Hooniverse Asks- What Car Company Should Buy What Car Company?

In case you haven’t noticed, the automotive market has for the most part bounced back from the horrific downturn of just a few years ago. Oh sure, some car makers are presently tied up dealing with recalls for past transgressions, but there are a number of manufacturers out there who now have money to burn.
Back in the eighties and early nineties there were also a number of car makers looking to use loose cash to swallow up their smaller competition, adding to their armory as it were. Many of those conquests have since been cast off, and today there are plenty of small automotive entities – both those still popping out product, and those who have been shuttered – that could stand to have a bigger, more flush benefactor come to their rescue.
What do you think, should a company like Ford reconstitute TVR? Maybe, like AMG, Tesla should become an official part of Daimler Benz? I’d hate to see Lotus finally turn belly up and so maybe there’s a sugar daddy out there who could keep those new Evoras coming, as well as the next Elise and, maybe, a fresh Esprit. It’s time to do a little daydreaming here on on Hoon. What do you think, what car companies with the cash should buy which car companies bereft of it?
Image: Palo Alto Concours

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  1. pj134 Avatar

    It's too bad Mazda doesn't have the money to take on Lotus. That combination could turn out some interesting cars.

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      Maybe just a "limited partnership" of the DSM variety…

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Four posts and three about Lotus…that's a lot of yoga!

        1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
          PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

          I think it just shows how much people appreciate its philosophy and despise its management. Both are well-earned.

    2. fred Avatar

      GM bought Lotus because they were spending more money with them then they were worth. Seemed like a good idea but then they got the bill for new products. I think most manufacturers realize that and it would be difficult to sell. Besides Proton the current owners don't seem interested in selling.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    Mercedes Benz should sniff out a merger of equals with Kia/Hyundai. The Koreans have build some pretty fun cars lately, and they could stop pretending to be serious higher up the value chain. Mercedes, on the other hand, could rightfully claim to be inspired by Hyundai-design, without the stigma attached to it. There should be some cost savings across the spectrum here, too. Not least, German and Korean business attitudes are somewhat compatible.

    1. Lokki Avatar

      I don't think this will happen – Mercedes tried this concept with Chrysler and it damn near ruined both brands. What was the joke when the merger of equals was first announced?
      Heaven is Mercedes quality with Chrysler pricing – Hell is Chrysler quality with Mercedes pricing
      While the Koreans have gotten much, much better in recent years, I don't think that the Koreans would be stuffing a lot of German components in their cars… Much more likely to be the other way around. NTTAWWT,exactly….

    2. Devin Avatar

      Last time we had a "merger of equals" involving Mercedes it didn't end very well though.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Agreed. But people learn from their mistakes, don't they?

        1. Andrew_theS2KBore Avatar

          In the automotive industry? Rarely.

      2. ptschett Avatar

        Getting Chrysler's cash in exchange for a few shared components and platform hardpoints, and sucking it dry through excessive cost-cutting doesn't seem to have turned out too badly… for Daimler.

    3. Rover_1 Avatar

      I think Renault-Nissan might have some objections. We're still in the early days of this agreement.
      Infiniti will soon have an Audi A3 competitor based on the A -class , some with Renault engines.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        You're right, absolutely forgot about this one.
        To be honest, the corporate chair game is starting to get pretty confusing. In the commercial market, you can now get a Peugeot labelled Toyota:
        <img src="http://www.toyota.com.mk/content/pics/proace/proace-2013-specifikaci-L1H1.jpg&quot; width="600">
        …as well as a Renault labelled Mercedes:
        <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/127/263/1/S1272631/slug/l/001-2014-mercedes-citan-crewbus-1.jpg&quot; width="600">
        Can't imagine that this is good for any of the solid brands in the long run.

  3. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    I'd love to see Honda buy up Lotus.
    Lotus has been using Toyota/Yamaha motors to great success, but if they were together, both could see benefits. Maybe we'd get a proper CRX successor, more fun Si/Type-R models and Lotus could have access to a few solid platforms and stout parts bin.
    In all honesty though, with the major brands conglomerates like VAG and Fiat, most of the fun brands are in-house at a major group already.
    Some suffering a loss of vision… **cough** Lancia **cough**….

    1. quattrovalvole Avatar

      The perk of buying Lotus is you can start fitting these stickers to your cars
      <img src="http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/isuzu8.jpg&quot; width=500 />

  4. nanoop Avatar

    Lotus should buy Porsche and make Lotus-light, Porsche-solid mid-range 4-cylinder sports cars. They do already? Oh, I'm still in the 90ies…

  5. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    Saab, Lotus, Hummer and Saturn should form under Penske's guidance and be given an opportunity to make their own products in ways that GM never let them.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      … using the Pontiac badge.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      I thought that SAAB and Saturn already did take too many liberties with not using the GM parts bin, and were therefore not profitable because of the additional development costs not recouped by higher selling prices.
      And when they were strongarmed into using the bin more, they became typical GM-middling and less interesting, so no one wanted them anymore.

