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America’s automobile industry is one of the most powerful engines driving the US economy.

The manufacturers building cars and light trucks, along with their suppliers and dealers, generate billions of dollars for the US economy and employ tens of thousands of skilled workers in all 50 states.

The greater automobile industry extends well beyond the iconic names of auto companies familiar to us all. Auto manufacturing depends on thousands of companies supplying parts, components and materials, as well as a vast retail and vehicle maintenance network of dealers. No other industry in America has such an expansive reach to every state, delivering economic benefits and creating jobs in so many different sectors.

Light Truck Country

Light Trucks Continue to Dominate National Market Learn More

Global Trade

Americans benefit from global trade.

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Facts About Auto Sales

U.S. sales remained near all-time highs in 2018 with the fourth-best sales year in history: 17.2 million units sold. Read More

What Consumers Drive

Consumers use their vehicles in many diverse ways. See what your state drives and how it compares to the rest of the country. See State Rankings

Fueling the Economy

$953 Billion

Auto manufacturing drives $953 billion into the economy each year through the sales and servicing of autos and flows through the economy, from revenue to parts suppliers to paychecks for assembly plant workers, from income for auto-related small business to revenue for government.

Fueling the Economy

Revenues from car sales alone totaled over $730 billion in 2013.

Historically, the auto industry has contributed from 3–3.5% to America’s total gross domestic product.

Auto Employment

9.9 Million Jobs Coast to Coast

A robust auto manufacturing sector is vital to a healthy U.S. economy. Autos drive America forward by supporting a total of 9.9 million American jobs, or about 5.1 percent of private-sector employment.

See how autos are driving your state.

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Auto Employment

The multiplier effect

Each job for an auto manufacturer in the United States creates nearly 13 other positions in industries across the economy.*

Big and Small Business

Auto manufacturing is a major customer of many of our economy’s biggest names, including 3M, IBM, GE, HP, Dow, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle.

While automakers are the most visible part of the industry, auto manufacturing encompasses many diverse businesses coast to coast. As a result, 45 states have more than 10,000 auto-related jobs, and 20 of those states have more than 100,000 auto jobs. Auto-related suppliers are headquartered in virtually every state.


Half of the companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average depend on autos for revenue.

Big and Small Business

3M   |   Alcoa  |   Autoliv  |   BASF  |   Bethlehem Steel  |   BorgWarner  |   Bosch  |   BOSE  |   Cabot  |   Caterpillar  |   Cisco  |   Continental  |   Cummins  |   Delphi  |   DENSO  |   Dow  |   DuPont  |   FedEx  |   Federal Mogul  |   GE  |   General Dynamics  |   Goodyear  |   Honeywell  |   HP  |   Hughes  |   IBM  |   ITT  |   Johnson Controls  |   Intel  |   Lear  |   Magna  |   Michelin  |   Microsoft  |   Oracle  |   Panasonic  |   Philips  |   PPG Industries  |   Siemens  |   Texas Instruments  |   TRW  |   Visteon

Major Business Customers

Automobiles represent the largest manufacturing industry in the U.S., and no other industry generates more business across so many industry sectors.

Jobs related to the auto industry go far beyond designing, building, and selling vehicles. America’s automakers are among the largest purchasers of aluminum, copper, iron, plastics, rubber, textiles, steel, computer chips and more.

Manufacturing Presence

Auto production remains the country’s largest manufacturing sector, with 13 automakers operating 44 assembly plants across 14 states. The auto industry invested $46 billion in U.S. factories and facilities between 2010 and 2014.


Millions of auto industry-connected employees collect almost $500 billion in annual compensation.


How Big is $500 Billion?

The auto industry’s annual payroll could pay for every person living in America in the 1970s to see the Star Wars premiere 10 times.

The auto industry’s annual payroll could fund the budgets of the three biggest states: CA, TX and NY
The auto industry’s annual payroll is twice the cost of the entire first World War (in today’s dollars)
The auto industry’s annual payroll is the size of the combined profits of the 23 most profitable U.S. public companies.

Tax Revenue

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In 23 states, autos generate 14–20 percent of state tax revenues.

$205 Billion

People in auto-related jobs collectively generate more than $205 billion annually in tax revenues according to a 2013 CAR study.

Tax Revenue

The $205 Billion in tax revenue is more than the GDP of 142 countries around the globe. Tax revenues included at least $110 billion in state government tax revenue and another $96 billion in federal government tax revenue.

The $110 billion in state government tax revenue includes $38.9 billion from taxes on the sales and service of new and used vehicles, $3.9 billion from income taxes on direct, intermediate, and spin-off employment at auto manufacturers, auto parts suppliers, and dealerships, $66 billion from use taxes and fees including fuel taxes, registration fees, and driver licensing fees, and $1.4 billion from business taxes such as corporate income taxes and business license fees. Of the at least $96 billion in 2013 federal government tax revenue that the automotive industry was responsible for generating, $60.2 billion was generated from income taxes on direct employment at auto manufacturers, auto parts suppliers, and dealerships and $35.3 billion from federal motor fuel taxes.

Global Trade Benefits

Exports of $99 Billion

The American-based auto industry is a vibrant player in today’s global economy. More countries are now importing auto-related products. Exports of cars and parts amounting to over $99 billion were shipped from U.S. ports in 2017, almost double the $50.8 billion of auto products America exported just 15 years ago.

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Global Impact

One hallmark of global economic leadership is auto manufacturing. Among countries composing the major economies of the world, the so-called “Group of 20,” every country except one — Saudi Arabia — manufactures autos.

Global Impact

The G20 membership includes the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing two-thirds of the world’s population, 85 percent of global gross domestic product and 75 percent of global trade. Every country in the world would like auto manufacturing on its shores because of the dramatic impact on jobs and innovation in a country.

R&D Investments

In 2018, automakers spent more than $125 billion globally on research & development. According to the 2018 Global Innovation 1000 list, as study by Strategy&, automakers comprise six of the top 20 spots, and 11 of the top 50.

R&D Investments

R&D funding

In fact, the auto industry provides 16 percent of total worldwide R&D funding for all industries. And according to the National Science Foundation, close to 90 percent of automotive R&D investment is done by the auto industry itself, with the federal government contributing only 1 percent. Nearly 60,000 people in the U.S. alone are employed in automotive research and development activities.

Fuel Economy &

Carbon Reductions

According to consumer research, our customers want it all — better mileage, cleaner and safer technologies and affordable new vehicles. While we continue urging all stakeholders to work together toward a national program for fuel economy standards, automakers have our own roadmap to move forward while continuing to meet the needs and expectations of consumers. 

Our priorities are fourfold

Continue increasing fuel economy — year after year — to provide our customers with more energy-efficient vehicles with greater emissions reductions and the latest safety technologies.

Partner with public/private groups to get more energy-efficient vehicles on our roads via charging/fueling infrastructure, consumer incentives, government fleet sales and car-sharing and ride-sharing programs.

At the same time, continue increasing investments in research & development for more advancements in safety and efficiency.

Do all of this while still keeping new vehicles affordable.