• Of the three Chrysler group brands, which also include Dodge and Jeep, Chrysler represents the most mainstream products. Though the company has tried for years to position Chrysler as a premium or luxury brand, it hasn't stuck. With the discontinuation of the PT Cruiser after the 2010 model year, Chrysler's lineup has dwindled to three models. The only domestic manufacturer that hasn't abandoned the traditional minivan market, Chrysler continues to hold its own with the Town & Country, perhaps the sole bright spot among underperforming models in a tough market made tougher by the taint of bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.The impressive 300 full-size sedan, which provided Chrysler a shot in the arm when it made its 2005 debut, lost its luster as tastes changed and gas mileage became more of a concern. A redesigned 300 is due to launch this year. The current Sebring midsize sedan and convertible have also fared poorly in the market on account of a 2007 redesign that was barely competitive even then.Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler's highest-profile investor is Italy's Fiat, whose CEO also runs Chrysler. Fiat owns 20 percent of the company and plans to increase its stake incrementally as it hits milestones agreed upon when the Obama administration brokered the domestic automaker's restructuring. The U.S. owns almost 10 percent and the Canadian government almost 2.5 percent. The balance belongs to a United Auto Workers health care and pension trust that the union accepted in lieu of earlier cash commitments. The UAW will sell its interest to fund the trust once the company goes public.
  • Mercury
    Mercury was an automobile marque of the Ford Motor Company founded in 1939 to market semi-luxury cars slotted between entry-level Ford and luxury Lincoln models, similar to General Motors' Buick brand and Chrysler LLC's Chrysler brand. To this day, most Mercury models are based on Ford platforms. The Mercury name comes from the name of roman god of speed who was the messenger of the gods, which was reflected in its focus during its early years on performance. The Mercury brand was phased out in 2010, while Ford Motor Company will focus on the Ford and Lincoln brands.
  • Fiat S.p.A., (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin), is an Italian automobile manufacturer based in Turin. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. During its more than a century long history, Fiat has also manufactured railway engines and carriages, military vehicles, and aircraft. As of 2009, the Fiat group (not inclusive of its subsidiary Chrysler) was the world's ninth largest carmaker and the largest in Italy.
  • Japanese car company Mazda has succeeded in infusing all of its models with a degree of sportiness that has formed its reputation and attracted coveted young buyers. Despite the sporty edge in everything from a roadster to a large crossover, Mazda's vehicles are more than livable for day-to-day use, riding a fine line other automakers fail to do productwide.Mazda has close ties to Ford Motor Co., which held a controlling interest until 2008, and it's evident in the two companies' products. For example, the Mazda6 midsize sedan platform became the foundation for numerous midsize and larger vehicles that wear the Blue Oval.One of Mazda's signature cars, the MX-5 two-door convertible -- better known as the Miata -- is credited with sparking a roadster revival when it debuted in 1989. Many roadsters have since joined the market, but the Miata remains one of the best and most affordable -- a true driver's car.Mazda recently rolled out the Mazda2, a subcompact hatchback that shares its underpinnings with the Ford Fiesta hatchback and sedan. The Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback have been among Mazda's best-sellers. It's fair to say Ford's successful Fusion midsize sedan is based on the Mazda6, not vice versa. Mazda sells no full-size sedan but does have a sporty rear-wheel-drive four-seater called the RX-8 that's powered by a rotary gas engine. Mazda's history with the intriguing rotary engine is long, but the technology has never delivered the efficiency and emissions hoped for, and the RX-8 is in the process of being phased out.The Tribute compact crossover is a close relative of the Ford Escape and is likewise available as a hybrid. The midsize CX-7, available in a turbocharged version, is distinct from Ford's midsize crossover. The CX-9 large crossover seats seven in three rows, though sporty rear-end styling limits headroom in the third-row seat. A model that's in a class by itself in the U.S. market is the Mazda5, a small minivan with sliding doors and six seats in three rows. A staple in overseas markets, vans of this size have otherwise disappeared from the U.S.Headquartered in Hiroshima, Japan, Mazda Motor Corp. is publicly traded. Though Ford's once-controlling stake has decreased to roughly 11 percent, it is still the largest global shareholder and maintains a close product-development relationship.
  • The Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) (KSE: 005380)(LSE: HYUD), a division of the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, is South Korea's largest car maker. It is also the world's seventh largest car maker and operates the world's largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea. The Hyundai logo, a slanted, stylized 'H', is symbolic of two people (the company and customer) shaking hands and its official slogan is "Drive your way".
  • Subaru
    Subaru is a Japanese manufacturer of cars and crossovers with a dedicated consumer base that most automakers would kill for. With standard all-wheel drive on all models, Subarus have a rugged image that's borne out in their competence on rough terrain and snow and their overall reliability. Subaru exclusively uses horizontally opposed engines.Subaru's base model is the Impreza, which comes in sedan and hatchback forms. It's also the basis for the Outback Sport -- a smaller sibling to the better-known Outback wagon -- as well as the turbocharged WRX and WRX STi performance models.Subaru's midsize model is the Legacy, which is now exclusively a sedan. The discontinued wagon responsibilities are now handled by the Forester and the Outback, which has grown enough in its current generation to be considered a crossover more than a wagon. Subaru's largest model is the Tribeca, a crossover that seats seven in three rows.Headquartered in Ota, Gunma, Japan, Subaru is a division of Subaru Heavy Industries, in which Toyota Motor Co. holds a controlling interest.
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