Continental benefited from an exchange-rate conversion that hurt Japan's Denso (Photo: Continental)

A new ranking of the world's 100 biggest automotive suppliers surprisingly puts Germany's Continental at the top of the list, above mainstays such as Robert Bosch and Denso.

The ranking, published by Germany's Automobil Produktion, looks at revenue - in dollars - generated directly by sales to the automotive industry and doesn't consider a company 's overall turnover.

Continental had 2013 automotive sales of 42.33 billion dollars, according to Automobil Produktion, which puts it ahead of last year's leader, Japan's Denso, which posted automotive sales of 41.34 billion dollars. Bosch stayed in third place with sales of 40.62 billion dollars.

Automobil Produktion noted that currency swings played a major role in deciding rank on the list. Denso, for example, lost about 2.79  billion dollars in sales, but gained in Japanese yen terms. Without the change in the dollar-yen rate, Denso likely would have remained in the number 1 spot.