Automotive Manufacturing Industry Analysis

Part
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Part
01

Industry Structure: Automotive Manufacturing

The automotive manufacturing industry is a segment of the automotive industry in the U.S., which covers companies that are involved in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles, towed vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds." Other primary segments in the automotive industry include the automobile dealer industry, the automobile wholesaling industry, and the auto parts wholesaling industry.

The automotive industry

Description

  • The automotive industry covers the organizations and companies that are involved in "the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles, towed vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds."
  • It is the largest single manufacturing enterprise in the US in terms of number of wage earners employed, total value of products and value added by manufacture. One in six American businesses depends on the manufacture, distribution, use or servicing of motor vehicles; whereas more than 20% of America's wholesale business and more than 25% of its retail trade is represented by sales and receipts of automotive firms.
  • The automotive manufacturing industry is a segment of the automotive industry.

Primary segments

Research Strategy

In order to identify the primary segments in the automotive industry, we looked for information on the revenue of each of these segments. We looked through market reports from reputable sources such as Ibis World, First Research, Mordor Intelligence and Grand View Research, among others. The revenue for some of the different segments of the automotive industry is as follows:
The 3 largest segments of the automotive industry by revenue are, therefore, the automobile dealer industry, the automobile wholesaling industry and the auto parts wholesaling industry, which we have detailed in the findings above.
Part
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Part
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Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Market Size, Part 1

The market size of the U.S. automotive industry (which is the primary industry in which the automotive manufacturing segment sits) is $1.299 trillion. According to our data-based calculation, the CAGR for the U.S. automotive industry between 2019 and 2023 is 1.58%. Furthermore, our data-based calculation shows that the CAGR for the U.S. passenger car market specifically is 1.29% between 2019 and 2023.

U.S. Automotive Industry: Size & Growth

1. Market Size

  • The 2019 market size of the U.S. automotive industry is $1.299 trillion. That market size is based on data published by eMarketer.

A. Market Size by Category

  • In addition to the overall market size provided above, we also found directly applicable data about the U.S. automotive industry market size in a few specific categories.
  • The 2018 market size for new vehicles in the U.S. exceeded $1 trillion. That market size is based on data published in the National Automobile Dealers Association's 2018 annual report.
  • The 2019 market size for used vehicles in the U.S. was projected at $117.9 billion. That market size is based on data published by IBISWorld.
  • The 2018 market size for vehicle repair and maintenance at auto dealerships in the U.S. totaled $116 billion. That market size is based on data published in the National Automobile Dealers Association's 2018 annual report involving sales of parts and service at auto dealerships across the U.S. The number of repair orders issued by auto dealerships across the U.S. in 2018 exceeded 310 million.

2. Compound Annual Growth Rate

A. U.S. Auto Industry Overall

  • According to our calculation, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the U.S. automotive industry is 1.58% between years 2019-2023.
  • We calculated the aforementioned CAGR through a few different steps. First, we found the formula for calculating CAGR. That formula, in words, states: CAGR = (Ending balance/beginning balance) raised to the one/number-of-years power minus one.
  • For our next step, we plugged in the respective values for the CAGR formula. The ending balance is the 2023 market size ($1.383 trillion) because that's the furthest-out year (2023) that data was provided for by eMarketer. The beginning balance is the current year's market size (2019), which is $1.299 trillion.
  • The last value we needed to calculate was the power called for in the formula (1/number of years). Here, the number of years is four because there are four years between 2019 and 2023. Thus, the power we plugged into the formula was 0.25 (1/4).
  • After identifying all those values, we then plugged them all into the CAGR formula, which is as follows: CAGR = ($1.383 trillion / $1.299 trillion) ^0.25 – 1. The resulting value from that calculation is 0.01578841929. To convert that value to a percentage (growth rate), we multiplied it by 100, which equals 1.58 (rounded to the nearest hundredth).
  • Therefore, according to our calculation, the CAGR for the U.S. automotive industry between 2019 and 2023 is 1.58%.

