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Which 10 Vehicle Makes and Models Enjoy the Highest Profit Margins?

Two Toyota taxis parked on the side of the street.

Simply defined, a profit margin is “the percentage of revenue that a company retains as income after the deduction of expenses.” From the highest profit margin products to the highest profit margin businesses and business ideas, it seems everyone and every business is chasing the highest profit margin of something or other.

It’s no different in the automobile industry, where different car manufacturers also strive to become the biggest carmaker by revenue through selling as many different makes and models of their vehicles that have brought, or promise to bring them the highest profit margins. As of September 30, 2021, “Cars net profit margin (…) is 3.38%” Expressed as a percentage, the profit margin “indicates how many cents of profit has been generated for each dollar of sale”

In this article, share with you the 10 of the most profitable makes and models in modern times and, by extension, infer that their latest models by default currently enjoy the highest profit margins for their respective manufacturers.    

2012’s 10 Most Profitable Makes and Models in Modern Times

Red sports Mercedes Benz driving on a tunnel highway.

It appears that interest in the most profitable makes and models which enjoy the highest profit margins has been around for quite some time.  

Just over a decade ago, an automobile analyst from Bernstein Research, Max Warburton, was asked to identify the make and model of the most profitable vehicle in modern times.

According to this car expert, there are THREE main ways that car manufacturers make high-profit margins on the vehicles they manufacture. These are by:

  1. manufacturing a car that’s sold in high volumes and mechanically as well as technically simple and hardly ever re-engineered. Examples of such automobiles are the Ford-F series make of vehicles.
  2. making Premium-badge German salons. For instance, the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, and Mercedes S-Class.
  3. developing Japanese-style medium-size salons that are manufactured at low cost in large volumes and retail at reasonable prices.

Based on the Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) from 1996  to 2008, makes and models of vehicles falling into the criteria above, what follows is a list of the top 10  most profitable cars in modern times as published back in 2021.

  1. Ford’s Ford F-series and Range Rover Sport with an EBIT of $50BN
  2. General Motors’ GMT 800 with an EBIT of $40BN
  3. Volkswagen’s Porsche 911 Turbo and Porsche Cayenne with an EBIT of above $18BN
  4. Chrysler’s Dodge RAM with an EBIT of $18BN
  5. BMW’s 5-series (E39/E90) and X with an EBIT of $24BN
  6. BMW’s 3-series (E36/E46/E90) with an EBIT $17BN
  7. Daimler AG’s Mercedes Benz E-Class W210 with an EBIT of $13BN
  8. Toyota’s Lexus RX with an EBIT of $12BN
  9. Honda’s Honda Accord (1997-2010) with an EBIT of $711BN
  10. Chrysler (now Stallantis) Jeep Grand Cherokee with an EBIT of $7BN

Over the years, these makes and their subsequent models have arguably, consistently been the most profitable ever since. Perhaps with a few exceptions and insignificant disruptions by new arrivals like Hyundai and Kia.

2022 Models of the 10 Most Profitable Vehicle Makes in Modern Times

Classic Ford Mustang, red.

Ten years later, although there does not appear to have been any recent research and updating of the information as to the makes and models of the vehicles which are currently enjoying the highest profit margins, a 2012 article that looks at the 10 most profitable cars in modern times offers a most useful guide. Using it, I trace the current 2022 models (descendants, if you like) of vehicle makes that have been the most profitable in modern times and accompany their 2022 retail prices and a few comments. Here goes!

  1. Ford’s 2022 Ford F-150, known as the Truck of Authority and a beast with brains, the XL model currently starts retailing at $29, 990. On the other hand, its Ford companion, the well-tailored and luxurious 2022 Land Rover Range Rover Sport, starts retailing at a whopping $72 250.00!
  2. Not to be outdone, General Motors’ seventh-generation descendant of the GMT 800 is the 2022 Cadillac Escalade. Ranked at number two in Fullsize SUV, it retails between $74, 295 and $104,209.00.
  3. A decade later, Volkswagen’s 2022 Porsche 911 Turbo remains incredibly expensive, retailing from $175,650. Its stratospheric price tag is once again proof of why it continues to enjoy among the highest profit margins. Miles behind is the 2022 Porche Cayenne. Described as catering ” to anyone who wants a luxurious SUV that’s also a kick to drive”, the 2022 Porshe Cayanne retails from $70,350.
  4. In 2022, Chrysler’s Dodge RAM is represented by its Limited Edition Ram 1500 Longhorn Southfork. This sturdy off-road on-road beast starts retailing at $61,620.  
  5. Built for space and speed, BWM’s 5-series models 530i and 550e retail from $55195, respectively, while the 540i starts from $60.945.
  6. Possessing both luxury and sportiness, BMW’s 2022 BMW 3-series comes in at an opening cost of $42, 445. Turbocharged for extreme power, its most popular current model is the 330i. In keeping with the green engine evolution, its 330e model is a plug-in hybrid.    
  7. Comprising the E53, E350 and E450, Daimler AG’s 2022 Mercedes Benz E-Class range has been adjudged “more elegant than exciting“. It starts retailing from $56, 000.00.
  8. Boasting several models (350, 450, 450h), Toyota’s 2022 Lexus RX Blackline Special Edition is arguably the current leading luxury SUV. Its starting cost is $46, 645 and above.  
  9. Combining both a silky smooth profile and flowing body lines that merge into both form and function, Honda’s 2022 Honda Accord Sport, LX, and EX-L models start between $26,120 and $27, 135.00. It boasts a C/D rating of a perfect 10!
  10.  Last but not at all least, the Stallantis 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a dream come true. “Ruggedly handsome and stylish, the new Grand Cherokee is improved in nearly every way.” As a result, it has become one of the most awarded SUVs in the history of motoring. Despite this, it starts retailing for $40,120.00.