While more than 23 auto-related companies made the list based on annual revenue figures, General Motors took the highest honours in 5th, up from 8th in 2011. Fortune magazine noted that GM's US$150.3 billion ($147.5 billion) 2011 revenue was an increase of 11 per cent from its 2010 result.
Ford also had a positive year, moving up one position to 9th with its 2011 revenue increasing by 6 per cent to US$136.3 billion ($133.8 billion) over its 2010 result.
Fortune magazine's editor-at-large Shawn Tully said, "Since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, GM has also curbed costs to the point where it makes money when the US car market reaches 10.5 million units. That's a remarkable five million units below GM’s old profitability threshold." He also said of Ford's performance, "Profits jumped 208 per cent last year - growth in league with the world's oil and tech giants, not other car makers."
Exxon Mobil moved up one spot from last year to take top honours with profits over US$41.1 billion ($40.3 billion) and revenue of $452.9 billion ($444.5 billion). This saw Wal-Mart Stores bumped back to second position while Chevron held onto third place.
The list also saw three big names in the technology realm all improve their standings with Apple No.17 (up from 35), Microsoft No. 37 (up from 38) and Google No. 73 (up from 92).
While the improved Fortune listings are good news for GM and Ford, recent sales figures suggest 2012 could prove to be more challenging.
The combined profits of the top 500 US companies ranked this year reached US$824.5 billion ($809.2 billion) for 2011, up 16 per cent from the last year.