B. U.S. Passenger Car Market Specifically

  • We also found additional, relevant information specific to the U.S. passenger car market that was sufficient for us to calculate the CAGR from.
  • The passenger car market is a very significant part of the U.S. auto industry, as it includes all of the following types of vehicles: Small SUVs, large cars, sports car, mid-sized cars, full-size vans, minivans, small cars, pickup trucks, luxury cars, mini cars, executive cars, and large SUVs.
  • According to our calculation, the CAGR for the U.S. passenger car market is 1.29% between years 2019-2023.
  • We calculated the aforementioned CAGR by using the same formula outlined in the previous section pertaining to the overall U.S. auto industry. Our ending value was 2023 revenue for passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. ($647.912 billion) and our beginning value was 2019 revenue for the same ($615.437 billion). The years-power value called for in the formula was 0.25 (1/4) because there are four years between 2019 and 2023.
  • Accordingly, our filled-in CAGR formula was the following: CAGR = ($647.912 billion / $615.437 billion) ^0.25 – 1 * 100, which equals 1.29 (rounded to the nearest hundredth).
  • Thus, according to our calculation, the CAGR for the U.S. passenger car market is 1.29% between years 2019-2023.
  • The data cited for the U.S. passenger car market is also included in this Google Doc.

Research Strategy

To determine the market size for the U.S. automotive industry, we reviewed numerous articles and research reports about that specific industry. Examples of sources we reviewed in looking for that information included Statista, eMarketer, and Forbes, among others. The data published by eMarketer pertained to the U.S. auto industry overall, which is why we cited it in our market size findings and CAGR formulas. To determine the CAGR for the U.S. auto industry, we first looked to see if any sources had published that specific data point pertaining to growth over the next few years. While we found pre-compiled CAGR projections that ended this year (e.g. 2013-2019), we didn't find any that stated CAGR projections over the next few years. Thus, we looked for data that would enable us to calculate CAGR. We found that data pertaining to the overall U.S. auto industry from eMarketer. In looking for that data, we also found excellent data pertaining to the U.S. passenger car market published by Statista. We included the data from both those sources and used such to calculate the CAGR for both categories, as is outlined above.
Part
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Part
03

Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Market Size, Part 2

According to our calculations, the market share for the first top segment of the U.S. automotive industry (automobile dealers) is $1.07 trillion and the compound annual growth rate is 0.89% from 2019-2025. The market share for the second top segment of the U.S. automotive industry (automobile wholesaling) is $615 billion and the market share for the third top segment of the U.S. automotive industry (auto parts wholesaling) is $219 billion. Though we couldn't find or triangulate the compound annual growth rate for the second or third segments, we were able to do so for alternative, related data points.

Segment 1: Automobile Dealer

1. Market Size

  • According to our calculation, the current market size of the automobile dealer segment of the U.S. automotive industry amounts to $1.07 trillion (rounded to the nearest hundredth).
  • We calculated that by adding the 2019 revenue from U.S. new auto dealers ($956 billion) and the 2019 revenue from U.S. used car dealers ($117.9 billion).

2. Compound Annual Growth Rate

  • According to our calculation, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the automobile dealer segment of the U.S. automotive industry is 0.89% between years 2019 and 2025.
  • We calculated the aforementioned CAGR through a few different steps. First, we found the formula for calculating CAGR. That formula, in words, states: CAGR = (Ending value/beginning value) raised to the one/number-of-years power minus one.
  • The value we used in calculating CAGR was the number of light vehicles sold in the U.S. We chose that because "light vehicles" is a term that's commonly "used interchangeably with [the term] 'vehicle sales.'"
  • For our next step, we plugged in the respective values for the CAGR formula. The ending value is the 2025 market size (17.7 million light vehicles projected to be sold) because that's the furthest-out year that data was provided for. The beginning value is the current year's market size (2019), which is 16.8 million light vehicles expected to be sold.
  • The last value we needed to calculate was the power called for in the formula (1/number of years). Here, the number of years is six because there are six years between 2019 and 2025. Thus, the power we plugged into the formula was 0.17 (rounded to the nearest hundredth, since 1/6 = 0.17).
  • After identifying all those values, we then plugged them all into the CAGR formula, which is as follows: CAGR = (17.7 million / 16.8 million) ^0.17 – 1. The resulting value from that calculation is 0.00891104711. To convert that value to a percentage (growth rate), we multiplied it by 100, which equals 0.89% (rounded to the nearest hundredth).
  • Therefore, according to our calculation, the CAGR for the automobile dealer segment of the U.S. automotive industry between 2019 and 2023 is 0.89%.

