The car industry is one of the most competitive industries on Earth. It’s also a global business, with manufacturers competing for customers on every continent. The five largest automakers in the world are all based in Europe and North America, but there are several up-and-coming companies that could change that soon enough.
Tesla is the largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer in the world. It’s also one of the few automakers to be publicly traded, with a current market cap of $757 billion. Tesla was founded in 2003 by Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard; its first car, the Roadster (pictured above), hit showrooms in 2008–and was so popular that people were waiting in line for days to buy one! Today Tesla makes three different models: Model S sedan; Model X SUV; Model 3 compact car.
Toyota is the world’s largest automaker, with a production of 10.23 million vehicles in 2017. Toyota has been the world’s largest automaker since 2009 and has held that title for 15 years overall. Toyota Motor Corporation was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father’s company, which produced looms and weaving machines for silk production. The first car model made by Toyota was called A1 because it was the first model built by this company; its engine was an air-cooled four-cylinder unit producing 7 horsepower at 2,000 rpm with a top speed of 56 km/h (35 mph).
Vinfast is a Vietnamese car manufacturer that was established in 2017. It’s a subsidiary of the Vingroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate and one of the largest companies in Southeast Asia. Its parent company has interests in retail, real estate and hospitality industries, among others–so it’s no surprise that Vinfast has ambitious plans for its automotive division. Vinfast is based in Hanoi and currently has two plants: one located there; another opened last year near Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Production began at these facilities earlier this year with three models: The MF 01 SUV; VF-1 luxury sedan; VF-2 sports coupe/convertible hybrid family car/crossover–all powered by either electric or gasoline engines.
Porsche is a German automobile manufacturer founded in 1931. It produces sports cars, luxury SUVs and sedans. The company’s headquarters are located in Stuttgart, Germany. Porsche AG is owned by Volkswagen Group who owns a 50% stake of the company. The automaker employs more than 28,000 people worldwide with sales operations on six continents including Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.
BYD (short for Build Your Dreams) is a Chinese automaker founded in 2003. The company has its headquarters in Shenzhen, China and manufactures electric vehicles, buses, trucks and forklifts. It also owns the Warren Buffett-backed BYD Auto which sells low-emission cars in North America under license from BYD. BYD’s main business is manufacturing batteries for consumer electronics such as smartphones or laptops; however it also makes electric vehicles including buses, cars and trucks under its own brand name as well as for other companies like Daimler AG.
The world’s five largest automakers are all in Asia, Europe and the United States. Toyota is by far the largest, followed by Tesla, Porsche and Vinfast (Vietnam). BYD (China) rounds out this list with a surprising fifth place finish.