TTAC Announces World's Top Ten Largest Automakers

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Some time in summer, OICA will announce the world production ranking of all automakers and answer that all-important question: Who are the world’s largest auto makers? TTAC readers are an impatient bunch and are used to hear and know stuff before anybody else. TTAC is pleased to announce the preliminary, unofficial world ranking of 2009 production. Who’s the top? Who’s the bottom? Who dominates the industry? We present you: The top ten car makers in the world.

For this, we have scoured the websites, read the annual reports, bugged the press liaisons. We report you the numbers as they have been reported to us, including the source (click on the manufacturer name to get to the source.) Be warned, manufacturers have their own methodology. Some count sales, some count production, Ford counts “worldwide wholesale unit volumes.” Most count buses and heavy trucks. Some do not. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. When the ranking gets tight, it may. Some unabashedly inflate their numbers. We won’t edit or adjust their figures. We give them to you as they have been given to us.

World’s 10 Largest Auto Makers

TTAC Rank 2009ManufacturerGlobal units 2009OICA Rank 2008OICA Units 20082009/

20081 Toyota Group 7,234,43919,237,780-21.7%2 General Motors Group 6,503,00028,282,803-21.5%3 Volkswagen Group 6,290,00036,437,414-2.3%4 Ford Group 4,817,00045,407,000-10.9%5 PSA Group 3,188,00073,325,407-4.1%6 Hyundai 3,106,17882,777,13711.8%7 Honda 3,012,00053,912,700-23.0%8 Nissan 2,744,56263,395,065-19.2%9 Suzuki 2,387,53392,623,567-9.0%10 Renault 2,309,188112,417,351-4.5%

Amongst the top 4, nothing has changed as far as the ranking goes. All except VW took a big haircut. But thanks to China and more than a million of Wuling vans, GM holds on to 2nd place. PSA and Hyundai had a strong showing and kicked Honda off #4 – but with a little creative bookkeeping this might change when the OICA numbers come out. Renault edges into the Top Ten and kicks FIAT down to second league (

Last November, an urban myth made the rounds that VW may the world’s largest automaker. It’s still making the rounds. BS, I say. VW still is a million away from the top spot. That’s why they have until 2018 to catch up. And who would have guessed it: Even the often repeated “Volkswagen is the second largest automaker” was not true. They were #3 in 2008. They remain #3 in 2009.

Back to OICA: Some companies gave OICA 2008 numbers that differ from what’s on their books and in their annual reports. Expect the shenanigans to continue. However, as far as the top 4 are concerned, we do not expect any changes in position. In any case, it’s not over until the fat lady at OICA sings. Even after she stops singing, the argument will continue. Come on, Wuling …

PS: Good old Chrysler would have nearly busted the project, would they have been Top Ten material. Not even close. Somewhere on #15 – but we don’t know. Chrysler makes a mess even out of year end reporting. They announced U.S. numbers. Then, sales outside NA. But no Canada or Mexico numbers for year end. Come on guys, get your act together.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Flameded Flameded on Jun 18, 2010

    Hyundai is doing better because their cars look much, much, much better than they used to. Plain and simple. Reliability,safety,economy...bah.. I'd be willing to bet that looks are AT LEAST half the battle when people buy a new car. I gotta admit..some of their new cars are lookin "good". (of course "good looks" is relative to what other people are making these days.. ) I tried to save GM years ago...I sent them an email saying [basically]..."Make cars that people want to buy." (I know, its a secret don't tell anyone) They thanked me for my email and suggestion. O...they also didn't take me up on my suggestion.

  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.