Segment 2: Automobile Wholesale

1. Market Size

  • The current market size of the automobile wholesale segment of the U.S. automotive industry is $615 billion.

2. Compound Annual Growth Rate

A. Overview

  • As was stated in the introduction, we couldn't find or triangulate the CAGR for the automobile wholesale segment. However, we were able to calculate the CAGR for the number of auctioned vehicles. We chose auctioned vehicles as an alternative data point because automobile auctions are a key part of the automobile wholesale segment.
  • A likely reason why we couldn't find information about the CAGR for the automobile wholesale segment overall is because, as Auto News stated, "[n]ot much is known, statistically, about wholesalers — those independent operators who buy from dealerships and auctions and sell to other dealerships, either directly or through auctions."
  • According to our calculation, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the automobile auction segment of the U.S. automotive industry is 21.4% between years 2019 and 2023.

B. Our Calculation

  • The data that we used in calculating CAGR for the U.S. automobile auction market was published by the very reputable source Cox Automotive. Cox's Manheim brand is a prominent automotive wholesaler. The volumes of auctioned vehicles by year were presented in this graph (on page 27), but the exact values for each year weren't expressly stated. Thus, we estimated the values by assessing the data in light of the measurement scales provided in the graph (such as millions of vehicles).
  • Based on the foregoing, the combined, estimated number of dealer-wholesale vehicles auctioned between offsite, online, and physical auctions in 2019 totaled 4.7 million (approximately 500,000 vehicles auctioned offsite and online, plus approximately 4.2 million vehicles sold at physical auctions).
  • The combined, estimated number of dealer-wholesale vehicles auctioned between offsite, online, and physical auctions in 2023 is estimated to reach 10.2 million (approximately one million vehicles auctioned offsite and online, plus approximately 9.2 million vehicles sold at physical auctions).
  • After compiling the aforementioned data, we plugged those values into the same CAGR formula outlined in the previous section of our research findings. The ending value is the estimated number of dealer-wholesale vehicles that will be auctioned in 2023 (10.2 million) and the beginning value is the estimated number of the same for 2019 (4.7 million).
  • The last value we needed to calculate was the power called for in the formula (1/number of years). Here, the number of years is four because there are four years between 2019 and 2023. Thus, the power we plugged into the formula was 0.25 (1/4).
  • After identifying all those values, we then plugged them all into the CAGR formula, which is as follows: CAGR = (10.2 million / 4.7 million) ^0.25 – 1. The resulting value from that calculation is 0.21373975874. To convert that value to a percentage (growth rate), we multiplied it by 100, which equals 21.4% (rounded to the nearest tenth).
  • Therefore, according to our calculation, the estimated CAGR for the automobile auction segment of the U.S. automotive industry between 2019 and 2023 is 21.4%.

Segment 3: Auto Parts Wholesale

1. Market Size

  • The current market size of the auto parts wholesaling segment of the U.S. automotive industry is $219 billion.

2. Compound Annual Growth Rate

  • As was stated in the introduction, we couldn't find or triangulate the CAGR for the auto parts wholesale segment. However, we were able to find the CAGR for a related data point, the U.S. automotive aftermarket.
  • We chose the automotive aftermarket as the next-most-closely related data point to auto parts wholesaling because auto parts are a key part of the automotive aftermarket.
  • According to the source Automotive Aftermarket, the 'Aftermarket' includes vehicle parts, equipment, replacement tires, service repair, collision repair and accessories, sold after the sale of the original vehicle. The aftermarket includes companies in manufacturing, re-manufacturing, distribution, retailing, and installation of replacement vehicle parts, equipment, service repair and automotive accessories."
  • The CAGR for the automotive aftermarket segment of the U.S. automotive industry is estimated at 1.8% between 2019 and 2025.
  • For reference, the market size for the automotive aftermarket segment in the U.S. in 2018 was $75.31 billion.

Research Strategy

The two data points we couldn't find directly related information about were the CAGRs for the automobile wholesale and auto parts wholesale segments. We conducted a substantial amount of research in trying to locate any such information. In so doing, we implemented three different research methods in looking for that data. First, we looked for market research reports about those specific segments. While we were able to find them, the CAGR data was paywalled and thus wasn't publicly available. We were able to find market size data from those reports though. Examples of sources that published those market research summaries included Statista, Market Watch, and Businesswire.

