There are multiple ways to define the popularity of companies. Market capitalization measures the market value of a publicly traded company and is a proxy for popularity. Major auto manufacturers can be ranked by revenue or unit sales, both of which are published in quarterly and annual reports.
Volkswagen AG, founded in 1937, is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen sells passenger cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles under popular brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche and Ducati. As of January 2021, Volkswagen had a market cap of $97.67 billion (€80.86 billion). The company reported fiscal year 2019 revenue of $299.8 billion (€252.6 billion) and 10.96 million units sold.
Toyota Motor Corporation (TM), founded in 1937, is headquartered in Aichi, Japan. Toyota sells automobiles under brands including Lexus and Hino. As of January 2021, the company’s market capitalization was $208.15 billion. Toyota reported fiscal year 2020 total automotive sales of $257 billion (¥26.8 trillion) and 9 million units sold.
General Motors (GM), founded in 1908, is headquartered in Detroit. GM sells automobiles, parts and financial services under brands including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. As of January 2021, GM’s market capitalization was $71.52 billion. The company reported fiscal year 2019 revenue of $137 billion and wholesale volume of 4.2 million. Wholesale volume does not include vehicle sales of unconsolidated subsidiaries. In 2019, unconsolidated subsidiaries sold an additional 3.5 million vehicles.
Ford Motor Company (F), founded in 1903, is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford sells consumer autos and commercial vehicles under the Ford and Lincoln brands. Ford also offers financing services to customers. The company holds minority interest in a number of unconsolidated subsidiaries and is engaged in numerous joint ventures. As of January 2021, Ford’s market capitalization totaled $39.11 billion. The company reported fiscal year 2019 revenues of $155.9 billion and 5.4 million wholesale units sold.
Honda Motor Company (HMC), founded in 1948, has headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Honda manufactures automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment. As of January 2021, Honda’s market capitalization was $47.12 billion. The company reported fiscal year 2020 revenue of $142.7 billion (¥14.9 trillion) with 19.3 million units sold.
Nissan Motor Company, founded in 1933, has headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. Nissan sells consumer and commercial vehicles under brand names including Infiniti and Datsun. As of January 2021, the company’s market cap was $20.05 billion (¥2.08 trillion). Nissan reported fiscal year 2018 revenues of $110 billion (¥11.56 trillion) with 5.5 million units sold.
Hyundai has headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. As of January 2021, Hyundai’s market cap was $46.56 billion (₩54.72 trillion). Hyundai owns 33% of Kia Motors. Hyundai reported fiscal year 2019 revenue of $93 billion (₩105.7 trillion) with 2.7 million units sold.
Another way to measure popularity is to quantify brand strength. According to Forbes, the most powerful brands among automakers in 2020 were Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda, Audi, Porsche, Chevrolet, Ford, Lexus, Hyundai, and Volkswagen, in that order. These brands are all within the top 100 global brands across all industries. Large auto parts companies include Magna International, Continental Automotive Systems, and ZF North America.