By on January 29, 2011

Now that most of the large car companies have supplied their numbers, TTAC has compiled its annual table of the world’s largest automakers. In doing so, we have attempted to come as close as possible to the methodology used in the official OICA list, which will be published some time this summer. Here is the 2009 version as a reference. And here are TTAC’s Top Ten of 2010:

Top Ten Automakers 2010

Production 2010* Production 2009** Rank 2009 Change
1 Toyota Group 8,557,351 7,234,439 1 18.29%
2 General Motors Group 8,389,769 6,459,053 2 29.89%
3 Volkswagen Group 7,140,000 6,067,208 3 17.68%
4 Hyundai Motor Group 5,744,018 4,645,776 5 23.64%
5 Ford 5,313,000 4,685,394 4 13.39%
6 Nissan 4,053,701 2,744,562 8 47.70%
7 Honda 3,643,057 3,012,637 7 20.93%
8 PSA Group 3,602,200 3,042,311 6 18.40%
9 Suzuki 2,892,945 2,387,537 10 21.17%
10 Renault 2,625,796 2,296,009 11 14.36%

* According to data reported by companies, sources hyperlinked, see remarks
** According to OICA

The OICA list is the industry benchmark for motor vehicle production. Therefore, we have tried to replicate its methodology as closely as possible. This means:

  • Use the manufacturer groupings as in OICA 2009
  • Use all motor vehicles built by a manufacturer, from mini vehicle to heavy truck
  • Use production, not sales

The OICA methodology is debatable and is being constantly debated, but we are not here to change it. We are trying to come as close to the final ranking as possible. The idea of this list is not to put a new spin on matters. The idea is to give our readers data for which others have to wait half a year.

This list is as good as its sources. We have used official data delivered by the manufacturers only. The sources are hyperlinked. The only exception is Hyundai Group, it leads to an article where the official data from Hyundai and Kia are aggregated to comply with their joint OICA reporting.

Where we had a choice of production or sales, we took the production number, as required by OICA. The exacting Japanese are usually very precise in their data delivery. They carefully separate sales from production and give you tables that even capture CKD kits in transit. Other countries and companies are more opaque. If no production number is given, we need to take what we have. Where “deliveries” or “sales to wholesale” are specified, that number is usually close to “production.” Rarely does a manufacturer count a car as sold when it is actually sold to the end user.

For comparison, the 2009 production number and rank are given. They are single sourced from OICA.

The percentage change number is a calculated number for reference only. It measures the difference between the 2009 OICA number and the reported 2010 number. If manufacturers use different numbers than what they report to OICA, this calculated percentage will differ from theirs.

This list remains a work in progress. It is not unusual that a number appears in these year-end releases, then another number appears in the annual report, only to be followed by a different number at OICA. Even after OICA publishes a number, it does not remain cast in stone.

Nissan for instance reported to OICA an annual production of 2,744,562 units for 2009. In Nissan’s new 2010 production and sales release, that 2009 number rose to 2,953,216 units. That’s a good 200,000 more. Why? No idea.

Whether groups aggregate their numbers or not is up to the groups. If Nissan and Renault would report together, they would have unseated the Volkswagen Group from its #3 spot. But Nissan and Renault so far never reported together. They issued a joint press release though. Volkswagen and Suzuki could also pool their production, arrive at 10 million units and make that exercise utterly boring. (Speaking of which, message to the scribes who like to jump the gun: The Volkswagen number does NOT include Porsche yet. It most likely won’t include it in 2010 either.) If Fiat and Chrysler would report together, they would still be on the list, in #7, most likely. But they don’t report together. When the manufacturers change their reporting, we will change with them. Before, we won’t.

The list itself needs no commentary, it speaks for itself. For easier reading, the position changes were marked green for up and red for down.

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26 Comments on “The Truth About Cars Announces The Top Ten Automakers Of 2010...”

  • avatar

    Yep, I agree totally with your analysis and agree with your list. Fiat dropped out of top 10 and Renault came in. Biggest difference.

