The Biggest Car Manufacturers in the Industry

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The automotive industry has become an important part of the global economy, with manufacturers creating and marketing vehicles in ever-growing numbers. Big companies and small automakers alike are investing in research and development and production. Their advertising campaigns and corporate identities are becoming ever more sophisticated.

The automotive industry is a global business, with each country and region having multiple manufacturers and suppliers. These companies compete with each other and with other industries for a share of the global market.

The five largest car companies in the world are General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen Group, Toyota, and Nissan. General Motors was founded in 1908 and is based in Detroit, Michigan. Ford was founded in 1903 and is based in Dearborn, Michigan. Volkswagen Group is based in Wolfsburg, Germany. Toyota was founded in 1937 and is headquartered in Toyota City, Japan. Nissan was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan.

General Motors

The American automobile manufacturer General Motors is the largest automaker in the world by volume, and the second largest by value. In addition to producing cars, it also produces trucks, off-road vehicles, concept vehicles, and motor coach parts. General Motors is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is a component of the S&P 500 Index. The company has been involved in numerous corporate transactions, and its brands are involved in many global marketing campaigns.

  • Chevrolet: Impressive performance and design.
  • Buick: Luxury vehicle line.
  • GMC: Chevrolet commercial vehicles under the GMC Motor Division.
  • Cadillac: Luxury vehicle line.
  • Saturn: Entry-level line.
  • Holden: Australian brand sold exclusively in that country.

Ford Motor Company

Ford is an American multinational automaker founded in 1903 by Henry Ford. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and also owns marketing companies that license its name to car dealerships. Ford also owns Brazilian automotive manufacturing company, Ford Brazil, and Swedish automotive company, Ford Sweden. The company is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

  • Ford: Most popular vehicle model in the U.S.
  • Lincoln: Large car for the luxury segment.
  • Ford Mustang: Widely recognized automotive brand.
  • Transit Connect: Medium-duty commercial van.
  • Energize: Chinese brand.
  • Kaaz: Indian brand.
  • Manganese Bronze: Automotive parts.

Volkswagen Group

The Volkswagen Group, or Volkswagen, is a German multinational automotive company headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. It designs, manufactures and sells automobiles, trucks, buses and commercial vehicles. It holds a 20% stake in Brazilian automaker, SAI, and a 35% stake in Chinese automaker, Geely Holding. It is the largest automotive company in China, and the second largest in the world after Toyota.

  • Volkswagen: The most recognized name in the industry.
  • Audi: Luxury car with high performance.
  • Porsche: Sporty car.
  • Ducati: Italian motorcycle brand.
  • Lamborghini: Italian sports car brand.
  • MAN: German engineering and construction company.
  • Skoda: Czech brand.
  • MAN Nutzfahrzeuge: German commercial vehicle and Nutzfahrzeug (tricycle) manufacturer.

Toyota Motor Corporation

The Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota is headquartered in Tokyo. The company designs, engineers, manufactures and markets vehicles under its own name as well as under the name Lexus, Scion and Daihatsu. In 2010, Toyota was the world’s second largest automaker by production volume, after General Motors.

  • Toyota: Luxury vehicle brand.
  • Lexus: Luxury car brand.
  • Scion: A brand under the Toyota Motor Corporation that focuses on light trucks.
  • Allex: Toyota forklift truck and construction equipment manufacturer.
  • Baojun: Chinese brand.
  • Daihatsu: Japanese brand.
  • Hino: Japanese brand.
  • Houser: American commercial vehicle manufacturer.

Nissan Motor Company

The Japanese automotive company Nissan is an international subsidiary of the government-owned Nissan Group. The company’s global headquarters are in Yokohama, Japan. Nissan is ranked third among Japan’s best-performing companies, with a return on equity of 29.8% in 2010, and was the first Japanese car company to be included in the list of S&P 500 constituents in 1999.

  • Nissan: Japanese brand.
  • Datsun: Classic name for several sub-brands sold in different countries.
  • Infiniti: Luxury vehicle brand.
  • Olympos: Greek brand.
  • Teana: South Korean car brand.
  • Navara: Indian light truck and bus brand.
  • X-Trail: Japanese hybrid vehicle brand.

Honda Motor Company

The Honda Motor Company is the world's fifth-largest automaker and is based in Tokyo, Japan. It is a member of the Honda-Toyota-Mazda

automotive group under the name Honda Motor Co., Ltd. In 2008, Honda produced 6.3 million vehicles, but this number decreased to 6.1 million in 2009. In 2010, the company's first full year of operation under the new Honda global structure, Honda produced 6.1 million vehicles.


The automotive industry has experienced dramatic changes due to new technologies and demand for personalized vehicles. There are a large number of companies producing cars of all sizes and types. Automakers face numerous challenges, including rising costs, tightening emissions standards and increasing protectionism.

Despite these challenges, the global auto industry continues to grow and has become an important part of the global economy. The five largest car companies in the world are General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen Group, Toyota, and Nissan.