Best-Paying Jobs in Auto Manufacturing

There are many high-paying jobs in the automotive manufacturing industry. The demand for highly-skilled and experienced workforce in the industry means most jobs pay very well.

Whether you want to become an automotive engineer, technician, or mechanic, these jobs will earn you a decent salary. The best part is that one can build a scalable career in the industry with the potential to earn as high as $250,000 a year.

Before you decide which automotive manufacturing career you wish to pursue, it is important to do some research to have a better understanding of what each career path entails and how well it pays.

Besides, we all want to have a well-paying career that rewards our efforts with much-needed financial stability. This article aims to provide a snapshot of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing and what each one entails.

The best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing

Let’s have a look at 25 of the best-paying careers in the auto manufacturing industry. Some jobs pay as high as $295,000 a year, which shows just how much skill and experience are in demand.

1. Automotive hardware engineer

The automotive hardware engineer designs and develops new products for the automotive industry. They also design and test prototypes of future vehicle models, ensuring that they are as safe, efficient, and reliable. What does this mean?

For example, an auto hardware engineer may work on designing new seats or steering wheels that help make cars more comfortable.

Unsafe or uncomfortable seats could lead to accidents on roads where traffic is heavy; unsafe steering wheels could cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles during hard turns or collisions with other vehicles on the road.

In addition to designing new car products, an automotive hardware engineer must be able to troubleshoot problems when they arise during testing sessions.

The average income for an automotive hardware engineer is $99,999 per year, which makes it one of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing.

2. Engine research engineer

Engine research engineers design, develop, and test engines. They are usually involved in the design of new engines, improving existing engines, and developing new technologies to improve the efficiency of engines.

These engineers need to have a solid understanding of physics, thermodynamics, materials technology, and manufacturing processes. They must also be able to apply these skills in a practical manner by designing or improving an engine to meet customer requirements within the parameters set by law or regulations.

Engine research engineer is one of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing.

The average income for a professional in this career is $89,900.

3. Automotive diagnostic technician

If you’re interested in working as an automotive diagnostic technician, you’ll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology or mechanical engineering.

You’ll also need 2 years of experience in the field that can be gained through any combination of on-the-job training and previous work experience.

The average income for an automotive diagnostic technician is $60,088 per year.

4. Automotive consultant

The automotive consultant is a role that helps customers with the design, production, and marketing of their automotive products. They provide advice and counsel on how to best use their product or service in order to increase sales.

They also can help with business planning, marketing, and promotion as well as production planning.

Automotive consultants earn an average salary of $88,886 with the highest-paid consultants earning $229,000 a year. This makes it one of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing.

5. Diesel engineer

As a diesel engineer, you will work with diesel engines. You’ll study how they work, design new ones, and test them in the lab or at an automotive manufacturing plant.

You’ll also help other engineers develop new technology for diesel cars. This means exploring new materials and processes to improve both performance and efficiency while reducing fuel consumption.

The average income for a diesel engineer is $66,682.

6. Dimensional engineer

Dimensional engineers are responsible for determining the dimensions of parts and assemblies.

They analyze design requirements, develop and maintain dimensional standards, develop and maintain dimensional drawings and tolerances, and ensure dimensional accuracy throughout the design process.

It is among the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing with the highest-paid earning an average income of $94,272.

7. Dealership general manager

A dealership general manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the dealership, including sales and service departments. They manage all aspects of their department, including finance, parts, and marketing.

The average salary for a dealership general manager is $52,916 and the highest-paid earn as high as $117,000 per year.

8. Automotive service manager

Automotive service managers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of vehicles. They oversee a team of technicians and technicians, ensuring that their department is operating efficiently.

In addition to managing day-to-day operations, managers at this level must be able to manage budgets and oversee budgeting processes.

Education requirements include an associate’s degree in automotive technology or an equivalent field and experience working in an automotive service environment.

The average salary for an automotive service manager is $74,213. The highest-paid managers earn $138,150 a year, making this one of the highest-paying jobs in auto manufacturing.

9. Collision center manager

The Collision Center Manager is responsible for managing an automotive collision center. They are in charge of employee scheduling, assigning tasks, and overseeing worker safety. One must have strong leadership skills and experience working with customers to ensure that staff is performing at its best level.

