The World's Leading Manufacturers By the Numbers

Sept. 9, 2015
Who's up and who's down among the world's manufacturing leaders.

While the top companies on the 2015 IndustryWeek 1000 list remain remarkably stable compared to last year, the list continues to illuminate dramatic changes in the world's manufacturing marketplace. The list, IW's exclusive annual ranking by revenue of the world's largest public manufacturers, was first created in 1996.

In this year's list, based on year-end 2014 financials, all but two of the top 20 companies from last year returned to the top 20 this year, with U.S.-based Ford Motor Co. (IW1000/21) dropping from 20th to 21st, and ENI SpA (IW1000/22), of Italy, dropping from 18th to 22nd.

Replacing them in the top 20 are two oil companies, Russian Federation's Lukoil Oil Co. (IW1000/19) jumping from 24th to 19th, and Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA -- Petrobras (IW1000/20), climbing to 20th from 23rd.

Two companies debuted high on the list, Turkey's Yunsa Yunlu Sanayi ve Ticaret AS (IW1000/25), at 25, on the strength of 12.1% revenue growth, and the UK's merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (IW1000/26), at 26, with a growth rate of 11.06%.

Overall, revenue generated by the IW 1000 companies slipped to $20.1 trillion in this year's list, from $21.3 trillion in 2014; it was $21.1 trillion in 2013.

Industry Shifts

Petroleum and coal products manufacturers continued to dominate the list, with 135 (13.5%) of the companies on the list, down by two from last year, but still placing seven within the top 10. The industry's companies generated $5.9 trillion or 29.4% of the IW 1000 revenue.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. -- Sinopec (IW1000/1) -- repeated as No. 1, with the Netherlands' Royal Dutch Shell PLC (IW1000/2) and U.S.' Exxon Mobil Corp. (IW1000/3) repeating as No. 2 and 3. China's PetroChina Co. Ltd. (IW1000/4) switched places with the UK's BP PLC (IW1000/5), at No. 4 and 5, respectively.

China Petroleum

Computers & other electronics products companies placed 90 manufacturers on the list (down from 92 in 2014), edging last year's No. 2 industry, chemicals, which landed 88 companies on the list (down from 95 in 2014). The industry also contributed the 2nd most revenue of $2.25 trillion.

Once again, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (IW1000/12), of Korea, earned bragging rights over Apple Inc. (IW1000/13), U.S., albeit by a much smaller margin. This year, Apple moved up to No. 13, while Samsung held its No. 12 rank. Apple's revenue growth of 7% outpaced Samsung's -4.5%; its profit margin beat Samsung's, 21.6% to 11.35%.

In the chemical industry, Germany's BASF SE (IW1000/35) held the top spot, moving up one position overall from last year, to No. 35. Second- and third-place chemical companies are from the U.S.: Procter & Gamble Co. (IW1000/45) at No. 45 and Dow Chemical Co. (IW1000/66) at 66.

The chemical industry revenue contribution of $1.3 trillion, in fourth place, was outpaced by the motor vehicles industry's $2.2 trillion, in third. Though the latter landed only 44 companies on the list (6th place by number of industries), it placed nine companies above the first chemical industry company, including two in the top 10. Germany's Volkswagen AG (IW1000/7) ranks 7th on the list, down one from last year, while Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. (IW1000/8) held position No. 8 for the second year running.

Finally, no matter which industry is under review, the real excitement is found further down the list. The charts in Who's Who in Global Manufacturing show the revenue growth leaders of the top five industries, by number of companies on the list.

Country Counts

Most notable through the years, of course, is the climb China has made to become the country with the third most companies (85) generating the third highest revenue ($1.6 trillion) on the list, behind the U.S. (274 companies, $5.6 trillion in revenue) and Japan (169 companies and $2.5 trillion).

Contrast that with 10 years ago, when China had seven companies on the list, generating $142 billion, and it didn't make the top 10 countries list. Five years ago, the surging manufacturing juggernaut landed 44 companies on the list, generating $589 billion and moving up to the country with the 5th most companies

This year continues China's growth; it landed 16 new companies on the list, one fewer than the U.S. Hong Kong landed the 3rd most new companies, with five.

Further down the country list is an interesting situation. Germany's 37 companies places it 6th when counting the number of companies, but 4th when ranking by revenue of $1.3 trillion. Meanwhile, France has 42 companies (4th) generating $966 billion in revenue (5th), and Korea has 38 companies (5th) with $955 billion (6th).

About the Author

Patricia Panchak | Patricia Panchak, Former Editor-in-Chief

Focus: Competitiveness & Public Policy

Call: 216-931-9252

Follow on Twitter: @PPanchakIW

In her commentary and reporting for IndustryWeek, Editor-in-Chief Patricia Panchak covers world-class manufacturing industry strategies, best practices and public policy issues that affect manufacturers’ competitiveness. She delivers news and analysis—and reports the trends--in tax, trade and labor policy; federal, state and local government agencies and programs; and judicial, executive and legislative actions. As well, she shares case studies about how manufacturing executives can capitalize on the latest best practices to cut costs, boost productivity and increase profits.

As editor, she directs the strategic development of all IW editorial products, including the magazine,, research and information products, and executive conferences.

An award-winning editor, Panchak received the 2004 Jesse H. Neal Business Journalism Award for Signed Commentary and helped her staff earn the 2004 Neal Award for Subject-Related Series. She also has earned the American Business Media’s Midwest Award for Editorial Courage and Integrity.

Patricia holds bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and English from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in Journalism from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She lives in Cleveland Hts., Ohio, with her family.  

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