How Much 19 Major Car Brands Make Every Second

This infographic visualizes the total revenue that major car manufacturers have earned in 2019. It helps put into perspective which car brands are succeeding and which car brands are suffering. This is valuable knowledge to have when purchasing a car or investing in car stocks or just to satisfy your curiosity.

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What Was the First Car Ever Sold?

Since the dawn of the automobile, the growth of the auto industry has been exponential, spreading across the globe and transforming economies and lifestyles. The first car sold is believed to have been the 1901 Mercedes, designed by Wilhelm Maybach for Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, the predecessor of Daimler-Benz. This marvel had a 35-horsepower engine that achieved a top speed of 53 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, today's average horsepower of a car is 120, and the average top speed is around 120 miles per hour. By 1909, Daimler employed around 1,700 workers to produce just under one thousand of these groundbreaking vehicles a year. However, a new player was on the horizon.

 

In 1897, Ransom Eli Olds of Lansing, Michigan, founded Olds Motor Works, which would later become Oldsmobile. He developed a small, one-cylinder model that went on to become a sensation at the New York auto show in 1901. Inspired by the enthusiastic reception, Olds returned to Lansing and launched large-scale production for this vehicle. This curved-dash Oldsmobile was the first American car to be manufactured using the progressive assembly line system. It sold for around $650, making it within reach for many middle-class Americans, and 5,508 units of the 1904 Oldsmobile were manufactured, surpassing any car production accomplished until that point.

 

With its expansive land area and spreading of settlements and towns, the United States was the perfect environment for automotive transportation to undergo exponential growth. Sparked by American innovation and manufacturing, the production of cars burgeoned rapidly. Cheap raw materials and a shortage of skilled labor encouraged the mechanization of industrial production in the United States.

In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T and William Durant founded General Motors. By 1913, the U.S. produced 485,000 of the world's total of 606,124 motor vehicles. Other automobile manufacturers were quick to adopt Ford's mass-production techniques, but most of them could not keep up. The number of active automobile manufacturers dropped from 253 in 1908 to only 44 in 1929, with 80% of the industry's output coming from Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. These car manufacturers became known as the Big Three. Before long, cars imported from overseas would challenge these giants, spurring innovation and quality control.

What Was the First Foreign Car Sold in the U.S.?

The first foreign car sold in the United States was the Volkswagen "Bug," which was heralded as a modern Model T, followed shortly by fuel-efficient Japanese cars. Imported cars were able to gain traction in the United States due to a postwar shift in buyer priorities from style to functionality. American car quality began to deteriorate to the point that American-made vehicles were being delivered to buyers with an average of 24 defects per unit, most of them safety-related. Additionally, concerns over the environmental impact of huge gas-guzzling "road cruisers" began cropping up. Overseas car manufacturers jumped at the opportunity to appeal to U.S. customers.

What Was the First Luxury Car Sold in the U.S.?

The 1958 Ford Thunderbird was the first high-volume personal luxury car. Ford's market research found that the two-seat layout of previous vehicles was limiting sales, so it added a rear seat. This helped the Thunderbird reach exceptional sales, with more than 200,000 units being sold within the first three years of its run.

Is Ford Profitable Now?

Despite being the pioneer and ruler of the automobile industry for a long time, Ford has been struggling financially in recent years. In 2019, Ford experienced a fourth-quarter loss that essentially wiped out its entire profit for the year. The drop in profit has been blamed on higher warranty costs in the second half of 2019, lower vehicle sales, reduced revenue from Ford Credit, and greater investment in the development of electric and self-driving vehicles.

Is Volkswagen Profitable Now?

Volkswagen earned a total revenue of $290,222,080,000 in 2019, making it one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world. According to the CEO of Volkswagen, Frank Witter, "The Volkswagen Group achieves good performance amid a challenging market environment." Volkswagen sold a total of 363,322 units in the United States in 2019, which is 2.13% of the market share.

How Much Does Toyota Make in a Year?

Toyota reported a total revenue of $272,300,000,000 in 2019, making it among the most profitable car manufacturers in the world. Toyota owns Lexus, which ranks as the fourth-largest luxury brand in the world.

Why is Toyota so successful? Experts agree that the monumental success of Toyota is due in part to the Toyota Productive System (TPS). This unorthodox manufacturing system allows Toyota to quickly and efficiently produce vehicles that are reliable and safe. Toyota also credits its success to its view of its employees. Rather than considering employees as merely pairs of working hands, Toyota values them as knowledge workers who accumulate chie, the wisdom of experience. Harnessing this vast collection of experience, Toyota deliberately fosters contradictory viewpoints in an effort to trigger conflict and innovation.


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