The 10 Biggest Carmakers In The World (#9 Is A Shocker)
What’s The Biggest Car Company In The World?
Updated September 30, 2018
It’s been a manic year for carmakers. VW briefly took the Number One position from Toyota briefly, it quickly found itself in the midst of the diesel scandal. And while the US will set a new sales record for 2015, South America has lost almost as many sales as the US has gained, due to their depending financial crisis. A port explosion in China destroyed close to 15,000 cars, but the China market was sagging regardless. Only intervention by the government impacted sales. And that’s just the start.
Scroll down below to get the story on how each of the Top 10 automakers in the world fared in 2015.
10. PSA Peugeot-Citroën
Country of Origin: France
Unit Sales (2015): 3.08 million
Number of Employees: 184,804
PSA Peugeot had a remarkably tough couple of years, with the company reporting a $120 million loss in 2014. The French automaker squeezed out the first positive net income for the first time in four years in the first half of this year thanks to a weakened Euro.
However, the company is still in the midst of a recovery and is expected to face troubles ahead, as it works against a number of headwinds such as the China slowdown, a surge in engine manufacturing costs to comply with stricter European emissions regulation, and labor troubles in its Latin American and Russian operations.
9. Suzuki Motor Corporation
Country of Origin: Japan
Unit Sales (2015): 3.12 million
Number of Employees: 27,305
Although Suzuki‘s car division left the US market back in 2012, it didn’t slither back to Japan and hide under a rock. The company identified India as its strongest growth opportunity, where it’s now the top automaker alongside Hyundai Motors.
The company, which operates under the name Maruti Suzuki, has sold 1.3 million cars in India alone in 2015 (for comparison, that’s almost twice as many F-Series trucks Ford sold in the US last year). It has been recording double-digit growth monthly in the country this year, and every sign points to their continued success.
8. Honda Motor Company
Country of Origin: Japan
Unit Sales (2015): 4.41 million
Number of Employees: 199,368
The Japanese automaker’s performance is a mixed bag of results. Up in the US, down in Europe. Down in Japan, up in the rest of Asia. The net result is that Honda will post a single digit vehicle sales increase versus 2014.
The growth in the U.S. comes as a bit of a surprise given the massive safety recall due to Takata airbags. Honda was forced to issue recalls related to Takata airbags, amounting to an estimated 24.5 million vehicles. Honda has built trust with its customers so perhaps as it was a supplier, rather than Honda, consumers aren’t holding Honda as accountable. The VW diesel scandal knocked it off the front page as well.
7. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Based: Italy, USA
Unit Sales (2015): 4.75 million
Number of Employees: 228,690
While FCA suffered record loses in the third quarter, it wasn’t as devastating as it might first seem. Some was related to the port explosion in China, where Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expects to recoup its losses from its insurance carriers. The explosion and loss of vehicles did impact sales in China, costing FCA about $92 million.
Fiat Chrysler’s North American profit margins increased to 6.7 percent, up from 4.2 percent from a year ago. The company’s North American margin improved to 6.1 percent from 4.1 percent for the same period last year.
The company’s chairman is happy with its gains, but he remains “envious” of the more than 11 percent margins of crosstown rivals GM and Ford.
6. Ford Motor Company
Unit Sales (2014): 6.64 million
Number of Employees: 224,000
With the best-selling car in Europe and inside word from Dearborn that sales of F-Series pickups have been booming in recent weeks. The company expects the F-Series line to once again be America’s best-selling truck line in 2015, the 39th year in a row that Ford’s pickups have won that title, Ford is definitely on a roll.
It nearly had a disaster on its hands with the “Friends and Family” discount program that it had originally planned to run through the end of the year. That promotion produced mixed results last month: sales of some Ford models s increased, but dealers said that many consumers found the promotion confusing and not particularity compelling. Ford dropped the program for a more traditional “holiday sales event” with cheap-financing and cash-back offers as of Dec. 1.
5. Hyundai Motor Group
Based: South Korea
Unit Sales (2015): 7.90 million
Number of Employees: 249,366
The South Korean conglomerate (which includes Kia) has had a tough past few years. The strength of the South Korean currency has made their vehicles more expensive in export and they’ve been reliant upon markets like China that has been in a sales slump. However, the company reports that they may have turned a corner with China, with an 8% increase in sales. Domestic sales have begun to turn around and sales in Europe have improved with the launch of the new Tuscon SUV built in Hyundai‘s Czech plant.
4. Renault-Nissan Alliance
Country of Origin: France, Japan
Unit Sales (2015): 8.70 million
Number of Employees: 450,000
Renault and Nissan, both battered and nearly broke, formed a partnership (not a merger) 15 years ago to support each other (providing the economies of scales only the big players had). All was well until the French government, which once owned all of Renault but still controls a substantial share, wanted to start through its weight around by increasing its ownership stake. Nissan didn’t take kindly to this, as the loser would be Nissan in this scenario, so Nissan threatened to increase its ownership of Renault. The French government backed down but insiders wonder if there’s been permanent damage to the alliance. In the meantime the companies are both putting down admirable sales numbers for 2015.
3. General Motors Corporation
Unit Sales (2015): 9.80 million
Number of Employees: 216,000
General Motors faced a tough year in 2015. While posting record sales in the United States and gaining market share in China, the rest of the world wasn’t as kind to the General. In Europe sales declined by 6%, largely due to the failed Chevrolet strategy and the inability to produce products of acceptable quality in its now closed Russian plant.
But the real problem was an enormous lose in South America, where economic conditions continue to deteriorate. In fact, GM lost more sales in South America in 2015 that the amount it increased sales in the US.
If GM were to be able to mitigate some of its South America issues, improve slightly in Europe, and continue to gain in China, its possible that in 2016 it could take the number two position from beleaguered VW.
2. Volkswagen Group AG
Unit Sales (2015): 9.90 million
Number of Employees: 592,586
One of the biggest industry stories of this year came from Volkswagen, which surpassed Toyota as the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2015, however that was short lived.
As we’re all aware in September the diesel software manipulation scandal broke and the resultant loss of sales (both diesels on dealer lots that couldn’t be sold, and customers now wary of purchasing a VW, dropped the company back to second place. Now in the midst of a massive upper management upheaval, ridding the company of any executive who had responsibility for any area involved in the scandal, corporate oversight will take months to stabilize.
1. Toyota Motor Corporation
Unit Sales (2015): 10.0 million
Number of Employees: 330,000
Toyota Motor surpassed the milestone of 10 million unit sales in 2014, taking the lead as the world’s largest automaker. And although it briefly lost out on the top spot for the first half of 2015, Volkswagen’s brief reign was not a particularly devastating blow to Toyota, which remains immensely profitable and retains strong global market share. North America was a bright spot in 2015, with a sizable sales increase. However, sales were down in the Japanese domestic market as well as the rest of Asia (primarily China, where the port explosion destroyed 10,000 cars). Despite lower sales versus 2014, Toyota is more profitable, due to cost cutting and currency valuations. Today, Toyota is the largest car company in the world.
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