The foundations of the US automotive industry were laid in the 1890s. The industry grew at a phenomenal pace and over time evolved into the largest industry in the world because of innovations in mass-production. Japan overtook the US as the largest automobile producer in the 1980s, and as of now, China is the largest automobile producer in the world. The Ford Motor Company (F) and General Motors Company (GM) are the two major players and rivals in the US auto industry. Both companies started off in the early 1900s and have played a major role in developing and modernizing the industry as a whole.