The automotive industry in Great Britain has its roots in the 19th century. By the early 1950s, this country was already considered the second-largest transport producer in the world, second only to the United States. It exported many cars abroad, but it slowed down the industry’s pace of development while other states were actively increasing them after several decades.
As a result, the automotive industry in Great Britain was far behind and by 2008 was only 12th in terms of sales in the international market. Since the 1990s, the overwhelming majority of British car brands have been bought by overseas companies. For example, Rolls-Royce owns BMW, Bentley owns Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar owns Tata. The rights to inactive marks also belong to foreigners.
Ultra-luxury Car Brands
Super luxury cars are in great demand in the UK’s cool latitudes because they give a feeling of warmth, comfort, and confidence. And who, if not prim Englishmen, would like to combine technology with luxury? After all, in this, they succeeded. Take, for example, the famous Bentley and Rolls-Royce – this is perfection itself, crammed into metal armor. A real exclusive!
1 Bentley (1919-Present)
The brand appeared in 1919 and went through a difficult path of formation, despite the luxury segment of the automotive market. The company has focused on sports cars. It is not without reason that all the famous models of racing cars are considered “descendants” of the Speed Six and 4½ Liter made by Bentley. The brand is currently owned by Volkswagen.
2 Rolls-Royce (1906-Present)
About: Rolls-Royce Logo
It is a British luxury passenger car manufacturer wholly owned by the German company BMW. Previously, Rolls-Royce was associated with Bentley. They belonged to the same group but then ended up with different buyers, retaining emblems and other visual identity signs.
3 Lagonda (1906-Present)
The carmaker Lagonda appeared in 1906, and 12 months later, he presented his first car. And she immediately became the winner, having won the Moscow – St. Race in 1910. Petersburg. The success brought an unprecedented demand for cars in Russia. The boom did not subside until 1914.
Luxury Car Brands
Luxury cars are especially prized in England because luxury is not a lifestyle but super comfort. Engineers embody this idea in luxury passenger cars Land Rover, Mini, and Jaguar, representing this class.
1 Landrover (1948-Present)
The brand originated in 1948 as a Jaguar Land Rover division and now belongs to the Indian concern Tata Motors. It manufactures SUVs, special vehicles, and four-wheel-drive vehicles. In 1951, the manufacturer was awarded the Royal Warrant by King George VI, and in 2001 – the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
2 Jaguar (1922-Present)
About: Jaguar Logo
This company has undergone major transformations that have affected its product range. It originated as the Swallow Sidecar and focused on motorcycle sidecars and car bodies. Then the company became known as Jaguar Cars, switching to the production of passenger cars. At Tata Motors’ initiative, it was renamed Jaguar Land Rover Limited (in January 2013). All this strengthened its position, and branded products have repeatedly won the highest royal awards Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
3 Mini (1959-Present)
About: Mini Logo
Having started as a series of cars of the Rover Group company, the brand developed into an independent company, and the name of the line became its official name. Since 1994, the company has been owned by the German concern BMW and is engaged in luxury miniature cars.
Sports Car Brands
The production of sports cars are the most numerous British industry section because the British love luxury and speed. And they succeed in combining everything successfully. A striking example is the cars of the brands McLaren, Aston Martin, Lister, Arash, and many others.
1 Aston Martin (1913-Present)
About: Aston Martin Logo
The iconic British sports car brand was founded in 1913. In 1947, he changed ownership and became associated with James Bond’s legendary because his DB5 model appeared in one of the superhero epic episodes. Today, Aston Martin cars are a symbol of British culture and one of the fastest cars globally.
2 McLaren (1963-Present)
This British car manufacturer specializes only in sports cars, as its founder is Formula One racer, Bruce McLaren. Today, the car manufacturer has industrial sites and its technology center, developing and testing its equipment. The company’s range is currently divided into three key categories: Ultimate, Super, and Sports.
