One of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs, which he named the 'self-propelled cart,' was the inspiration for one of the most useful and fascinating inventions of the modern world; the automobile. In general, an automobile is defined as a vehicle that carries its own motor and transports people. Several great minds contributed to the invention of the automobile, creating innovative ways to produce and manufacture several types of motors, engines, and designs. It has been just over a century since the transport revolution that saw two and four-wheeled vehicles become the favored transport of billions around the world. Today, more than any other vehicle, it is the automobile that dominates the world’s roads.
Today, the global automotive industry has gone through rapid change, and is full of tense competition between big players fighting for larger market share. Nowadays, that means a lot of integration of advanced computers into cars, used to improve everything from navigation, to battery charging, to entertainment. Together with the superior safety and reliability of the cars of today, better performance, comfort and style, energy efficiency, and reduced environmental impact are and continue to be the priorities for automobile makers with their eyes fixed on delivering the most popular products of tomorrow.
There are several automobile companies who mint money selling cars, and there are others who made their fortune marketing trucks. It’s a complicated market, filled with dozens of options that tailor to different crowds, different tastes, and different incomes.
Here are the 10 largest automobile companies in the world, current as of 2013.
10 10. Renault- Vehicles Produced (2013): 2,676,226
Renault is a French multinational automobile company founded in 1899. This company is part-owned by France, with 15 percent of its stakes held by the French government. Renault manufactures Light commercial vehicles (LCV) only and does not manufacture heavy commercial vehicles or buses. Renault also does not market its cars in the US. It is the third-largest European automaker by production, coming in just under Volkswagen and PSA. This company is widely known for its presence in several motor sports, including Formula 1.
This French automobile company manufactured 2,676,226 vehicles, which included 2,302,769 cars, and brought in revenue of $54.45 billion in 2013.
9 Suzuki -Vehicles Produced (2013): 2,893,602
A Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Minani-ku, Hamamatsu, Japan, Suzuki specializes in the manufacture of four-wheel drive vehicles, wheel chairs, automobiles, ATVs and small combustion engines. The second largest manufacturer of cars and trucks in Japan, Suzuki operates its business in three separate areas; the two-wheel vehicle branch, three-wheel vehicle branch, and the specialty vehicle branch. Indian company Maruti's collaboration with Suzuki saw some quality cars released, including the Maruti Alto, Swift, Maruti Suzuki and Estilo, which were the highest selling cars in India.
With a manufacture of a total of 2,893,602 vehicles, which includes 2,483,721 cars, the total revenue of this company was $30.35 billion in 2013.
8 Peugeot SA- Vehicles Produced (2013): 2,911,764
Started as a coffee mill and bicycle manufacturing company in 1810, Peugeot SA established itself as an automobile manufacturing company in 1890. Today, Peugeot is a France-based manufacturer of passenger cars, motorcycles, bicycles, commercial vehicles and several automobile spare parts. The company made a total of 2,911,764 vehicles, including 2,554,059 cars, in 2013.
Though Peugeot has been popular in Europe, this company has not done much business in the US since 1991. Peugeot had a total market cap of $3.03 billion as of 2013.
7 Honda- Vehicles Produced (2013): 4,110,857
Japanese public multinational corporation Honda Motor Company is known for the manufacture of automobiles and motorcycles. It has been the leading manufacturer of motorcycles since 1959, as well as the largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines in automobiles. It was the first Japanese automobile manufacturer, and released its first dedicated luxury brand, Acura, in 1986.
Beside manufacture of automobiles and their motorcycle businesses, Honda also produces power generators, personal watercrafts and marine engines. It is also involved in manufacture of robots with ASIMO being one of the best robots in the world. A total of 4,110,857 vehicles were produced in 2013 while the total revenue was $96.01 billion.
6 Nissan- Vehicles Produced (2013): 4,889,379
Founded in 1933 by Masujiro Hashimoto, Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi, Nissan is a Japanese multinational automobile company headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. It is one of the largest manufacturers of light commercial vehicles, as well as of heavy commercial vehicles. The company is also known for manufacturing several memorable sports cars, like the Datsun Fairlady. Nissan made around 4,889,379 vehicles in 2013, and a total of 3,830,954 cars.
The company runs with two business segments, one which manufactures and sells vehicles, accessories, forklifts and marine products while the Sales Financing segment carries out the sales financing services. The total revenue of this company as of 2013 is $113.66 billion.
5 Ford- Vehicles Produced (2013): 5,595,483
American automobile company Ford was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford. This multinational automaker is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, and sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under its brand, and most of its luxury offerings under the Lincoln brand. Also listed on the New York Stock Exchanges, it is described as one of the most important industrial company in the history of America.
Ford is the second largest automaker in the US and the seventh largest car producer in the world. A total of 5,595,483 vehicles were produced in the year 2013, which includes several models of cars, trucks, and buses. The company had total revenue of $134.25 billion in 2013.
4 Hyundai- Vehicles Produced (2013): 7,126,413
Hyundai Motor Company is a 1967-founded South Korean multinational, and is the third largest producer of cars in the world. American car sales surged in 2013 thanks to Hyundai, as it recorded the all-time US sales record in August last year by exceeding a total sales of 66,000 units. Centennial, Genesis and Accent are some of the most popular car brands produced by Hyundai.
Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries worldwide, through around 6,000 dealerships and showrooms. The company produced a total of 7,126,413 vehicles in 2013, and had revenue of $75.03 billion.
3 Volkswagen- Vehicles Produced (2013): 9,254,742
Founded in the year 1937, Volkswagen is Germany's largest automobile manufacturing company. Known by the slogan 'Das Auto' ('The Car'), it is the largest manufacturer of cars in the world, boasting an impressive total of 8,576,964 cars produced in 2013. However, it comes just shy of the lead in overall vehicle manufacture, with a total output of 9,254,742 vehicles. Volkaswagen also has the world's three best selling cars of all time: the Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Volkaswagen Passat.
Not only involved in manufacture, Volkswagen is also the highest-spending company for research and development of automobiles. The total sales revenue of this company rose to $254.02 billion in 2013.
2 General Motors- Vehicles Produced (2013): 9,285,425
Commonly known as GM, General Motors is an American automobile company which manufactures vehicles in 37 countries worldwide and produces several brands, including Chevrolet, GMC, Lsuzu, Opel Buick, and Cadillac. It was also the largest producer of light commercial vehicles in 2012, with over 2.6 million units built.
This company also led global vehicle sales from 1931 to 2007 - 77 consecutive years - the longest ever in automotive history. General Motors produced a total of 9,285,425 vehicles, including 6,608,567 cars, in 2013, which yielded revenues of $152.26 billion.
1 Toyota- Vehicles Produced (2013): 10,104,424
Toyota, the world's largest automaker, was founded in 1937 by Kiichito Toyota. Today, Toyota is the world's largest producer of trucks, and the second largest manufacturer of cars, just behind Volkswagen. As of 2013, Toyota is also the thirteenth-largest company in the world by revenue. The largest listed company in Japan by market capitalization and revenue, Toyota has also one of the largest conglomerates in the world- the TMC.
The company produced a total of 10,104,424 vehicles in 2013, which included the manufacture of 8,381,968 cars. The company has revenue of $224.49 billion.