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Charting The Car Industry’s Family Tree

Charting The Car Industry’s Family Tree

It’s always fascinating to see where brands came from, and to remember that the corporate giants of today were only tangentially related companies yesterday.

That’s why the Genealogy of Automobile Companies is so much fun. By designer Larry Gormley, it’s essentially a family tree for the entire automotive industry. But rather than branching out, you’ll see that this tree actually branches in.

“The early days of the auto industry were similar to the Internet early years,” Gormley tells Co.Design. “Both had thousands of startups that didn’t last more than a few years.” And many startups that did last weren’t car companies to begin with. As you’ll see, both Toyota and Suzuki started as looming companies. (Toyota didn’t enter automobiles until the 1930s, and Suzuku was looming well into the 1950s.)

Click to zoom.

Gormley built the genealogy over a period of several months of research and design. And indeed, the closer you look, the more you realize the depth. The timelines of the “Big 5” manufacturers thicken and thin along with their U.S. marketshare.

And the Art Deco flare is no whimsy. “For the auto industry, the 1920s and 30s were key decades,” he writes. “During this time the merging and folding of firms accelerated while car sales greatly increased…[so] the art deco style permeated all facets of the industry including company logos, advertising and car design.”

If you enjoyed the Genealogy of Automobile Companies, or you know a car buff who is dually fascinated by looming, 38”x24” prints are available now for $30.

Buy them here.