3 Lotus (1952-Present)
The cars of this brand have won Formula 1 seven times – they are so light and maneuverable. Since Colin Chapman’s (founder) ‘s death, the company has repeatedly passed from hand to hand until it found itself with the Chinese corporation Geely, which deals with automobiles.
4 Morgan (1910-Present)
Morgan has a very long history dating back to 1910. Since 2019, it has been owned by Italians – the Investindustrial investment group. The factory assembles racing and rally cars by hand, producing about 850 units a year. Therefore, there is always a long queue for such cars. The waiting list can stretch from several months to several years. And the brand also has its zest – wood elements are always present in the body.
5 Noble (1999-Present)
The UK sports car manufacturer is a privately held company with few employees. It was founded in 1999 in Leeds and is now based in Leicester.
6 Arash (1999-Present)
The founder of the private company is Arash Farboud. At first, it was called Farboud Limited, but later it was renamed in honor of the founder. The company began developing its first sports car, the Farboud GT, in 1999 and introduced it in 2001.
7 Ascari (1995-2010)
The company was founded in 1995 and ceased to exist in 2010. It was named after the first two-time winner of the World Championship of Drivers – Alberto Ascari.
8 TVR (1947-Present)
British sports car manufacturer founded in 1946 as TVR Motors Company Limited. Its base car supply market is Europe. Mostly these are light sports cars with a powerful engine (coupes and convertibles).
9 Ginetta (1958-Present)
It is a privately held sports and racing car company. It was founded in 1958 by the four Walklett brothers in Garforth, West Yorkshire.
10 Lister (1954-Present)
Launched in 1954, the automotive brand is known for its original Lister-Bristol and Lister Storm sports cars. The founder of the company is race car driver Brian Lister.
11 Zenos (2012-Present)
The young automaker is focused on producing just one model – the Zenos E10 in three versions. And he designs, collects, and sells them, working since 2012.
12 AC (1901-Present)
It is a private car manufacturer founded in 1901. Due to a lack of funds, it repeatedly changed owners, disappeared, and revived under different names. Its headquarters are now located in Thames Ditton, Surrey (UK).
13 Atalanta (2011-Present)
The automobile brand, which appeared in 2011, is nothing more than a relaunch of the company of the same name from the 1930s. She stopped production of passenger cars during the Second World War, having produced only 21 pieces of equipment.
14 BAC (2009-Present)
The full name of this sports car manufacturer is Briggs Automotive Company. It is based in Liverpool and was founded by brothers Neil and Ian Briggs. The first car appeared two years later, called Mono.
The firm is located near Woodbridge. She was engaged in the release of copies of retro Jaguar models. The company is now closed due to a Jaguar Land Rover lawsuit, which owes 850 thousand pounds.
16 Ronart (1984-Present)
Designer and manufacturer of unique racing cars, produced in limited quantities to order. His arsenal includes both sports cars for tracks and high-speed cars for driving on the roads. The brand was founded in 1984.
17 Ultima (1992-Present)
Hinckley-based British brand Ultima Sports Ltd manufactures the Ultima GTR, a lightweight sports car in the form of a two-door coupe. He offers it both fully stocked and assembled to order.
18 Gardner Douglas (1990-Present)
It is a subcompact sports car brand located in Grantham, England. It produces replica Lola T70 and AC Cobra models.
19 Brooke (2002-Present)
Brooke Kensington, the carmaker, which it received the rights to in 2002. The headquarters is located in Devon.
20 Marlin (1979-Present)
The company was founded by Paul Moorhouse, who first made cars for personal use and then launched them into mass production. The first sales took place in 1979.
The British are romantic and love to ride together with the breeze, so roadsters are in great demand with them. Many companies produce two-seater cars with a retractable roof. Among them are Caterham, MEV, Elva.
1 Elemental (2012-Present)
The enterprise was opened specifically for the development and production of the RP1 sports car. It is located in Hambledon (UK) and is part of the structure of the same name, Elemental Group Ltd.
2 Caparo (2006-Present)
Caparo Vehicle Technologies was founded as Freestream and focused on specialized developments in the automotive industry. The company launched its own sports car called the T1 and was liquidated in 2019.
