The automobile industry rakes in billions of dollars every year and is a huge job creator, with millions of automotive jobs around the world being created through car dealers, parts suppliers, and automotive manufacturing. In fact, 4.5% of all U.S. jobs are supported by the auto industry; that’s a whole lot of people behind what’s under your carport! This made us wonder, which major car manufacturer has the most employees working for them, and which has the least?
Alan’s Factory Outlet sought out the number of employees working for 35 of the biggest car manufacturers in the auto industry to see which ones employed the most people. One car manufacturer in particular stood out above the rest, with more than 600,000 people around the world working for them. The number of cars that Toyota and Volkswagen manufactured in 2020 were close, 9.528 million and 9.305 million respectively, yet Volkswagen’s workforce is nearly double that of Toyota, the automaker that was found to have the second-highest number of employees.
Which car manufacturers are you surprised to see have so many, or so few, people employed in their workforce?
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Which Car Manufacturer Has the Most Employees?
The car manufacturer with the most employees is Volkswagen Group, which employs 662,575 people at their plants worldwide. Of the nearly 700,000 employees in the company, 120,000 of them work in Germany, where the German car manufacturer is based.
The world’s best-selling automaker, Toyota Motor Corporation, was found to have the second most employees, with 370,870 people working at their plants around the world, almost half of what Volkswagen employs. Why does Volkswagen have such a large workforce compared to their competitor with a similar output? The company’s corporate statutes do not allow any of their worldwide plants to open or close without the express consent of their German workers, who make up half of the company’s supervisory board. This has made restructuring within the company very difficult.
The 10 Car Manufacturers With the Most Employees
- Volkswagen Group: 662,575
- Toyota Motor Corporation: 370,870
- Daimler AG: 288,481
- Honda Motor Company: 218,674
- SAIC Motor: 204,815
- Ford Motor Company: 186,000
- Renault Group: 179,565
- General Motors Company: 155,000
- Dongfeng Motor Corporation: 136,549
- Nissan Motor Corporation: 136,134
Which Car Manufacturer Has the Fewest Employees?
The car manufacturer that has the smallest number of employees is Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corporation, with just 137 employees. Headquartered in Canada, they manufacture environmentally efficient electric vehicles (EVs). Their low number of employees could grow in the near future as the company works to expand and open a U.S. base of operations in Mesa, AZ.
Canoo Inc. and Nikola Corporation, both manufacturers of more environmentally friendly vehicles, were the only other car manufacturers on the list with less than a thousand employees. As for how the biggest electric car manufacturer ranked in terms of how many people it employs, Tesla was smack dab in the middle of the list of car manufacturers with just more than 70,000 employees.
- Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corporation: 137
- Canoo Inc.: 300
- Nikola Corporation: 348
- Li Auto Inc.: 2,628
- Aston Martin: 3,000
- Xpeng (Xiaopeng Motors): 3,676
- Ferrari S.p.A.: 4,164
- NIO Inc.: 7,442
- Hotai Motor Co.: 23,533
- Mitsubishi Motors Corporation: 29,555
Where in the World Do Car Manufacturing Employees Earn the Highest Salary?
The automobile industry is a lucrative one, and the top car manufacturers earn hundreds of billions of dollars in auto sales each year. But how much of that goes back to the employees? In a time when manufacturers in every industry are trying to find the cheapest labor possible, car manufacturers are no exception. So in what parts of the world are people earning higher salaries while working in the auto manufacturing industry, and where is labor being exploited by top carmakers)? It seems like the car manufacturing wage gap in the top car-making countries across the world is fairly large when looking at the data that Auto Express found through their investigation. Compare the estimated annual wages of auto factory workers in the 12 top car-producing countries around the world:
- China: $10,836
- Japan: $31,320
- Germany: $69,000
- United States: $51,000
- South Korea: $80,000
- India: $2,275
- Spain: $46,700
- Brazil: $21,800
- Mexico: $6,240
- United Kingdom: $37,000
- France: $76,600
- Czechia: $20,600
Auto factory workers in South Korea earn the highest average salary at $80,000 a year, and the average salaries for workers in France and Germany aren’t far behind. We may see Germany’s average salary increase, though, as Volkswagen came to a new labor agreement that will give their employees in Germany a 2.3% pay increase through November 2022. Low-income countries like India, Mexico, and China were found to have extremely low salaries when compared to the other top car-making countries. This means that the car manufacturing wage that employees in South Korea earn is 40 times that of employees working in India.
