The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists three different industry sectors for those working as car makers. This includes motor vehicle, motor vehicle body and motor vehicle parts manufacturing. The majority of workers in each industry work as team assemblers on a production line. The salaries, as well as the nature of the work, vary by sector.
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
Those employed in the motor vehicle manufacturing sector are chiefly responsible for the final assembly of cars. A total of 171,250 people were employed in this sector, at an average salary of $58,400 a year, according to the BLS. A total of 116,970 people were employed in the production aspect of the sector, at an average income of $52,480 annually. Apart from supervisors and managers, who had annual incomes averaging at $70,660, those working as tool and die makers earned the most, at $69,680 on average. Team assemblers working in the motor vehicle manufacturing sector earned average salaries of $49,360 a year.
Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing
Employees in the this sector are mostly concerned with the molding and assembly of car chassis and exteriors. The average income of the production occupations of this sector was $33,770 a year, based on a survey of 77,860 people. This equates to a mean hourly wage of $16.23. Supervisors and managers made an average of $51,360, followed by tool and die makers, at $50,000. The most common role was that of team assemblers, who had average incomes of $31,520 a year.
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing
A total of 290,090 people worked in production occupations in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing sector in 2009, at an average salary of $35,770 according to the BLS. Workers in this sector are mostly concerned with manufacturing the individual constituent parts of cars, such as seats, engines and electronics. Team assemblers made up 16.78 percent of production occupations, at an average salary of $30,840 per year. Managers and supervisors made average wages of $55,100 a year.
Qualifications and Advancement
For most jobs in the car-making industry, and especially assembly jobs, a high school diploma or its equivalent is usually the minimum qualification required for entry. Most of the training comes from on-the-job training in car factories. Only some of the more specialty jobs, such as electronics or engine assemblers, require a more advanced qualification such as an associate's degree. Advancement comes with experience, with options including but not limited to supervision, management, research and development and quality control.