"A single car has about 30,000 parts, counting every part down to the smallest screws."
In 2017, a total of 272.48 million vehicles were registered in the U.S. Each of these vehicles requires a
number of parts to function and operate. With over 30,000
parts found in a single car, motor vehicle
manufacturers rely on key suppliers to assist in bringing these parts to market and to manufacturing assembly
The automotive parts manufacturing industry includes those companies primarily engaged in manufacturing motor
vehicle parts. Parts manufacturing is the largest sector of the entire automotive industry.
Demand for auto parts is driven by these three core areas:
Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) supply parts for the production of new
vehicles. Parts are continually arriving to the motor vehicle assembly line for new car
production. The right parts have to be in the right place at the right time for the assembly line
continue operating efficiently.
Replacement parts are made by the same manufacturer as the new car parts. As the overall quality
reliability of automobiles have increased, the demand for parts only grows larger. Most car
manufacturers will keep stamped out body parts for up to 10 years after a vehicle has been produced.
Any part of the vehicle not sourced from the original car manufacturer are aftermarket parts.
Aftermarket consumers rely heavily on parts suppliers, with over 70,000 meeting up at the SEMA
in Las Vegas.
There are over 5,000 companies operating within this industry, with 7 out of 10
manufacturing motor vehicle parts. See the image below from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS), highlighting where the majority of these parts manufacturers operate.
At any given time, an assembly line can have up to 6,000 parts traveling on it. When you think about
it, parts that help make subparts, which ultimately produces the part we all need in our lives: a working
vehicle. Without parts, there is no vehicle. Let us take a look at each sub-industry within parts
As mentioned above, the manufacturing of the automotive parts that go into vehicles is vast, ranging from
gasoline engines to seats, brakes, and electrical systems. Essentially, an automobile is a complex web of
systems, parts, subparts, and components assembled into a final product.
The U.S. Census Bureau has created an excellent interactive tool for visualizing all the parts that make up a
vehicle. See the image below or click here for the tool.
Major product categories for this industry consist of a number of sub-industries. We highlight each
number, percentage of the overall industry, and the key products made within each sub-industry.
Automotive Metal Stamping
15% of the parts industry involves companies that manufacture gasoline engines and engine
for motor vehicles. Engines are such an important component of both motor vehicles and
industrial equipment, we highlight this one on its own industry page. Examples of
Stamped parts include:
- Body Parts
- Hub Caps
- Wheel Centers
Transmissions and Powertrain
15% of the parts industry are the companies that manufacture motor vehicle transmission and
powertrain parts. Examples of Transmission and Powertrain parts include:
Engines and Engine Parts
15% of the parts industry involves companies that manufacture gasoline engines and engine
parts for motor vehicles. Engines are such an important component of both motor
industrial equipment, we highlight this one on its own industry page. Examples of
- Gasoline Engines
- Timing Gears
10% of the parts industry are those companies that manufacture electronic equipment for
motor vehicles. Electric cars have given rise to new car parts, ranging from lithium
batteries to electric motors. Examples of Electrical parts include:
- Automotive Lighting
- Automotive Harnesses and Ignitions
- Fuel Pumps
- Windshield Wiper Systems
If you work in this industry, be sure to check out OSHA’s eTools on BatteryManufacturing,
which covers many of the specific hazards this industry faces.
OSHA eTools for Battery Manufacturing
Seating and Interior Trim
10% of the parts industry are companies that manufacture motor vehicle fabric and trimmings.
Examples of Seating and Trim include:
- Sealt Belts
5% of the parts industry are companies that manufacture motor vehicle brake systems.
- Brake Cylinders
- Brake Drums
Steering and Suspension Components
5% of the industry are those companies that manufacture motor vehicle steering devices and
- Power Steering Pumps
- Shock Absorbers
Other notable parts segments of this industry include exhaust systems, fuel tanks, HVAC
systems and air bags. NAICS 33639 captures all companies within this industry not identified in the above
Economic Impact of Auto Parts Manufacturing
The automotive parts industry is a key contributor to the U.S. economy. Virtually all automotive
manufacturers produce their own parts. However, over the years, manufacturers have been turning to
first-tier suppliers for the production of just-in-time components. For this reason, many parts suppliers
are now as global as the vehicle manufacturers themselves.
IBISWorld reports that total revenue for
the parts industry is anticipated to reach reach $73 billion in 2019. It has nearly doubled since
2009 in terms of
exports. Since 2003, the overall revenue number has grown, up an almost unbelievable 506% from 2003 to
the image below.