    Now a question, where is the world is Nissan being so succesful that its sales went up 47%? It sure isn’t in NA or Brazil…

    Also of the PSA 3.6 million sales, how many are Puegeot and how many are Citröen?


    • 0 avatar

      You can drill down to the source to find out more. Also, according to Nissan’s own analysis, they only grew 37 percent. That had to do with the 200,000  cars that mysteriously showed up for 2009 after they had reported to OICA. You had been warned.
      One more piece of warning: Nissan’s numbers only go from Jan 10 to Dec 10. A lot can happen in that missing month.

    • 0 avatar

      48% is a staggering mind-blowing number!!!!!

      We’re not talking about a young EV manufacturer or an extremely small exotic company going from 100 to 148 vehicles.

      Think of Ghosn’s bonus for a minute …

  • avatar

    The first 3 have a big gap above the 4 to 6 positions. And overall it seems that each group of 3 is 2M cars apart from the other. The explanation of that would be interesting.

  • avatar

    Shouldn’t China / India be in the top ten? Don’t they collaborate with other makers?

    • 0 avatar

      All of India bought only 1.87 million, last year. The numbers here are global numbers, and they contain a lot of Chinese sales. 2.3 million the case of GM for instance.
      The Chinese industry is too cluttered, the homegrown sales of the big ones aren’t big enough yet.

  • avatar

    It appears that, in spite of all the Toyota recalls and issues worldwide, the real-world buyers prefer the worst from Toyota over the best of GM.  Maybe some of you Buy-American weenies would like a crack at ‘splainin’ that one away.  I drove GM and Ford all of my life, but even I had to admit, although begrudgingly and reluctantly, that the stuff from Toyota was better. As more people, worldwide, catch on to this fact, it should come as no surprise then that more buyers will opt for the Toyota brand and its related subsidiaries. Even by making many of their cars outside of the US, Ford and GM do not offer as much for the money as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai do. Chrysler is just another foreign-owned company now run from Italy.  When it comes to buying a new car, it boils down to which brand gives you the most for your money.  The biggest bang for your buck.  The challenge for Ford and GM is to convince the rest of the world to buy their products, because sales inside the US alone are not enough to keep these two companies solvent. But both Ford and GM are weighed down with issues that are far greater than those experienced by Toyota.  Most buyers won’t buy second-rate merchandise when there is better to be had for the same money. And the rest of the world buys what gives them the most value for their money – Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      All well and true assuming that things have remained the same. Toyota has made excellent and high-quality transportation appliances. However, things do change and Toyota is in real danger of falling into the “second-rate merchandise” category.

    • 0 avatar

      Well put Tonyola

    • 0 avatar

      Tonyola, I agree that things can and do change. I never in my wildest orgasms thought that I would ever drive a Toyota or even a Jap brand.  Always drove Ford or GM.  When it came time to replace her ’92 Towncar the wife was smitten by the 2008 Jap-built Toyota Highlander Limited AWD. I was reluctant but I gave in and bought it for her.  It has been trouble-free and has never been back to the dealership for anything. What a change from the Towncar!  When it came time for me to replace my F150 and old Silverado, I shopped around and was surprised at what the Tundra and Titan had to offer.  I bought a Tundra DoubleCab Longbed 2WD 5.7. Compared to what I drove in the past my Tundra is just way better than anything I ever had, in all aspects. And no warranty-repair trips back to the dealer!!!  There may come a time that Ford and GM will be better than anything the foreigners sell in America. In the mean time they have to overcome four decades of declining quality, sales and marketshare, ending with taxpayer-funded bail-outs and endless ‘loans’, subsidies and tax exemptions.  Ford and GM have made great strides in moving much of their assembly to Mexico and China, but Made-in-America domestic-brand cars do not sell well outside of North America. Toyota sells well everywhere.  The production figures for 2010 tell us that Toyota is the world leader.  That may change in for 2011. Toyota could sell less than GM in 2011, true.  But it is also equally possible that Toyota could sell even more than GM does in 2011.  For that we’ll have to wait until Bertel tells us about it next year.

