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Folks, cars are expensive. If you think fixing up your project car is pricey, imagine building millions of cars while also building millions of parts, creating all-new cars, developing new technologies, paying hundreds of thousands of people to work for you, and occasionally paying hefty fines for skirting emission rules.

We say this to help ease the blow from the information that follows. What blow are we talking about? In the time it's taken you to read these this far, the 10 highest-earning car companies in the world made more money than you probably make in a year. Yes, a year.

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That's the word from a new study conducted by Uswitch, which gathered up data on annual revenue for the world's top automakers. That information isn't exactly secret – pretty much every company announces sales and revenue on at least a quarterly basis, if not monthly. And there's always a yearly summary to bring it all into perspective, averaging out the highs and lows. The twist here is that Uswitch went the other direction by breaking down annual earnings all the way to earnings by the second. Yes, that means another yearly salary was earned by the top car brands while you read this paragraph.

Gallery: 2022 Volkswagen Golf R

How much are we talking about exactly? Here's a quick chart for the 10 highest-earning automakers, showing annual earnings broken down by the hour, minute, and second as reported by Uswitch.

Company Annual Earnings Earnings Per Hour Earnings Per Minute Earnings Per Second
Toyota $275 billion $31.4 million $523,889 $8,731
Volkswagen $255 billion $29.1 million $484,399 $8,073
Daimler $176 billion $20.1 million $355,363 $5,589
Honda $137 billion $15.7 million $261,349 $4,356
Mitsubishi $136 billion $15.5 million $258,702 $4,312
Ford $127 billion $14.5 million $241,903 $4,032
General Motors $122 billion $14.0 million $233,038 $3,884
BMW $113 billion $12.9 million $215,137 $3,586
Stellantis $99 billion $11.3 million $188,375 $3,140
Nissan $91 billion $10.4 million $172,919 $2,882

At $8,731 every second, Toyota tops the list but Volkswagen is a close second at $8,073. Both groups have a commanding lead over third-place Daimler, but even Nissan at the bottom of the list earns nearly $3,000 each second.

It certainly puts a different perspective on the financial world of the auto business, but don't lose heart. In 2020 Toyota spent over $1 billion just for advertising, and that's just for the United States. Spending an extra buck to supersize your Big Mac meal suddenly doesn't seem so bad, does it?

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