Most automotive exports are sent to Canada, Mexico, and the European
In addition, the global automotive parts industry is expected to grow around 3.6% and ultimately reach a market
valuation of roughly $466
billion by the end of 2025.
As we mentioned on the Vehicle
Manufacturing page, worldwide motor vehicle production has been
increasing for decades. Well, you need parts in vehicles, which helps explain why the worldwide
for parts is increasing. Another positive is that parts production is increasing overall
the U.S., see below.
Click for larger view
The U.S may not be producing as many passenger vehicles, however, jobs are being created from the
manufacturing of automotive parts.
Virtually all automotive manufacturers produce their own parts. However, over the years, manufacturers have been turning to first-tier suppliers for the production of just-in-time components. For this reason, many parts suppliers are now as global as the vehicle manufacturers themselves.
As you know by now, companies in this industry manufacture automobile parts. They operate as either
parts plants, with a relatively small number of workers, to enormous assembly plants that employ
thousands. Approximately 49% of motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs are in establishments
500 or more workers.
It's a long supply chain of parts.
Automotive News highlights the top 100
global OEM parts suppliers. Here is a look at some of these employers:
|TRW Automotive Inc.
|Magneti Marelli Holding USA LLC
|Cooper-Standard Holding Inc.
|American Axle & Manufacturing
The automotive parts manufacturing industry remains a steady employer for many American workers. The Motor &Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) highlighted
back in 2017 that automotive parts
manufacturing jobs in the U.S. have risen 19% since 2012. That ultimately means a steady paycheck
many and an increased need to keep these workers safe, which we discuss more below.
Taking a look at the official BLS website, there are roughly 588,000 people employed in the
automotive parts manufacturing industry. However, combined with indirect employment, the number
over 4 million. When you take a look at the next image, you can see how parts manufacturing has
an upward slope the past decade, with growth coming in as MEMA highlighted.
Some might argue that the extreme growth occurring is only a rebound from the drastic decline in employment
during the 2008 financial crisis. While there may be some truth to that, the fact remains: the
U.S. employs a lot of workers in this industry. Here is a look at the occupations found in this industry.
There is a wide range of automotive careers found in parts manufacturing. Each one of
these workers will require PPE designed for their specific everyday work applications. The top three
occupations found in this industry are the following:
- Assemblers and fabricators
- Maintenance workers
- Material moving workers
Here is a look at the positions employing the most workers.
Assemblers and Fabricators
Assemble finished products and parts. There are around 165,650 of these workers in the motor
parts manufacturing. You will find this worker assembling bolts, using many different types of
tools, and moving heavy parts. They construct finished products and the parts that go into
These workers use many tools, machines, and most importantly need their hands
protected. Common job
titles for this occupation are Assembler and Fabricator.
Industrial Machinery Installation, Repair, and Maintenance Workers
Lubricates machines, changes parts, and performs machinery maintenance. The Motor Vehicle Parts
Manufacturing industry employs a little over 33,000 of these workers. You will find these
cleaning machine and machine parts. Cleaning solvents, oil, and metalworking fluids are a
concern for these workers. Common Job titles for this position are Lubricator, Maintenance
Material Moving Workers
Around 28,000 of these workers help move material in Motor Vehicles Parts Manufacturing. That
large number of hands needing to be protected. You will find these workers operating
transporting materials, and operating machines. Common job titles are Laborer and Operator.
Machine Tool Cutting Setters and Operators
Use machines and cutting tools. This occupation is highly skilled at operating machinery.
around 21,000 of this occupation working in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry.
will find this worker operating machine tools to produce precision parts. Job titles for this
position are Gear Machinist, Machine Operator, and Maintenance Machinist.
Brazing Machine Operators
Operate welding, soldering or brazing machines that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products.
There around 2,600 workers found in Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing. You will
workers adding material to work pieces, joining metal components, and annealing finished work
pieces. Common Job titles for this position are Fabricator, Mig Welder, Spot Welder, Fitter-Welder,
and Braze Operators.
Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters
Operate machines that saw, cut, shear, slit, punch, crimp, notch, bend, or straighten metal.
are around 21,000 of these workers found in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find
workers aligning metal parts and grinding out burrs or sharp edges. This makes cut-resistant
a high priority for this worker. Common job titles for this position are Die Setter, Press
Operator, Machine Setter and Operator, and Press Punch Operator.