3 Caterham (1973-Present)
The brand appeared in 1973, based on the Caterham Seven (or 7) sports car. Its headquarters are in Crawley, Sussex, UK.
4 Westfield (1982-Present)
The British company, founded in 1982, is engaged in the production of both factory and individual roadsters. She specializes in Lotus Seven vehicles.
5 Elva (1955-Present)
This car brand’s name is derived from the French phrase “elle va,” which means “she drives.” The range of the company includes two-seater sports and racing cars.
6 MEV (2003-Present)
The trademark’s abbreviation is derived from the Mills Extreme Vehicles company’s name, located in Mansfield (UK). The company was founded in 2003 and is engaged in the manufacture of Replicar and Exocet cars.
7 MK (1996-Present)
First, this manufacturer made suspensions and parts for the Locost chassis and then created its roadster (in 2000). It was named Indy.
There is another category of British car brands. It includes a limited edition, special purpose, and local distribution models. This also includes small or failed manufacturers who are incorporated into other companies.
1 Vauxhall (1857-Present)
The company was founded in 1857. It is currently owned by the multinational corporation Stellantis. The brand offers mass-market vehicles identical to Opel models but with distribution only domestically.
2 MG (1924-Present)
This is a manufacturer of small cars. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, he was taken over by the Nanjing Automobile Group, which merged with SAIC in 2008. The MG car brand was founded in 1924.
3 Ariel (2001-Present)
The company, founded in 1870, served as the base for this small automaker. It was relaunched in Krukern in 2001 and produced Ariel Atom passenger cars.
4 David Brown (2013-Present)
This brand represents limited edition cars. The company is located in Silverstone and is owned by businessman David Brown, who called it by his name.
5 Keating (2006-Present)
The Manchester-based car company debuted the TKR supercar in 2006. She currently has four vehicles of her design.
6 LEVC (2013-Present)
This British company is a subsidiary of the Chinese carmaker Geely. It is an engineering service headquartered in Coventry. The brand is also known in England for its black taxis.
7 Grinnall (1991-Present)
The company started with classic cars but a year later switched to tricycles – three-wheeled vehicles. The first model appeared in 1991, which is considered the time of the founding of this brand.
8 Prodrive (1984-Present)
In 1984, entrepreneur David Richards opened a racing car factory in Banbury. Today, based on cutting-edge technology, it designs, assembles, and tests vehicles for renowned companies such as Volkswagen, Mini, and Aston Martin.
9 Radical (1997-Present)
The racing car manufacturer and developer was founded in 1997 by two motoring engineers, Mick Hyde and Phil Abbott. They set out to create high-speed cars for driving both on ordinary roads and sports tracks. The brand’s most stellar model is the SR3.
10 Bowler (1985-Present)
The company, which has been operating since 1985, offers racing-class SUVs. It manufactures them based on Range Rover and Land Rover Defender chassis. Its headquarters are located in Belper (UK).
11 JBA Motors (1982-Present)
The brand specializes in luxury cars, which it has been producing in Norwich since 1982. The abbreviation in the name consists of the first letters of the company’s founders’ names: Jones, Barlow, Ashley.
12 Axon (2005-Present)
It is a young miniature car manufacturer that has been on the market since 2005. The head office is located in Wellingborough.
13 Bristol (1945-Present)
Luxury cars of this brand first appeared in 1945. It is currently owned by Kamkorp, which bought it in 2011, restoring luxury handcrafted cars’ production.
Defunct car brands
The British car industry’s history is an independent structure with the general laws of survival, decline, prosperity, and development. Therefore, as in the automotive industry of any country globally, there are advanced manufacturers seasoned, and there are those who could not withstand the onslaught of external or internal circumstances. As a result, a separate group of companies appeared, which ceased to exist for one reason or another. Among them Rover (operated until 2005), Marcos and ERF (retired in 2007), Eterniti (ceased to exist in 2014).
