What countries make the biggest profits in the automotive industry?



Back in the day, Britain was seen globally as one of the major players in the automotive industry. Jaguar, Mini and Land Rover were rolling out cars for fun. But, then came the ‘super-brands, with acquisitions and mergers becoming a regular occurrence. Germany and Japan began to slowly cement their respective positions as the largest car manufacturing countries in the world. That said though, if it came down to a battle of the nations, who would win?

Assessing who owns who and delving in to who builds what, let’s take a look at which country is the most profitable in the automotive industry.


When asked to name Japanese car manufacturers, you would be forgiven for only considering the three lions: Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Over the years, these three engineering giants have provided us with classics such as the Civic, the GTR and the Celica, and the not so classics such as the Passport, the Sunny, and the Mega Cruiser.

In 2018, Honda had 2.2 per cent market share of new cars registered in the UK, down 2.5 per cent from the previous year, when they had shifted 53,900 vehicles. Nissan and Toyota virtually shared the spoils, selling 102,000 and 101,000 respectively, however Nissan can boast the fact the Qashqai was the nation’s fourth most popular choice of new motor.

Now, on a world stage, this is where things get complex. Deciphering between who is the clear-cut winner, due to the aforementioned acquisitions and mergers, is particularly challenging. Nissan bought out fellow Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi in 2016 for approximately £1.7 billion, while similarly taking over Datsun, and the premium brand, Infiniti. French company Renault however, are 43 per cent shareholders in Nissan.

Honda and Toyota, on the other-hand aren’t part-owned by anyone else. But, Toyota does own premium brand Lexus and value option Daihatsu. The Japanese are also responsible for the manufacturing of brands such as Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki, and many more.

  • Honda’s 2018 annual revenue was £109.74 billion.
  • Toyota’s 2018 annual revenue was £209.33 billion.
  • Nissan’s 2018 annual revenue was £82.44 billion


Initially established to mass produce a low-priced ‘people’s car’ in Wolfsburg, Volkswagen is now one of the world’s most sought-after vehicle producer. You simply cannot go outdoors now without spotting one of their cars. Not only do Volkswagen claim ownership of the classic models such as the Volkswagen Golf and the Passat, included in the VW group is Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Seat and Skoda — not to mention their heavy vehicles and motorcycles. What was initially developed to be an affordable car has now transformed into a super-brand which holds connotations of quality, safety and speed.

Not only do the German’s contribute this vast range of automotive masterpieces to the world, they also play home to two more of the world’s most popular brands — BMW and Daimler AG.

BMW, originating from the Bavaria region of Germany, is now owner of the previously owned British MINI. After the Rover brand began to deplete, the German’s stepped in and took on the John Cooper brand, along with Rolls Royce. Meanwhile, Daimler AG is the owner of Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and smart car.

  • Volkswagen’s 2018 annual revenue was £203.33 billion.
  • BMW’s 2018 annual revenue was £84.06 billion.
  • Daimler’s 2018 annual revenue was £144.29 billion.


The World Rally Championship in the 80’s and 90’s was dominated by the Lancia Delta, and who can forget Michael Schumacher’s dominance of the F1 series with Ferrari? The Italian’s had an unbelievable ability to produce winning machines. In 2014, the merger between Fiat and Chrysler created one of the largest and most diverse automotive companies in the world. Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) includes Alfa-Romeo, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep, Lancia, and Maserati. Recently, both Peugeot and Renault have declared their interest in attempting a takeover of the group.

  • Fiat-Chrysler’s 2018 annual revenue was £100.24 billion.

United States of America

Because Fiat precedes Chrysler, we’re giving that one to the Italians, however that doesn’t mean all is lot if you’re in the American camp. Ford, despite owning both Lincoln and Troller, generate most of their revenue through the sale of their own brand — hardly surprising when Ford caters for the largest singular market share of new car sales in the UK (10.73 per cent). The Ford Fiesta was the bestselling car in Britain in 2018, and the manufacturer was the only one to have three cars in the top 10 most popular. Ford’s indigenous competitors, General Motors, who is responsible for manufacturing the likes of Cadillac, similarly contribute to America’s power within the motor industry.

  • Ford Motor Company’s 2018 annual revenue was £123.20 billion.
  • General Motors 2018 annual revenue was £112.99 billion.


Japan tallies up a total of approximately £401.51 billion from annual revenue in 2018, whereas Germany comes in at £431.68 billion. So, there we have it — the German’s variety of brands was just enough to top the pile.




















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