Britain was one of the most advanced industrial countries around the world, however, the automobile industry that represented its industrial development achievements has declined.
The famous British car brands Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and MINI has been owned by Germany; Land Rover and Jaguar were sold to Indian (Tata Group), and Lotus was merged and purchased by Geely Auto of China.
The Mini was originally a product of the British Motor Corporation, which in 1966 became part of British Motor Holdings. British Motor Holdings merged with Leyland Motors in 1968 to form British Leyland. In the 1980s, British Leyland was broken-up and in 1988 Rover Group, including Mini, was acquired by British Aerospace. In 1994, Rover Group was acquired by BMW. In 2000, Rover Group was broken up by BMW, with BMW retaining the Mini brand.
Current owner: Geely (China)
Lotus was previously owned by DRB-HICOM through its subsidiary Proton, which acquired it following the bankruptcy of former owner Romano Artioli in 1996. On 24 May 2017, Geely announced that it will take a 51% controlling stake in Lotus. The remaining 49% will be acquired by Etika Automotive.
Current owner: Tata (India)
On 18 January 2008, Tata Motors, a part of the Tata Group, established Jaguar Land Rover Limited as a British-registered and wholly-owned subsidiary. The new company was to be used as a holding company for the acquisition of the two businesses from Ford - Jaguar Cars Limited and Land Rover. That acquisition was completed on 2 June 2008 at a cost of £1.7 billion.
Current owner: Tata (India)
The Land Rover name was originally used by the Rover Company for the Land Rover Series, launched in 1948, which has been owned by India's Tata Motors since 2008. The Land Rover is regarded as a British icon and was granted a Royal Warrant by King George VI in 1951.
Current owner: Volkswagen (Germany)
Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars and SUVs—and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG since 1998.
Current owner: BMW (Germany)
Although the Rolls-Royce brand has been in use since 1906, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars subsidiary of BMW AG has no direct relationship to Rolls-Royce branded vehicles produced prior to 2003. The Bentley Motors Limited subsidiary of Volkswagen AG is the direct successor to Rolls-Royce Motors and various other predecessor entities that produced Rolls-Royce and Bentley branded cars between the foundation of each company and 2003, when the BMW-controlled entity started producing cars under the Rolls-Royce brand.
The Bottom Line
Besides these brands, the famous British Rover and MG also have some relationships with China. The Rover has been divided into two parts: production line and technology belong to China’s SAIC Motor, but its brand belongs to India’s Tata Group. The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in July 2005, subsequently bought by SAIC in December 2007.