QOTD: Do Automotive Executives Make Too Much?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Automotive News has a story out showing that for automaker bosses who have been in their position for at least two years, median pay has risen 90 percent since 2020.

The story is accompanied by a chart with salary numbers, and some of the numbers are staggering, even knowing that CEOs tend to be extremely well compensated in this day and age.

CEO compensation, of course, comes from more than just base salary -- there are bonuses and incentives and stock options and other forms of pay. But no matter how you slice, the total compensation for these execs is eye-popping.

Feel free to peruse the numbers for yourself. Then come back here and tell us -- do these CEOs make too much money, or are they being paid appropriately to steer the ship?

[Image: Naresh111/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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6 of 21 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 17, 2022

    The real question is - with all the value they add and all the sacrifices they make - do automotive journalists make too little. 😉

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 18, 2022

      Most individuals who claim to be automotive journalists are just shills for the auto companies. Just complain about a lack of soft touch plastics or gutless engines are peppy. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Daniel J Daniel J on Aug 19, 2022

    I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.

    • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Aug 19, 2022

      Ask yourself whether it's really "the market" or a self-reinforcing nepotistic network that is setting CEO compensation. The former is fine. The latter is just a way for an in-group to steal money from an out-group.

  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Aug 19, 2022

    Ok, John Galt.

    We’re a society, we have to set tax policy as a society, and that requires (and amply justifies) deciding how much tax is “enough.” You can play-act the self-reliant individual, but you’ll cry uncle when you encounter the warlords that actually run any place where society doesn’t exist.

  • InCogKneeToe InCogKneeToe on Aug 22, 2022

    I (being a Commissioned Sales Person), have No Issue with a Pay Structure based on Merit. however, Automotive CEO's seem to be beyond that structure. If the Company is doing Good, the pay is Outlandish, if the Company is doing poorly, the pay is Outlandish. There is no Rhyme or Reasoning behind it. Other than Wall Street Performance, which can be manipulated to look Rosey or Dismal throughout the year. Especially when many Manufactures are now only reporting Quarterly Results