1 Eterniti (2010-2014)
The Eterniti Motors company existed for only four years and managed to present only one car – Hemera, which later became known as Artemis. It was a super SUV with a drink cooler, lambswool rugs, and a transparent roof. In terms of appearance and technical features, they were taken from the Porsche Cayenne. Engineers modified the famous model by developing their version of the luxury car. The logo also reminded of luxury: the calligraphic letter “E” with curls was complemented by thin and elegant lettering “ETERNITI” and was traditionally inside the coat of arms. The horizontal stripe pattern looked like a wing, hinting at great speed. The company left the market at the beginning of 2014.
2 ERF (1933-2007)
The car manufacturer ERF was founded in 1933. It is named after Edwin Richard Foden, who was forced to resign from his previous job due to disagreements with the Foden Trucks board of directors. The fact is that Edwin wanted to create trucks with a diesel engine, and his colleagues were against it. He retired to implement his project independently, and he succeeded: ERF trucks have become famous both in the UK and abroad. But the company was in many ways inferior to its competitors. She bought all the components from suppliers and could not boast of high sales volumes. Before closing, the ERF brand changed hands until it was at MAN’s disposal. The new owner first changed the lineup and then decided to abandon the old trademark and its logo altogether – the red “ERF” lettering separating two diagonal lines of the same color.
3 Marcos (1959-2007)
The automaker Marcos Engineering presented its first sports car in 1960. The novelty looked very unusual, but by the start of production, the developers simplified the car’s appearance, adhering to accepted standards. The company constantly moved and changed factories, which negatively affected its financial condition. She went broke several times, but she was saved from bankruptcy. The last time this happened was in the early 2000s when an American businessman restarted production. In 2007, the enterprise liquidated itself anyway. Simultaneously, the last cars with the Marcos logo came out: an oval plate that contained the brand name and was decorated with a curly silver frame.
4 Foden (1887-2006)
Foden’s predecessor was Plant & Hancock, which produced agricultural machinery. In 1887 it was renamed in honor of the new owner Edwin Foden. The company has been manufacturing steam trucks for a long time, then switched to diesel engines. The managers planned to build another plant because the demand for trucks was fierce. But in the 1970s, the car market fell into disrepair, which led to financial difficulties. Another ten years later, the company was bought by the American concern PACCAR. He replaced the original cars with DAF models and then stopped producing Foden trucks altogether to increase the number of DAF products. Simultaneously, the black and white diamond-shaped logo with a wide border and handwritten word “Foden” was discontinued.
5 Rover (1878-2005)
The Rover company appeared in the nineteenth century. She made bicycles and motorcycles and then joined the automotive business. In the post-war period, its products began to be exported to other countries. For example, the Rover P4 model has been recognized as the leader in the European automotive industry. Subsequently, the assortment changed several times because the enterprise passed from hand to hand: among its owners at various times were the BMW concern, the Phoenix Consortium holding, the Ford company, and the Indian car manufacturer Tata Motors. The disappearance of Rover is a credit to Ford. When the brand’s bankruptcy became apparent, the representative of the “big three” tried to get rid of it as soon as possible. Tata Motors now owns the brand name and emblem (black trapezoid with the ROVER wordmark and abstract geometric shapes).
6 Morris (1919-1984)
Morris Motors Limited was quite successful in its early years. By 1924, it had captured more than 50 percent of the British car market, overtaking Ford. Morris-branded models were discontinued in the mid-1980s. SAIC Motor Corporation Limited currently owns the brand. The original logo of the now-defunct enterprise echoes the coat of arms of Oxford’s city, where William Morris, the founder of the company, was born and lived. The badge contains a silver-blue circle with a red bull crossing the River Isis.
7 Triumph (1885-1984)
The Triumph logo was as promising as its name. It contained an image of a laurel wreath – a symbol of the winners. Despite high ambitions, the company went bankrupt in 1984. The assembly of the first Triumph cars began in 1889. The lineup was constantly expanding, but due to financial problems, the manufacturer was forced to get rid of unpopular cars. In the end, only the Honda Ballade-based Triumph Acclaim remained. Then he stopped producing. Since 1994, all rights to the brand belong to BMW.
