It's sobering to thumb through the current Forbes list of the 2,000 Leading Companies in the World if you're looking for automakers and suppliers.
In the journalism business, we know readers like lists. Lists are inherently interesting. They don't change reality, but they do help put reality in perspective and add order to the universe.
In case you missed it, the list of global giants was in the April 17, 2006, issue of Forbes. The ranking is based on a composite score of metrics such as sales, profits, assets and market capitalization.
Yes, the things that tend to make a company strong.
That's why the relatively poor showing of global automakers was such a downer.
As you might expect, financial and energy companies dominated the very top of the list --except for General Electric, which was No. 2. The good news is that among its conglomerated businesses, GE is an automotive supplier.
Toyota Motor Corp. was the highest ranked automaker, coming in at a solid No. 12.
Next was DaimlerChrysler AG at No. 45.
Then Honda Motor at number 63, followed by Nissan Motor Co. in 65th place.
After that, the automakers fell into place like this:
91. BMW AG.
95. Renault SA.
114. Volkswagen Group.
133. Ford Motor Co.
170. Hyundai Motor Co.
204. PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA.
481. Suzuki Motor Corp.
526. General Motors and Porsche AG. (Yes, GM tied Porsche.)
548. Fiat S.p.A.
569. Mazda Motor Corp.
782. Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
790. Isuzu Motors Ltd.
1,215. Tata Motors Ltd.
1,547. Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd.
Given the current state of affairs in the industry, the ranking shouldn't come as a surprise.
On the other hand, the order says a lot.
Yes, there were suppliers sprinkled throughout the list; many rated higher than their customers.
The real surprise was that two U.S. dealership groups were among the 2,000 top global giants. AutoNation placed at No. 737, and UnitedAuto Group finished at No. 1,724.
It sure tells you where the money is, doesn't it?
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]