One should have at least three years of experience as a manager or supervisor in the automotive industry (including retail sales). Certification in vehicle repair and body repair techniques with an emphasis on understanding customer expectations is also essential.

Collision center manager is one of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing.

The average salary for collision center managers in the United States of America is $84,576 and the highest-paid earns $200,000 per year.

10. Vehicle dynamics engineer

Vehicle dynamics engineers are responsible for designing the drivetrain, suspension, and steering systems of motor vehicles. They also develop automated control systems that make sure all these systems work together properly.

Vehicle dynamics engineers work in teams with other engineers and technicians to design, build, and test vehicles including passenger cars and trucks as well as heavy-duty commercial vehicles like buses or trucks.

The average salary for a vehicle dynamics engineer is $91,184 per year. This makes it one of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing.

11. Automotive engineer

An automotive engineer is responsible for designing and developing parts for cars, trucks, and other vehicles. They work with a team of engineers to design new parts and subsystems that meet customer needs.

They also work on things such as engine performance and emissions controls. The average salary for automotive engineers in the United States of America is $82,142 and the top earners get $143,000 per year.

12. Automotive project engineer

An automotive project engineer is responsible for the management and design of a project’s overall schedule, cost, and schedule. They work closely with designers, engineers, and other stakeholders to ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget.

The job outlook for automotive project engineers is good. However, it can be difficult to find employment because there aren’t many opportunities available in this field.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an automotive project manager is $55,000 and the highest-paid engineers earn $59,500 a year.

13. Fleet maintenance manager

A fleet maintenance manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations and upkeep of a fleet of vehicles. They’re also in charge of ensuring that the company’s vehicles are running at peak performance, which means they’ll be working with technicians to make sure everything is in good shape.

While there will undoubtedly be some administrative tasks involved (writing up reports and scheduling service), most fleets assign managers who are trained mechanics themselves and that’s where their real strengths lie: knowing how each component works together as a whole unit.

It’s all about understanding what makes something function properly before making any changes or repairs. If you can do this well enough then you’ll have plenty of opportunities for advancement within your organization.

The average salary for a fleet maintenance manager is $68,264. It is among the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing with the highest-paid managers earning $139,000 per year.

14. Automotive product engineer

The job of an automotive product engineer is to design and develop new vehicle components, systems, and vehicles. They need a strong background in engineering and design, as well as an understanding of manufacturing processes.

They must be able to work in a team environment, manage stress levels, and make decisions quickly under pressure.

In order to become an automotive product engineer you need at least three years of experience working with CAD software (including 3D models), as well as hands-on experience with metal cutting machines or other manufacturing equipment such as welders or lathes.

The average salary for an automotive product engineer is $72,166 with the highest-paid earning $96,500 per year.

15. Automotive service director

The automotive service director is an experienced professional who oversees the company’s entire fleet of vehicles.

In this role, you will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations and making sure that your team members are performing at an optimal level. You must have five years or more of experience in the automotive service field to qualify for this position. 

You also need two years or more of supervisory experience, which means that you’ve been working under someone else before being promoted to a leadership role. This includes overseeing other employees such as mechanics and salespeople as well as your own staff members.

The average salary for automotive service directors in the U.S. is $71,205. The highest-paid directors earn  $160,000 a year, which makes this one of the best-paying jobs in the auto manufacturing industry.

16. Powertrain calibration engineer

Powertrain calibration engineers are responsible for calibrating engine control units (ECU) and other electronic components in vehicles. They are also responsible for testing and debugging these items to ensure they function correctly.

They may work with various manufacturers on complex projects related to ECUs and PCMs, which hold data about the engine’s performance at each stage of its operation; this includes detecting faults in the system and fixing them when possible.

If one does not have previous experience in this field or would prefer not to work directly with software engineers, they should consider working as part of an engineering team instead.

The average for powertrain calibration engineers in the U.S. is $77,501 and the highest-paid earns $134,000 per year.