With Volkswagen’s workforce nearly double that of the next car manufacturer we can only image how much the company must be paying out to their 662,575 employees, so we decided to try and estimate how much their annual employment budget could be. According to PayScale, the average compensation of a Volkswagen employee in the United States is $96,000 a year. If we assumed that this was the average salary across the entire company, then Volkswagen would be paying an estimated $63 billion each year to the many employees that make up the company! While this seems like a massive sum of money, it’s only around one fifth of the annual sales revenue that the Volkswagen company typically earns.
How Much Do Jobs in the Auto Industry Pay?
We’ve looked at the average pay of jobs in the auto industry across various countries, but what are the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing, and in which car manufacturing jobs can you expect to earn a lower hourly wage? To compare the wages for car manufacturers in the USA, we used the Bureau of Labor Statistics average hourly earnings of a variety of production and non-supervisory positions at car companies in the United States. Here is how much you can expect to earn per hour in the U.S. auto industry:
Automotive Manufacturing Jobs
- Motor vehicles and parts manufacturing: $25.24
- Motor vehicle manufacturing: $30.95
- Motor vehicle bodies and trailers: $21.11
- Motor vehicle parts manufacturing: $23.71
- Motor vehicle and parts wholesalers: $24.69
- Motor vehicle and parts dealers: $24.25
- Automobile dealers: $26.26
- Other motor vehicle dealers: $24.83
- Auto parts, accessories, and tire stores: $19.32
- Automotive repair and maintenance: $21.18
Now how do these wages, with full-time salaries that fall in the $40,000-$50,000 range, compare to what CEOs of the largest car manufacturers are making? With salaries in the multi-millions, some of the CEOs in the automobile industry are making 200 times the annual salary of average middle-level employees! Below are some examples of just how much CEOs of some of the biggest car companies earn each year compared to their employees.
- General Motors CEO Mary Barra earned $21.63 million in 2019, 203 times the average employee’s salary.
- Ford CEO Jim Hackett earned $17.4 million in 2019, 157 times the average employee’s salary.
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles paid its last CEO, Mike Manley, $14.4 million in 2019, 232 times the average employee’s salary.
Here’s the Full List of Major Car Manufacturers Ranked by Number of Employees
|Rank||Car Manufacturer||Location of Headquarters||Number of Employees|
|2||Toyota Motor Corporation||Japan||370,870|
|4||Honda Motor Company||Japan||218,674|
|6||Ford Motor Company||USA||186,000|
|8||General Motors Company||USA||155,000|
|9||Dongfeng Motor Corporation||China||136,549|
|10||Nissan Motor Corporation||Japan||136,134|
|12||FAW Group Corporation||China||132,000|
|13||BAIC Motor Corporation||China||130,000|
|16||Hyundai Motor Company||South Korea||71,504|
|18||Suzuki Motor Corporation||Japan||68,499|
|19||Great Wall Motors Company||China||63,174|
|20||Mazda Motor Corporation||Japan||49,998|
|21||Geely Automobile Holdings||Hong Kong||38,000|
|23||Chang’an Automobile Group||China||36,764|
|24||Kia Motors||South Korea||35,921|
|26||Mitsubishi Motors Corporation||Japan||29,555|
|27||Hotai Motor Co.||Taiwan||23,533|
|30||Xpeng (Xiaopeng Motors)||China||3,676|
|32||Li Auto Inc.||China||2,628|
|35||Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corporation||Canada||137|
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