    3. Tomsk Avatar

      Surely there'd be room for Oldsmobile in there too, would there not?

      1. NotJustDucky Avatar

        Right next to Pontiac.

  6. buzzboy7 Avatar

    One of the Big3 needs to get in bed with Studebaker. We obviously need modern classic Studes. I'd take an SRT or SS Avanti for sure.

  7. Alff Avatar

    Tesla should buy Saab.

    1. engineerd™ Avatar

      I was going to say Fisker should buy Saab.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        That would leave Tesla free to buy Elio.

      2. Alff Avatar

        Misery loves company.

  8. Devin Avatar

    Taking a different "these guys should buy Lotus!" tactic – Hyundai/Kia should, because if there's one weak link in Hyundai and Kia products it's their suspension tuning, and Lotus is really good at that. Plus we could get a successor to the Kia Elan, so that would be fun.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      Oooh. Lotus Elan. . . tra.

    2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Did you know that Lotus helped tune the handling on the 2nd-gen Genesis sedan?

  9. Devin Avatar

    Another thought, BMW buying Mazda. That way, BMW could stop trying to move downmarket with FWD minivans and awful variations on the Mini, and Mazda would have cash. They're not too far apart in philosophy and priorities, and they don't have product overlap.

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      Mazda gets a RWD premium platform if they want a Mazda 9.
      BMW gets a platform for Mini on the 3/2.
      Would an N55 fit in a Miata?

      1. Devin Avatar

        They could also fit a Miata with weird vertical sliding doors and have a new Z1.

        1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
          PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

          To quote The Lonely Island quoting Kevin Garnett, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!"

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            The unattainable is unknowable at Bayerische Mazda Werke!

          2. Tomsk Avatar


  10. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    Benz should just go full bore and finally support Aston Martin in the same vein that Tata owns Jag/LR.
    The AM products don't truly compete with anything in the Benz lineup (save for the AMG GT), but they can differentiate themselves enough to not hurt each others sales.
    AM keeps doing what its doing but with plenty of cash backing and access to better tech. Benz gets a bespoke exotic to call its own.

  11. muthalovin Avatar

    While envisioning what certain companies should/could do with the acquisition of others is a fun thought exercise, I don't think it has every really worked out well IRL.
    I would rather not have any real consolidation in the current car market. I mean, almost all of the cars coming out these days are fantastic, and drive great competition.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Oh, I don't know. Chrysler buying AMC from Renault and skimming off the Jeep brand worked out pretty well IRL.

      1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

        Well, except for the AMC and Renault fans…

  12. Krush454 Avatar

    My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/PyVCLfS.jpg"&gt;

  13. engineerd™ Avatar

    Volkswagen should buy Mitsubishi. It gives them automatic access to the JDM, helps build their rally chops (if Mitsu even has those chops left) and would breathe life into zombie automaker.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Oh, dear.

  14. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Mahindra, Peugeot and Suzuki should get together. Think about how much more efficiently they could ignore the North American market.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I'm imagining the awesome light duty offroaders that marriage could produce.

  15. Maymar Avatar

    Volvo traditionally built safe, solid, conservative cars. Mercedes-Benz traditionally built safe, solid, conservative cars. Trying to go upmarket hasn't worked for Volvo. North America is still struggling with the idea of affordable Benzes. I see plausible synergy?

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Imho they overlap a fair bit. Everyone pointed out the similarities between the A class and the V40, the Mercedes being the unfortunate second on the market. In Europe, they do compete up to a certain size where Mercedes is on its own (Volvo's S80 hardly ever made any sense).
      Don't get me wrong, they're not the same, but they compete upmarket. My first attempt of father-in-law was to upgrade the usual way, from Opel to Mercedes (he was to turn 65, so…), but I took him to the Volvo dealer. He became a Volvo nut, pursuading two other MB guys at his gun club. I don't want to see Dr Mustache do the distinction plans at a united MB/Volvo.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        I do admit, I'm thinking from a pretty North American-centric position.

  16. Tomsk Avatar

    I'd love to see what Volkswagen would do with with a Duesenberg revival. It's done pretty well with bringing Bugatti back from the dead, as well as nurturing Lamborghini and Bentley, so who's to say it couldn't successfully add an American premium label to its stable?

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I think Piëch could out-cadillac Cadillac with a Duesenberg-brand. But…will they earn money? Great idea, yet I am generally a bit skeptical about reviving dead brands. Does VW earn money with their special edition company "Bugatti"?

  17. HTWHLS Avatar

    Tata should buy GM. Quality from both is absolutely horrific and the joke potential is off the chart.