17. Automotive general sales manager

An automotive general sales manager is responsible for managing all aspects of the automotive sales department, including:

  • Establishing and maintaining good relationships with clients
  • Ensuring that the team has the tools it needs to be successful
  • Running a smooth operation by ensuring that customers have a positive experience during their visit or purchase

The average salary for automotive general sales managers in the United States is $84,437. It is one of the best-paying jobs in auto manufacturing with the highest-paid sales managers earning $222,000 a year.

18. Chassis engineer

Chassis engineers are responsible for developing and maintaining the structure, suspension, and aerodynamics of a vehicle. They work closely with designers to create a vehicle that meets customer needs and safety standards.

Chassis design engineers earn an average salary of $87,841, which makes this one of the best-paying jobs in the auto manufacturing industry.

19. Powertrain design engineer

As a powertrain design engineer, you’ll be responsible for designing the systems that power vehicles. This includes designing and developing components such as engines, transmissions, and steering wheels.

You’ll need to have knowledge about how vehicles work and what makes them run efficiently to get a well-paying job. You should also have experience working as part of a team with other engineers on projects related to the design of new systems or improvements within existing ones (e.g., adding additional performance).

Being a powertrain design engineer is one of the best-paying engineering jobs in the United States. The highest-paid in this field earns $88,007 per year.

20. Automotive sales manager

Automotive sales managers are the face of their respective dealerships. They’re responsible for the company’s overall sales performance and the success of each individual dealership.

They need to be good problem solvers and communicators who can work well with others. That said, it’s important for them to have strong leadership skills as well because this role requires a lot of time in front of customers on a daily basis.

Automotive sales managers earn an average salary of $94,237 and the highest-paid managers earn $266,000 per year.

21. Body component engineer

Body component engineers design body components and systems for cars, trucks, and SUVs. They work with a team to develop new and improved materials and manufacturing methods. They also design parts and systems to meet customer demands and government regulations.

The average salary for a body component engineer in the U.S. is $87,532 while the highest-paid earns $150,000 per year.

22. Automotive buyer

An automotive buyer purchases vehicles on behalf of a dealer or a network of dealers. There is a certain level of expectation placed on the automotive buyer because they will be the liaison between the dealer and the customer.

The expectations are that they are knowledgeable about all aspects of buying vehicles (purchasing, used-vehicle analysis, vehicle certification).

The automotive buyer typically has responsibility for day-to-day operations including such duties as marketing, sales, client management; etc. Additionally, in some cases, there is an additional obligation to fulfill statutory obligations for licensing and registration of new automobiles in accordance with state provisions.

Other responsibilities may include customers’ needs assessment and service development profiling to support appropriate sales approaches.

The average salary for an automotive buyer is $65,651. The highest-paid automotive buyers earn $109,000 per year, which is one of the best-paying auto manufacturing jobs in the United States.

23. Powertrain engineer

A powertrain engineer is a person who designs and builds the engines, transmissions, and other components that make up the car’s drivetrain. They do this by creating a design for an engine or transmission that works well in different situations.

The job also involves working with suppliers to ensure that they have what it takes to produce your parts on time. This means you’ll probably have to visit factories where workers will be building your parts so they can be tested before being put into mass production (and thus shipped out).

The average salary for powertrain engineers in the U.S. is $102,387 and the highest-paid engineers earn $127,324 per year.

24. Automotive general manager

An automotive general manager (AGM) oversees all aspects of their factory or dealership and makes sure things run smoothly no matter how big or small their operation may be.

This position requires someone with strong organizational skills and a knack for handling crises as well as making sure everything works together properly so that customers get what they need when they need it.

The average salary for automotive general managers is $78,148. It is arguably the best-paying job in auto manufacturing with the highest-paid earning $209,000 per year.

25. Automotive designer

Automotive designers work with engineers to make sure the cars they make are safe, reliable, efficient, comfortable, and stylish.

They create the interior design of your vehicle ranging from seats to dashboards to headrests. They also get involved in exterior styling, including paint colors and trim elements (such as chrome).

The average salary for automotive designers in the U.S. is $60,903 and the highest-paid earns $108,000 a year.


While we have highlighted 25 jobs that pay well in the automotive manufacturing industry, there are other options you can choose if you so need. Most jobs in the automotive industry pay better than most jobs and will be worth your time and investment.

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