace (Austria) and the Land Rover Discovery and Defender (Slovakia).

The MG ZS is the best-selling small SUV in Australia.

MG Motor

Another in a long list of formerly British-owned brands is MG. There’s a real theme emerging here…

MG has been around since the early 1920s and is most famous for building gorgeous, fun two-door convertible sports cars.

But lately MG has been reborn as a mainstream automotive brand offering cheap alternatives to carmakers like Kia and Hyundai.

With models including the MG3 light hatch and ZS small SUV – both the top sellers in their respective segments – MG is the fastest growing brand in Australia.

After MG Rover collapsed in 2005 following BMW Group ownership, it was briefly acquired by Nanjing Automobile which was in turn bought by SAIC Motor, which owns the MG brand to this day.

What is SAIC Motor? It used to be called Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and it is a wholly owned commission of the Shanghai state government.

MG’s headquarters and research and development centre is still in the UK but all production comes from China.

Light-commercial vehicle manufacturer LDV is another SAIC-owned marque, and it too was a former British brand (Leyland DAF Vans).

SAIC tried unsuccessfully to buy the rights to the Rover name in the early 2000s. Instead, it started another brand that sounds oddly familiar, called Roewe.

Mini also still builds cars in the UK.


Would you believe there’s another British brand that’s now in the hands of another major global player?

In the 1990s Germany’s BMW Group acquired Mini by default when it bought the Rover Group, but realised the Mini brand would be a great way to introduce smaller, more affordable front-wheel drive cars to its catalogue of rear-drive models.

The original Mini hatch continued to be built until October 2000, but then the new modern Mini debuted in late 2000, following a concept at the 1997 Frankfurt international motor show.

It is still owned by BMW and the “new” Mini hatch is in its third generation.

Rolls-Royce is another BMW-owned brand.


Some say Rolls-Royce is the pinnacle of automotive luxury and even its executives say it doesn’t really have any automotive rivals. Instead, potential buyers consider something like a yacht as an alternative to a Rolls. Can you imagine?

Anyway, Rolls-Royce has been owned by German giant BMW Group since 1998, with the company acquiring naming rights and more from VW Group.

Like Bentley, Rolls only builds cars in England at its Goodwood facility. 

Volvo's owners also own a number of other familiar automotive brands.


We thought we would throw a non-British brand in here, just for some balance.

Iconic Swedish manufacturer Volvo has been operating since 1915 but the first Volvo model rolled off a production line in 1927.

These days, Volvo and sister brand Polestar are majority owned by Chinese multinational Geely Holding Group after being snapped up in 2010.

Before that Volvo was part of Ford’s Premier Auto Group with Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Volvo still has manufacturing facilities in Sweden, but it also builds a large portion of its models in China and the United States.

Geely also owns former British sports car brand Lotus, as well as Malaysian manufacturer Proton and Lynk & Co.

Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim...
About Author