Laborers and material movers by hand
Workers that move materials, objects and stock. There around roughly 19,000 of these workers in
Automotive Parts Manufacturing industry. Machine feeders also fall into this worker group.
Job titles for this position are Line Tender, Laborer, and Materials Handler. Due to the use of
one’s hands, wearing gloves is a must.
Tool and Die Makers
Molding Operators and
Molding Machine Setters
Operate casting or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal. Workers are known as pourers or
casters. Around 12,000 work in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry. Common
for this position are Core Machine Operator, Mold Technician, and Die Cast Technician.
Welding Cutters and Fitters
Use hand-welding, flame-cutting, hand soldering, and brazing equipment to weld/join metal components,
fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products. There are around 11,900 of
workers are employed in the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing industry. You will find these
welding components in flat, vertical or overhead positions. Common Job titles for this
Maintenance Welder, Mig Welder, and Welder/Fabricator
Industrial Machinery Mechanics
Repair, install, and adjust industrial machinery. There are around 11,000 of this occupation
in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find these workers cutting and welding metal to
repair broken metal parts. Job titles for this position are Fixer, Industrial Mechanic, and
Maintenance and Repair Workers
Keep machines, mechanical equipment, or the structure of an establishment in repair. There are
around 10,000 of this occupation that works in the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing industry. You
will find these workers pipe fitting, repairing equipment, and repairing buildings. Job
this position are Maintenance Worker, Maintenance Mechanic, and Facilities Manager.
Duties include supplying or holding materials, along with cleaning work areas and equipment.
8,000 of these workers are in the Motor Vehicles Parts Manufacturing industry. You will find
workers attaching cables, changing machine gears and handling a lot of material. All of these
activities make gloves extremely important. Common Job titles for this position are Laborer,
Helper, and Material Handler.
Laborers and Extraction Occupations
Perform tasks involving physical labor at motor vehicle manufacturing plants. There are roughly
around 6,000 of these workers found in motor vehicles parts manufacturing. You will find these
workers using hand tools, repairing drilling equipment, and transporting materials. Common job
titles for this occupation are Helper, Laborer, Post Framer, and Construction Worker.
Construction Trades Workers
Perform tasks involving physical labor. There around 6,200 of these workers in Motor
Manufacturing. They operate hand and power tools of all types. You will find these
preparing sites, digging trenches, erect scaffolding, applying paint to surfaces, sealants and
assembling structures. Common job titles for this occupation are Helper, Laborer, Skill
Operators, and Tenders
Operate machines to taper, shape, and form metal. Around 5,100 of these workers are found in
vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find these workers removing dies, forging hammers, and
metalwork pieces. Common job titles for this position are Forger, Blacksmith, Hammer Operator,
Forge Press Operator.
You will find these workers applying paint coatings, cleaning production equipment, and positioning
work pieces. There are roughly 3,100 of these workers in the Motor Vehicle Parts manufacturing
industry. They paint and coat surfaces. Workers are exposed to many contaminants.
titles for this occupation is Painter and Spray Painter.
Polishing, and Buffing Machine Operators
Operate grinding tools that remove excess metal material or burrs. There are around 3,000 of
workers in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find these workers sharpening edges and
corners, along with polishing metal. Common job titles for this position are Deburrer,
Grinder, and Grinding Operator.
Coating, Painting, and Spraying Operators
Operate machines to coat or paint a wide variety of products. Examples include cloth,
cloth, copper, ceramics, metal, plastic, paper, wood, silver, and rubber. There around 2,500
these workers in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find these workers mixing
and cleaning production equipment. Noise levels are a concern for these workers. Common
for this occupation are Coater Operator, Paint Technician, Silk Screen Operator, and Spray Painter.
Plating and Coating Operators
Operate plating or coating machines to coat metal and plastic products with other metal, such as
chromium, zinc, copper, cadmium, and nickel, to protect surfaces. There are around 2,100 of
workers in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry. You will find these workers
excess material from workpieces, heating material, loading items into ovens, and cutting
These workers must wear PPE due to the many contaminants encountered. Common job titles for
occupation are Chrome Plater, Galvanizer, and Plater.
Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment. There are around 1,900 of these
in Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing. You will find this worker adjusting bolts, positioning parts,
using hand tools, and drilling holes. Common job titles for this occupation are Maintenance
Mechanic and Precision Millwright.
Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters
Operate machines that extrude metal materials into tubes, wires, and bars. Around 2,000 work in
motor vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find these workers loading materials into
Common job titles for this position are Extruder Operator, Wire Mill Remover, Extrusion Press
Operator, and Metal Inspector.