For our second research method, we looked for any articles that might have discussed either CAGR or future growth projections involving those segments. Overall, that approach yielded general information discussing those segments, without relevant, supporting data. Examples of sources that published those articles included Forbes, Car Group, and Auto Remarketing. As a third research method, we looked for information that would have been sufficient for us to calculate CAGR. While we couldn't find sufficient data for either of those specific segments, we were able to find such for key sub-segments of those segments. Those sub-segments were the next-best data points we could find to the segments that we were originally looking for. The data provided for those sub-segments that we ultimately used was published by Grandview Research and Cox Automotive.
Part
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Part
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Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Management Consulting Spend

The research team has calculated that the average United States automotive manufacturing company will spend roughly $5.10 million on management consulting by the end of 2019. All calculations and assumptions have been provided in the research strategy section.

Management Consulting Spend

  • There are 171 car and automotive manufacturing companies in the United, all of which have been estimated to spend $872.63 million on management consulting by the end of 2019.
  • On average, this means that each automotive company will spend roughly $5.10 million on management consulting by the end of 2019.
  • The 2019 market size of the United States management consulting industry is roughly $115.21 billion (calculations below).
  • The United States manufacturing industry will spend $16.13 billion (calculations below) on management consulting fees by the end of 2019.

Research Strategy

Our first go-to strategy to determine the amount the United States automotive manufacturing industry segment typically spend on management consulting fees annually was to search for reports on the United States management consulting market. We reckoned that the reports could provide the breakdown, by industry, of the revenue generated by the management consulting industry, including the automotive manufacturing industry. However, our search showed that while there were a few reports that provided the market size of the management consulting industry and the breakdown by industry, none provided the same for the automotive manufacturing industry. Rather, the overall manufacturing industry was covered.

Next, we attempted to identify the management consulting spend of a few companies in the United States automotive manufacturing industry such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. We looked through sources such as each companies website, annual reports, and press releases for outright data or insights that we could leverage to make an estimated. None of these sources was fruitful.

As a last resort, we pulled together data points we garnered during our research to make a rough estimate. Since we found the management consulting spend of the overall manufacturing industry, we reckoned that we could use that figure in combination with the share of the automotive manufacturing industry within the manufacturing industry. Our calculations have been detailed below.

Kindly note that the IBISWorld sources all default to its homepage. As a proactive measure, we have provided all the screenshots from the site as well as the links where the screenshots come from in the attached document.

Calculations:

United States Management Consulting Market Size — 2019

According to Adroit Market Research, the United States management consulting market was valued at $107.76 billion in 2017. The global market was estimated to grow at a cumulative annual growth rate of 3.4% between 2018 and 2025. Assuming the global CAGR is the same as the United States CAGR, then the 2019 market size for the United States management consulting industry is:

Using an online CAGR calculator and inputting the variables below:
The 2019 market size of the United States management consulting industry is roughly $115.21 billion.

Share of Manufacturing in the United States Management Consulting Market

An analysis by Consultancy.uk using Global Research data puts the share of the manufacturing segment at 14%. This translates to $16.13 billion (14% of $115.21 billion).

Share of Automotive Manufacturing in the Overall

According to IBISWorld, the overall revenue of the United States car and automobile manufacturing industry will reach $113 billion by the end of 2019. Manufacturing of nondurable goods contributed $954.8 billion, while manufacturing of durable goods contributed $1,135.8 billion to the United States economy.
The total contribution of the manufacturing industry is: $954.8 billion + $1,135.8 billion = 2090.6 billion

Therefore, automotive manufacturing accounts for: ($113 billion/2090.6 billion) * 100 = 5.41%

United States Automotive Industry Spend on Management Consulting

On the assumption the management consulting spend by the manufacturing industry is evenly distributed across the segments that make up the industry, we can calculate the automotive industry spend on management consulting as:
5.41% of $16.13 billion (calculated above: Share of Manufacturing in the United States Management Consulting Market) = $872.63 million

Average Spend on Management Consulting by Automotive Manufacturing Company

According to IBISWorld, 171 businesses are operating in the car and automobile manufacturing industry. Therefore, the average spend per company on management consulting is:
$872.63 million/171 = $5.10 million per year




Part
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Part
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Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Key Players, Part 1

Information on some of the top five companies in the United States automotive manufacturing industry has been provided in the rows 3-7, columns A-F in the 'Automotive Manufacturing' tab of the attached spreadsheet. These companies are Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Hyundai Motor Company.