  • avatar

    I would have no problem recommending a Toyota to anyone and there are some real deals to be had. I also commend them for having their prices in Canada more in line with those in the USA. There is no excuse, for example, that a made in Canada Civic Si should cost $5000 more in Canada than the USA.

  • avatar

    highdesertcat – maybe you could explain to me why Toyota has a 3% market share in Europe – you know the land of the car (trucks and SUV’s sell poorly, so no advantage to the Detroit Three)? Maybe because Toyota only make reliable cars and that is it. No USP.
    Many companies make reliable cars, but have better design, better driving dynamics, better fuel economy and/or better price. That is why Hyundai will eat Toyota alive in the US and why GM, Ford and VW reign in Europe – both in the past and the future.

    • 0 avatar

      mike978, I’m no expert on Europe, if you mean Northwestern Europe encompassing Germany, the Benelux countries, England, etc.  But as I recall from my military days serving in ‘Europe’ the European-spec cars should not be compared to the US-spec cars of North America.  The European products from Ford and GM are far superior to those of the same companies sold in the US.  That’s why over-engineered European brands like Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Saab, Porsche and Audi were so popular with the GIs (at least in my days there).   I owned a Euro-spec 1972 Mercedes 220D bought new while there (tax-free) and put well over 200,000 kms on it over the more than 7 years I was stationed there. Sold it for more than I paid for it!  I cannot explain to you why Toyota only has a 3% marketshare in Europe, but the fact that they have any marketshare in Europe at all I find surprising.  I agree that Hyundai makes a remarkable product.  If I was in the market for a sedan I would consider buying them, after a thorough comparison of course.  Maybe Bertel can enlighten us if Toyota is really striving to compete in Europe against the natives or if their marketing strategy is just a token effort to show the flag in a mature market. But for 2010 Toyota has done very well with their worldwide production and that is what this article is about.  More people actually chose to buy a Toyota product instead of a GM product. And that in spite of the massive taxpayer-funded bailouts and hand outs and special tax-accommodations that GM received.  I expect Toyota to be around in the future, on its own merits.  GM died when it declared bankruptcy, just like Chrysler did.  And just like Chrysler, GM should have been sold.  Maybe with their enormous sales in China, GM will move its HQ to China soon.

    • 0 avatar

      mike978, the fact that Toyota even has a presence in Europe surprises me. Not their forte. But the Euro-spec Ford and GM cars should not be compared to the Ford and GM US-spec cars sold in North America. As I recollect from my time in Europe they were mutually exclusive. From my own experiences with a 1972 Mercedes 220D bought new when I was stationed in Europe with the military, there is a huge  difference between the engineering of cars designed to be driven wide-open throttle on the autobahns all day, and the engineering of cars designed to be driven at 55mph on the US freeways. I agree that Hyundai is currently the best of all worlds.  My daughter owns a 2008 Sonata and it has been a flawless daily driver, even with well over 150,000 miles on it. But Toyota sells well in most of the world and their trucks are the vehicle of choice of Al Queda and the Taliban and Somali “Technicals” as can be seen on many news broadcasts. It’s hard to imagine a tougher environment for trucks to operate in. OTOH, those same news broadcasts also show us blown-apart American trucks and cars sent overseas to the warzones as “aid” (and target practice for the insurgents).  I was highly skeptical of buying Toyota myself since I had always driven Ford and GM but my wife initially talked me into buying her a Jap-built 2008 Highlander Limited AWD and it has been troublefree.  What a change from her ’92 Towncar, an original piece of sh it.  I was so impressed that when it came time to buy a new truck I looked at the Japanese and was pleasantly surprised at what Titan and Tundra had to offer.  I bought a Tundra 5.7 DoubleCab Longbed 2WD to replace both my F150 and my old Silverado. What I see in the article Bertel wrote is that Toyota made it to the top in spite of all their troubles because more people worldwide choose to buy one of their products.  The challenge for Ford and GM is to overcome their decades-long descent into financial ruin in North America by selling more overseas.  With sales on the increase in China, maybe GM will move its headquarters there soon and start shipping the profits back to the US of A.  One can only hope to live long enough to see GM morph into a profitable company that sends its profits home to mama.

