The Big 3 carmakers get plenty of press, but what about the carmaker makers? Enter Johnson Controls, a deceptively under-recognized name for its contribution to one of the most consumer-focused industries.
Johnson Controls (Fortune 500) makes much of that cushy seat-foam that lets you ride in cars in comfort. The company is the world's largest supplier of "seating solutions," a segment that pulled in $15.5 billion in sales for the company in 2012. Johnson Controls also makes products tagged to the construction industry such as heating, air-conditioning, ventilating and security systems. ,
The company has broadened its reach well beyond its roots. In 1885, Warren Johnson, developer of the first electric room thermostat, founded Johnson Controls to sell his invention. Johnson Controls was also first to market with lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars, and is currently the biggest supplier for battery technology for vehicles. It also makes driver information display panels, floor consoles and those garage-door clickers that are integrated to the interior of the car.
Wal-Mart retook the top spot, Berkshire Hathaway made the top five, and Apple grew enormously.