Top Companies in the US Automotive Manufacturing Industry

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Part
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Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Key Players, Part 2

Details of five additional top companies in the United States automotive manufacturing industry have been provided in the 'Automotive Manufacturing' tab, rows 8-12, columns A-F of the attached spreadsheet. These companies are Volkswagen Group, Daimler, Honda, Nissan Motor Corporation and Subaru Corporation. Additional research will yield other top companies with annual revenues of more than one billion dollars.

Top US Automotive Manufacturing Companies

Part
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Part
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Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Industry Trade Shows

Three top trade shows for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry segment include the American Automotive Summit 2020, The CAR Management Briefing Seminars, and the Automotive Parts Suppliers Conference. Details for each event are below.

American Automotive Summit 2020

  • This event is scheduled for September 2020 and will be held in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Executives from approximately 150 industry companies gain insights into "strategies to optimize manufacturing and R&D in the American automotive industry; drive innovation in a competitive landscape, maximize supplier relationships, mitigate costs, assess operational standards, identify growth opportunities and build quality" throughout each company.
  • Other topics include manufacturing strategies, supply chain optimization, new technologies, and how to "attract and retain top talent in an ever-changing market."
  • All attendees are pre-qualified and registrations are only "granted to senior level executives who meet strict qualification and seniority standards."
  • Featured attendees include Toyota, GM, Honda, Volvo, Bosch, Nissan, Cummins, and more industry leaders.

Center for Automotiove Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars

  • This event is scheduled for August 4-6, 2020 and will be held in Traverse City, Michigan.
  • CAR MBS features "a diverse mix of visionary leaders focused on the future of the global automotive industry" and includes topics on "manufacturing, electric vehicles, the mobility ecosystem, and organizational culture," among others.
  • Of the attendees, 20% are managers, 19% are directors, 17% are executive VPs or VPs, 12% are presidents or CEOs, and 7% are other senior executives.
  • Past attendees state that "networking is one of the fabulous side benefits of the conference."
  • The event is sponsored by GM and Toyota, among other automotive manufacturers and suppliers.

Automotive Parts Suppliers Conference

  • This event is scheduled for April 28-29, 2020 and will be held in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Educational sessions, networking, and "group discussions on the latest advancements and outlook for the automotive industry" are on the agenda and attendees will hear from "automotive manufacturers including General Motors and Toyota."
  • One specific session is titled "The Evolution of Automotive Manufacturing," delivered by Doneen McDowell, manufacturing executive director at General Motors.
  • Another session is titled "The State of Automotive Manufacturing in 2020," delivered by Leah Curry, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing.
  • According to the website, this event is the "ideal forum for CEOs, presidents, owners and other senior-level executives representing companies in the automotive sector."
  • Past participants include ABC Metals, Inc, Challenge Manufacturing Company, Franklin Fastener, Metal Flow Corporation, Portland Products, and many more.

Research Strategy

To determine the top trade shows for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry segment, we began by searching for national conferences over regional events. Then, we narrowed down the options to those that target CEOs and other executives of automotive companies. This led us to three events that are both national and exclusive to top executives in the industry.
Part
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Part
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Industry Analysis: Automotive Manufacturing Industry Associations

Our research found that the top industry association for senior leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry is the Automotive Executives Association. Two other top industry associations for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry are The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and The Association of Global Automakers (which, despite its name, is U.S. focused).

Three Top Industry Associations for Senior Leaders in the U.S. Automotive Manufacturing Industry

1. Automotive Executives Association

  • Based on our research, the Automotive Executives Association (AEA) appears to be the top industry association for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry.
  • The AEA describes itself as "an exclusive organization that facilitates networking, relationships, and communications among some of the key decision makers in the automotive industry."
  • Members of the AEA comprise "the 'Who’s Who' of the automotive industry" and include decision makers, deal makers, and influencers in the industry.
  • AEA members must be established auto industry executives.
  • The AEA has two different membership levels for senior leaders in the U.S. automotive industry (Executive Level and Senior Executive Level).
  • Executive-level membership in the AEA is currently by invitation only.
  • Senior Executive-level members are usually C-Suite executives, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, general managers, and presidents. This membership requires applicants to meet five criteria, one of which requires at least 10 years of auto industry experience.
  • The AEA has at least 122 members, which we calculated by counting all individuals listed in the member directory.
  • In further regard to members, we found that "in August 2013, the AEA was established with the support of an initial group of 16 Founding Members and their parent companies as associated Founding Sponsors."

2. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

  • The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (which goes by the name "The Auto Alliance") is a top industry association for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry.
  • The Auto Alliance describes itself as "the leading advocacy group for the auto industry."
  • This association is prominent in the U.S., as it "represents automakers who build 70% of all cars and light trucks sold in the U.S." from numerous, major auto manufacturers operating in the U.S. industry.
  • Major auto manufacturers that are members of The Auto Alliance include, but are not limited to, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, General Motors, BMW Group, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, and Volvo (among others).
  • The following statement outlines the association's goals: "The Auto Alliance . . . is committed to developing and implementing constructive solutions to public policy challenges that promote sustainable mobility and benefit society in the areas of environment, energy and motor vehicle safety. "
  • As a reflection of the association's strong presence across the U.S., the association has three offices nationwide. Its main office is in Washington, D.C. and the additional two offices are in Detroit, Michigan, and Sacramento, California.
  • The Auto Alliance's membership count is reported by participating companies. Accordingly, 20 major auto manufacturers are members of The Auto Alliance, which we calculated by counting the number of companies listed as members.

3. Association of Global Automakers (U.S. focused)

  • The Association of Global Automakers (AGA) is a top industry association for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry.
  • Though its name references its global reach, the association specifically deals with U.S. operations, which is why we included it in our list.
  • The main objective of the AGA is to "represent[] the U.S. operations of international motor vehicle manufacturers, original equipment suppliers, and other automotive-related companies and trade associations."
  • The AGA provides the following statement about the value of its membership offering: "Global Automakers puts you at the center of a technological revolution and boosts the power of your voice on the national, state and local stages. Global Automakers brings together the top minds from auto manufacturers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders to advance the state of personal transportation."
  • The AGA also provides another statement about the value of its membership offering: "As a member of Global Automakers, you sit at the table with world-leading auto manufacturers and top-tier suppliers driving this change. You gain direct access to the companies developing a new generation of technology that will fundamentally remake the industry and our notions of mobility."
  • The AGA is "based in Washington, D.C."
  • The AGA's membership count is reported by participating companies. Accordingly, 23 companies are AGA members, which we calculated by counting the number of companies listed as members.

Research Strategy

We categorized the three associations included above as the likely three most prominent in the U.S. after substantial research and careful consideration. We began this research by conducting wide-ranging searches for associations geared to auto industry leaders specifically. From those searches, the Automotive Executives Association (AEA) kept appearing. We then looked through its website and it indeed proved to be a top association. We believe it's the top association for senior leaders based on its number of members, the many references we found to it (more than any other association), its specific focus on auto executives, and its members who collectively comprise "the 'Who’s Who' of the automotive industry."

The AEA was the only national auto industry association we found, throughout the entirety of our research, that discussed membership as applying to senior leaders and not companies. Though the other two associations we included discuss membership as pertaining to auto industry manufacturers/companies, the associations pertain to senior leaders in the U.S. auto manufacturing industry nonetheless because they are the people leading those companies. Said another way, the association's work, meetings, events, and network would involve the participation of senior leaders for those companies, thereby rendering them top industry associations for leaders in the U.S. auto manufacturing industry.

With regard to the additional two associations we included (The Auto Alliance and The Association of Global Automakers), we categorized them as top industry associations for leaders in the U.S. automotive manufacturing industry based on the information they provided about their nationwide reach and the prominence of their members who are key companies in the U.S. auto industry (all of that information is cited above). We also found that these associations appeared in multiple search results.

The three associations included above are the only ones we found, after thorough research, that satisfied the requested criteria. The other associations we came across in our research were either state-specific (and thus wouldn't constitute top industry associations for leaders in the U.S. auto manufacturing industry nationwide) or included the auto industry as one of the industries represented (which thus wouldn't constitute a top auto industry association since other industries are involved).
Sources
Sources