An interactive infographic from MoneySupermarket makes for interesting reading this afternoon. the infographic shows the development of the car industry from the initial experiments of Carl Benz through to the rise of Chinese and Indian auto makers in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The infographic keeps the complex material simple by establishing the number of big car companies in each year, and the number of brands that each car maker owns. In 1889 there is just one entry, from Benz. In 2011 years of innovation and acquisition all over the world have seen that transform into 40 companies who own 92 different brands.

In 2011, the final year covered by the infographic, Fiat and General Motors are the the biggest car makers in the world with 9 major brands in their stables. The top five is filled out by Volkswagon, FAW and Tata, with seven, six and four brands in their stable respectively.

The infographic demonstrates just how much a big business like the automotive industry can change over time. The initial development of the automobile was followed by the development of mass assembly production in the United States, and led to rise of Chinese company FAW and Indian firm Tata in the early years of this century.