8 Jensen (1934-1976)
Jensen Motors Limited was formed in 1934 when bodybuilder WJ Smith & Sons Limited undertook a global rebranding. Jensen’s portfolio included commercial and sports vehicles, including light trucks, buses, pickups, vans, and luxury sedans. The brand’s cars disappeared from the market in 1976 but returned 22 years later. They have retained the original circular logo with the gold-colored lettering “JENSEN,” “JENSEN MOTORS LTD,” and “WEST BROMICH, ENGLAND.” The company was finally disbanded in 2011.
9 Singer (1875-1970)
There was a period in the history of Singer Motors when it produced only bicycles. Cars were added to the range only in 1901. These were commercial three-wheeled vehicles for milkmen and traders. As for the first four-wheeled model, it appeared in 1905. Until 1912, radiators were adorned with an emblem depicting a bold “S” on a bicycle wheel. Then it was removed. In the 1950s, the company began to have financial problems, so it was absorbed by another car manufacturer – the Rootes Group. The Singer brand disappeared in 1970 when Rootes fell into disrepair.
10 Riley (1913-1969)
In 1902, the Riley brothers founded the Riley Engine Company to manufacture motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles. After a rebranding in 1912, the firm became Riley (Coventry) Limited because its owners decided to move into a new and more profitable business sector – the production of spoked wheels. But a year later, the brothers again took up the manufacture of cars. The company grew rapidly, expanding its range to include limousines, sports cars, sedans, and passenger cars with coupes. After a series of mergers, it was liquidated because the owners considered it unviable. Despite this, the surviving British brand cars are considered cult classics, as is its badge – the handwritten lettering “Riley” in a blue diamond with silver edging.
11 Leyland (1896-1968)
Leyland Motors, which was disbanded in 1968, joined the national British Motor Holdings business. After the merger, the new structure became known as the British Leyland Motor Corporation. When the Leyland company was still independent, it produced buses and cars. One of her logos was a blue ring with bridges that converged towards the center to form a circle. Inside was a capital letter “L” written in bold italics.
12 Alvis (1919-1967)
The private car manufacturer Alvis was founded in 1919 to manufacture scooters, carburetors, and engines. She had to change her logo after the aircraft manufacturer Avro began complaining about copyright infringement. This is how the famous icon in the form of an inverted red triangle with the stylized inscription “ALVIS” appeared. The company produced civilian vehicles until 1967. Then, the trademark became the British Leyland’s military branch, and its emblem was adorned with armored vehicles.
13 Berkeley (1956-1960)
Berkeley is a joint venture between trailer manufacturer Berkeley Coachworks and British engineer Lawrence Bond. The result of their collaboration was a sports microcar, which was produced from 1956 to 1960. It gained fame as a budget, safe and fragile car intended for racing. Its logo featured a large “B” with a red and gray circle enclosed in a ring with the words “BERKELEY” and five stars. In 1960, the demand for motorhomes dropped sharply, so Berkeley Coachworks went bankrupt.
14 Austin (1905-1952)
Austin is a brand of automobiles manufactured by the Austin Motor Company in the first half of the 20th century. The first model was built in 1905 at the home of engineer Herbert Austin. He started his car business focusing on the prestigious class. His client list included Spanish officials, Vatican bishops, and Russian princes. Over time, the company expanded its product range to trucks and commercial vehicles. The company disappeared in 1952 after merging with Morris Motors. The British Motor Corporation holding appeared in their place. Accordingly, the name of the brand and the logo with a handwritten inscription “Austin” in silver color have completely ceased to be used.
15 Hillman (1907-1931)
Until 1910 the Hillman Company was known as Hillman-Coatalen. It made racing cars, but after the rebranding, it decided to change the course and started making six-cylinder models for urban roads. Her cars were decorated with a red diamond badge, complemented by two white fenders and the words “HILLMAN.” In 1931 the company was merged with Humber Limited.