    • 0 avatar

      Mike, Mike, Mike:
      GM and Ford don’t “reign” in Europe. If you are in place 4 with a 8.7% share (GM), you don’t reign.  If you are in place 5 with a 8.1% share (Ford), you don’t reign.  If you are in place 1 with a 21.2 % share (VW), you do reign,by a wide margin.
      As far as Toyota and its 4.2 % (not 3 %, see Excel data here ) share goes: None of the JP cars do exceptionally well in Europe. (Again, see spreadsheet.) Why? Because there is as much of a compelling reason in Europe to buy a JP car as there is in Japan to buy a European car. In light of this, Toyota is holding its own. Their share in Europe is in the same neighborhood as such European cars as Daimler or BMW.

    • 0 avatar

      I think just having more competitors splitting the pie has an affect. The reliability issues that killed the French and Italian brands in N.A. seem to have largely unaffected them in Europe.

  • avatar

    So why is a joint press release announcing joint sales figures not enough to consider the Renault-Nissan group as a one automaker?

  • avatar

    I assume Fiat is separate from “Chrysler Group” production. For all practical purposes, they’re under one management. Where would F-C-G be if combined? Would they be anywhere near the 5-6 million Sergio says is needed to be a viable world automaker?

    • 0 avatar


      Before the crisis, yes they combined for above 5 million cars a year. Last year Chrylser had 2.5 million sales and Fiat 2 million (or the other way around, I’m telling this from memmory). Now, with US stabilizing at 14 million and Brazil reaching 4 million in car sales (maybe this year or next) – and Fiat keeping their share in Brazil – 6 million cars could be a year away.

  • avatar

    According to Chrysler fan site
    In 2010, Fiat-Chrysler sold 3.8 million vehicles worldwide, including 129,630 Iveco trucks. Iveco was one of the brands spun off into Fiat Industrial SpA on December 31, 2010, so those sales will not be included in 2011. Without the trucks, Fiat-Chrysler car and light commercial truck sales totaled 3,671,800 for the year. This puts them in seventh place, behind Ford but ahead of Honda, among manufacturers that have reported their worldwide sales figures.

    • 0 avatar

      Mr. Cawthon must have been drunk when he penned the Allpar article: If IVECO is spun off by 12/31/2010, then all 129,630 IVECO trucks count for 2010. When he wrote the article, there were no official numbers from Chrysler, those numbers should come out today.  When you total up both numbers, be careful: Fiat reports 13,500 Chrysler cars sold in Europe in 2010 as theirs.
      Again, all these what ifs are for the birds. This table attempts to replicate the official OICA table as faithfully as possible. If Fiat and Chrysler don’t report together, we won’t add them up either. If Hyundai and Kia report together, we add them up. If Renault and Nissan report separately, we keep them separate. If GM counts a million Wulings where they only have 34%, we give them to GM.

    • 0 avatar

      Which means we need two lists: one for each brand and one for each conglomerate (like Hyundai/Kia, Renault/Nissan, Chrysler/FIAT). It would also be nice to see a break down by region: NA, Europe, Asia, South America etc.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree winswords! ask bertel nicely and he might just do it!

  • avatar

    You could do at least five different tables for ranking production numbers:
    1. Individual brands
    2. Companies and subsidiaries with over 50% ownership (GM, VW etc)
    3. Additional “groups as recognized by OICA”
    4. All groupings with cross-shareholdings
    5. Groupings with pro-rated production (ie add 38% of Kia to Hyundai production)

    In my mind, the first and last are the ones that make the most sense …

  • avatar

    Ford used to sell in the 6-7 million range several years ago. How the mighty have fallen.

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