How much do car companies make from each car? This is a age old question that has been asked countless times by everyone who is going out there looking to buy a car. B&D Forecast (Germany) recently conducted a study to find out just how much car makers are profiting from cars sold in Germany.
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And the results? Based on average figures, the profit made from selling one car is listed below:

  • Porsche: $36,257 AUD
  • BMW: $4,116 AUD
  • Toyota: $2,800 AUD
  • Audi: $2,627 AUD
  • Mercedes/Chrysler: $1,177 AUD
  • Volkswagen: $535 AUD

Yep, I don't believe Ferrari/Lamborghini was included in the research, but even so, it gives you a rough idea of how much car companies actually make from selling one car. So you gotta wonder when Toyota is spending $15,000 for a 30 second TV ad in prime time, are they really going to sell 6 cars just from that one ad? Of course it doesn't really work like that but its an interesting way to think about it, as traditional advertising mediums are no longer delivering the results they once did.

Porsche makes $36,000 from each car they sell, not bad! Porsche have denied this report though, saying .

B&D didn't take into account one-time items and special circumstances that had an effect on Porsche's pretax profit in the 2006 fiscal year

However, from what I can gather, if B&D had taken all of this into account, Porsche's profits would've still be around $30,000 per car, which is still 6x higher than BMW who comes in second at around $4,000 per vehicle.


As I mentioned before, these are just average figures, so don't think that BMW is only making $4,000 on a $300,000 M5/M6. However for a company like Toyota which offers cars that don't differ in price by too much, the $2,800 profit margin per vehicle is a very interesting figure. If we look at something like the Toyota Yaris, which for the base model, only costs $15,000, I would be estimating that Toyota will average no more than $1,000 profit from each car.

This is a very low figure indeed! But it gets lower, the research indicates that on average VolksWagen only make a minuscule $500 AUD from each car! Whether or not this figure is actually accurate is up to debate, and VW are yet to respond.

You gotta wonder though, if Mercedes is making less money than Toyota per vehicle sold than Toyota are doing something right and Mercedes is doing something seriously wrong. Because if you can sell cars that are cheaper to build & are more durable, and, (a very important and this is), consumers are buying them like mad, than you have conquered the automotive world.

Toyota takes the cake for the most profitable car maker based on volume/profit per vehicle.