How Much Does an Automotive Engineer Make a Year?


Society depends on engineers to create technical solutions to issues that arise in a wide variety of fields, such as architecture, electronics and manufacturing. Engineers use mathematical and scientific knowledge to create things like bridges, buildings, new products, new chemicals and machines. Automotive engineers are mechanical engineers in the motor vehicle industry that help design, manufacture and test vehicles.

Automotive Manufacturing Engineers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers working in motor vehicle manufacturing, regardless of any engineering specialization within the industry, earned an average $91,470 a year as of May 2010, with an average hourly wage of $43.98. By comparison, a May 2008 report by the bureau said the median hourly wage for industrial engineers working in motor vehicle manufacturing was $39.15.

Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing

Some engineers that work with motor vehicles specialize in manufacturing car bodies and trailers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average hourly income of motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing engineers was $29.55 as of May 2008. Multiplying $29.55 by full-time employment of 2,080 hours a year shows that workers in the field earned an average annual income of $61,464.

Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing

Motor vehicles contain a variety of internal parts necessary to make them function property. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that engineers working the field of motor vehicle parts manufacturing earned $34.73 an hour on average as of May 2008. This translates to an average annual income of $72,238, based on 2,080 hours a year.


Income earned by an individual worker can vary significantly from averages. For example, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that among all mechanical engineers, across all industries, those in the top 10 percent of income earned made $119,480 or more a year, while those in the bottom 10 percent made $50,550 or less. Higher levels of education and experience tend to improve job opportunities and pay.

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