Metal and plastic workers
Crushing, Grinding, and Polishing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
Operate machines to crush, grind, and polish materials. There are roughly 1,400 of these
found in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry. You will find these workers mixing
chemicals, collecting materials, and using picks. Common job titles for this position are
Mixer, Fabricator, and Miller.
Rolling Machine Setters and Operators
Operate machines that plate, roll, and flatten steel. Around 1,400 of these workers are found
motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry. You will find these workers around shears,
and adjusting machines. Common job titles for this position are Rolling Mill Operator, Mill
Operator, and Roll Form Operator.
Building Cleaning Workers
Gather and empty trash, sweep, mop, or vacuum building floors, clean and stock restrooms. There
roughly 1,400 of these workers in motor vehicle parts manufacturing. You will find this worker
keeping buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition. These workers spend a lot of time
and are exposed to contaminants. Common job titles for this occupation are building Custodian,
Cleaner, and Janitor.
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Assemble, install, and repair pipes, fittings, heating fixtures, and drainage systems. There
around 1,300 of these workers in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry. You will find
these workers installing piping, welding metal, and cutting openings in structures. They are
exposed to hot and cold temperatures and exposed to cuts and minor burns. Common job titles
Commercial Plumber, Drain Cleaner, and Master Plumber.
Motor vehicle manufacturing and parts manufacturing have two things in common: assemblers and maintenance
are needed for both. Aside from that, they are two completely different worlds. Within parts
will find more CNC workers, machinists, and welders.
Here are what workers in this industry do on a daily basis:
- Assembling finished products
- Assembling parts
- Using a wide range of tools
- Feeling fine parts
- Extruding metal materials into tubes, wires, and bars
- Forging hammers
- Moving metal workpieces
- Removing dies
- Operating grinding tools
- Removing excess material
- Adjusting and installing machinery
- Repairing equipment and machinery
- Aligning parts
- Grinding out burrs and sharp edges
- Inspecting metal workpieces
- Handling sharp small parts
- Manipulating machine-cut parts
- Assembling parts
- Maintaining machinery
- Adjusting bolts
- Positioning parts
- Operating casting and coremaking machines to mold metal
- Handling molded metal parts
- Operating coating machines to coat metal
- Operating machines to flatten steel
- Assembling machine fixtures
- Die casting
- Laying out metal stock
- Operating machine tools
- Repairing dies and tools
- Using flame-cutting tools
- Welding components in flat, vertical, and overhead positions
- Adding material to metal workpieces
- Filling holes and seams of fabricated metal products
- Heat treating metal products
Many of the activities found in the automotive industry involve metal fabrication. Be sure to
check out our Metal fabrication industry page for more information and resources.
"Think before you act. Safety first."
Creating automotive parts involves many workplace hazards, which means it is imperative that workers think before
they act. Workers must pay close attention to what they’re doing, no matter what task is being
someone is going to get hurt.
In 1985, one Chicago parts manufacturing company had 41.8
injury cases per 100 full-time employees, roughly four
times that of the industry. Well, that number has come down significantly over the years as better safety
processes have been implemented, plant inspections have increased, and PPE technology has been worn.
The parts manufacturing industry, NAICS 3363, experiences around 22% more injuries than the average for all
industries. However, when you peel the onion back on this industry, tne sub-industry today that should
safety and PPE rather seriously is the motor vehicle stamping industry. 6.3 injuries occur for every 100
employees, which is 36% higher than the average for all parts manufacturing sub-industries. It is 50%
than the 3.2 average for all U.S. industries. High ANSI cut-resistant gloves should be
worn by the majority of
workers, and definitely by those handling sharp metal materials.
||# of Injuries for Every 100 Employees
|Motor vehicle metal stamping
|Motor vehicle brake system manufacturing
|Motor vehicle seating and interior trim manufacturing
|Other motor vehicle parts manufacturing
|Motor vehicle gasoline engine and engine parts manufacturing
|Motor vehicle steering and suspension components
(except spring) manufacturing
|Motor vehicle electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing
|Motor vehicle transmission and powertrain parts manufacturing
Companies that make safety a high priority and embrace safe working conditions are much likelier to avoid
workplace injuries. MCR Safety places a high priority on safety – it’s what we do.
As the automobile industry adapts to future technologies and new parts, MCR Safety will be there evolving
along the way, adapting PPE to fit the employees’ needs and keeping automotive workers safe at work.
Let us help keep you safe!