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BERA - Business & Economics Research Advisor - A Quarterly Guide to Business & Economics Topics

Issue 2: Fall 2004 : The Automotive Industry

Automobile Company Research

Any discussion on the automotive industry would be incomplete without a discussion of the largest automakers - Ford, General Motors, Toyota, etc. Knowing the strategic plans and activities of these companies are vital in understanding the industry as a whole. There are many sources of information for public companies such as the big automakers, so the following material only provides a basic introduction to just some of the sources, much of which, will be readily available.

The Top 10 Performers ranked by Sales are:

  1. General Motors Corporation
  2. Ford Motor Company
  3. DaimlerChrysler AG
  4. Toyota Motor Corporation
  5. Volkswagen AG
  6. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
  7. Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
  8. PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A.
  9. Fiat S.p.A.
  10. Renault S.A.
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Table of Contents

Automotive History
Global Automobile Industry
    North American Market
    European Market
    East Asian Market
Automobile Manufacturing
Company Research
Industry News and Analysis
Electronic Resources

Obviously, one of the first sources for information is the companies themselves. Their web pages can be a wealth of information. In particular the Investor Relations and Press Release/News sections. The Investor Relations section is a good sources for all of the financial filings made to the government regulatory bodies. While these filings are usually located on the company web pages themselves, for those companies that trade on any of the U.S. exchanges, you can access the filings through the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)'s Filings and Forms site, EDGAR..

There are several filings to which you should pay particular attention.

  • 1. The first is the 10K or annual filing. Along with all of the annual financial information, this filing also has sections that can provide information on the company operations and sometimes insight on the industry itself. Item 1 is the Business section, and it contains information on various business lines/segments as well as sometimes information on strategy, marketing, and competition. Item 7 is the Management Discussion & Analysis section and it contains specific notes to various things reported in the 10K. This section is often where more segment information as well as geographical segment information can be found.
  • 2. The second filing is the 10Q which is a quarterly filing. It is not nearly as indepth as the 10K and is primarily used to update the financial data.
  • 3. There is also the Proxy statement which is usually published around the time as the 10K, and contains all of the executive and executive compensation issues.
  • 4. Lastly is the Annual Report sent out to shareholders. Some companies Annual Reports and 10Ks contain roughly the same information but the Annual Report is presented in a way that people witout technical expertise can understand.

Another way to find information on companies is through the news. There are many databases with full-text articles as well as Internet sources. For example, Yahoo! Finance has a nice "portal" for automotive news. This site also contains financial information for the industry as well as individual companies and even an industry write-up.

There are also many other databases that contain company and industry data. Usually they require a subscription and can frequently be expensive - Hoovers, Mergent, Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage, and Gale's Business & Company Resource are just a few. Local public or university libraries are a good place to access these and other sources.

We have included a short list of company history titles - for a further list please look in the History section of this guide.

Print Resources           Internet Resources         

Print Resources

Banham, Russ. The Ford Century : Ford Motor Company and the Innovations That Shaped the World. 1st ed. New York : Artisan, c2002.
LC call number: HD9710.U54 F5338 2002
LC Catalog Record: 2002074607

Bonin, Hubert, Yannick Lung, Stephen Tolliday. Ford, 1903-2003 : the European History. Paris : P.L.A.G.E., 2003.
LC Call Number: HD9710.U54 F546 2003
LC Catalog Record: 2004392389

Hyde, Charles K. Riding the Roller Coaster : A History of the Chrysler Corporation. Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 2003.
LC Call Number: HD9710.U54 C467 2003
LC Catalog Record: 2002008512
Table of Contents

Langworth Richard M. and Jan P. Norbye. The Complete History of General Motors, 1908-1986. Skokie, Ill. : Publications International, c1986.
LC Call Number: TL215.G4 L36 1986
LC Catalog Record: 86060671

Waller, David. Wheels on Fire : The Amazing Inside Story of the DaimlerChrysler Merger. London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2001.
LC Call Number: HD9710.G44 D348 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001369889

Internet Resources

Public Company Research

US Securities & Exchange Commission (filings search)

Yahoo! - Auto & Truck Manufacturers

Auto company organization

DaimlerChrysler AG

Fiat S.p.A.

Ford Motor Company

General Motors Corporation

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.,,,00.html

PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A.

Renault S.A.

Toyota Motor Corporation

Volkswagen AG OR

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   June 20, 2005
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