The automotive industry is a crucial part of the global economy, producing vehicles that efficiently transport people and goods not only within nations but across entire regions. These companies manufacture vehicles such as cars, trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Some even produce motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, as well as commercial vehicles like transport trucks and buses. The biggest auto manufacturers have an unusually large global footprint, selling vehicles to consumers and businesses throughout the world. These big companies are mainly headquartered in just a few countries that lead the industry -- Japan, Germany, and the U.S. -- but the list of the 10 biggest also includes one car company from Italy and one from South Korea.

We look in detail below at the 10 biggest car companies by 12-month trailing (TTM) revenue. Some companies outside the U.S. report profits semi-annually instead of quarterly, so the 12-month trailing data may be older than it is for companies that report quarterly. This list is limited to companies which are publicly traded in the U.S. or Canada, either directly or through ADRs. Data is courtesy of YCharts.com. All figures are as of September 10.

Some of the stocks below are only traded over-the-counter (OTC) in the U.S., not on exchanges. Trading OTC stocks often carries higher trading costs than trading stocks on exchanges. This can lower or even outweigh potential returns.

#1 Toyota Motor Corp. (TM)

  • Revenue (TTM): $248.6 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $14.4 billion
  • Market Cap: $183.3 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 1.8%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Toyota is a Japan-based multinational. It was the first foreign manufacturer to build a dominant market share in the U.S. automobile market by setting the industry standard for efficiency and quality. Toyota designs and manufactures cars, trucks, minivans, and commercial vehicles. Vehicle models include the Corolla, Camry, 4Runner, Tacoma, and the Prius, the hybrid electric sedan. Lexus is the company's luxury car division. Toyota also produces parts and accessories, and provides financing to dealers and their customers.

#2 Volkswagen AG (VWAGY)

  • Revenue (TTM): $247.4 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $6.4 billion
  • Market Cap: $95.8 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 11.2%
  • Exchange: OTC

Volkswagen is a Germany-based multinational automotive manufacturing company. It develops and produces passenger cars, trucks, and light commercial vehicles such as buses. Vehicle models include the Tiguan, Golf, Jetta, Passat, and more. The company stopped making its once-popular Volkswagen Beetle compact car last year due to falling demand for smaller cars. Volkswagen's best known luxury brands are Porsche and Audi. The company also manufactures parts, and offers customer financing and fleet management services.

#3 Daimler AG (DMLRY)

  • Revenue (TTM): $174.6 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): -$309.3 million
  • Market Cap: $58.7 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 9.8%
  • Exchange: OTC

Daimler is a Germany-based multinational automobile manufacturer. The company manufactures passenger cars, vans, off-road vehicles, and commercial vehicles, such as transport trucks and buses. It produces vehicles under a number of different brands, including Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, FUSO, Western Star, smart, and more. Daimler also offers financing and leasing packages for customers and dealers.

#4 Ford Motor Co. (F)

  • Revenue (TTM): $130.4 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): -$2.1 billion
  • Market Cap: $27.7 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -24.5%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Ford is a multinational automotive manufacturer. The company develops, manufactures, and services cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks. Vehicle models include the Fusion, Mustang, Edge, Escape, F-150, Ranger, and more. The company also provides vehicle-related financing and leasing.

#5 Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (HMC)

  • Revenue (TTM): $120.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $1.9 billion
  • Market Cap: $43.7 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 2.4%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Honda is a Japan-based multinational automobile company. It manufactures passenger cars, trucks, vans, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles, as well as related parts. Vehicle models include the Civic, Accord, Insight Hybrid, Passport, Odyssey, Fit and more. Acura is the company's luxury car division. The company also provides financial and insurance services.

#6 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMWYY)

  • Revenue (TTM): $116.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $5.5 billion
  • Market Cap: $49.5 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 12.9%
  • Exchange: OTC

Bayerische Motoren Werke, known as BMW, is a German-based multinational manufacturer of luxury vehicles and motorcycles. The company designs and manufactures vehicles under several brands, including BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce. The company also offers spare parts and accessories and provides credit financing, leasing, and other services to retail customers.

#7 General Motors Co. (GM)

  • Revenue (TTM): $115.8 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $1.7 billion
  • Market Cap: $45.7 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -17.4%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

General Motors is a multinational automobile manufacturer. The company designs and manufactures cars, trucks, and automobile parts. It has been a leader in the development of electric cars, first with the Chevy Volt and its successor, the Chevy Bolt. It operates under four major vehicle brands, which are GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick. The company also offers automotive financing.

#8 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU)

  • Revenue (TTM): $98.8 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): -$1.5 billion
  • Market Cap: $22.9 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -19.5%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Fiat Chrysler is an Italy-based multinational automotive company. It designs and manufacturers passenger automobiles and light commercial vehicles. The company operates under several brands, including Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and more. The company also produces automotive-related components, metallurgical products, and production systems, and offers financing services.

#9 Hyundai Motor Co. (HYMTF)

  • Revenue (TTM): $85.4 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $1.6 billion
  • Market Cap: $19.8 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 35.7%
  • Exchange: OTC

Hyundai is a South-Korea based multinational automobile manufacturer. The company designs and manufactures passenger cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles. Vehicle models include the Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe, Tucson, and its Genesis luxury division. The company also produces parts, operates auto repair service centers, and provides financing services.

#10 Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NSANY)

  • Revenue (TTM): $80.2 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): -$8.9 billion
  • Market Cap: $15.3 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -37.2%
  • Exchange: OTC

Nissan is a Japan-based multinational automotive company. It designs and manufactures passenger vehicles, forklifts, marine equipment, and related parts. Vehicle models include the Altima, Maxima, Sentra, Versa, Pathfinder, Rogue, Titan, and its LEAF electric car. The company's luxury division is Infiniti. The company also offers financing and leasing services.