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Automotive industry

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A modern assembly line
A video showing new SEAT, Škoda & Volkswagen cars being transported by rail at Kutná Hora město train station in the Czech Republic

The automobile industry is a wide range of companies and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles,[1] some of them[which?] are called automakers. It is one of the world's largest economic sectors by revenue. The automotive industry does not include industries dedicated to the maintenance of automobiles following delivery to the end-user, such as automobile repair shops and motor fuel filling stations.

The word automotive was coined[by whom?] from Greek autos (self), and Latin motivus (of motion) to refer to any form of self-powered vehicle. This term, as proposed by Elmer Sperry[2][need quotation to verify] (1860-1930), first came into use with reference to automobiles in 1898.[3]



Thomas B. Jeffery automobile factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, c.1916
Fiat assembly line in 1961

The automotive industry began in the 1860s with hundreds of manufacturers that pioneered the horseless carriage. For many decades, the United States led the world in total automobile production. In 1929, before the Great Depression, the world had 32,028,500 automobiles in use, and the U.S. automobile industry produced over 90% of them. At that time the U.S. had one car per 4.87 persons.[4] After World War II, the U.S. produced about 75 percent of world's auto production. In 1980, the U.S. was overtaken by Japan and then became world's leader again in 1994. In 2006, Japan narrowly passed the U.S. in production and held this rank until 2009, when China took the top spot with 13.8 million units. With 19.3 million units manufactured in 2012, China almost doubled the U.S. production, with 10.3 million units, while Japan was in third place with 9.9 million units.[5] From 1970 (140 models) over 1998 (260 models) to 2012 (684 models), the number of automobile models in the U.S. has grown exponentially.[6]


Safety is a state that implies to be protected from any risk, danger, damage or cause of injury. In the automotive industry, safety means that users, operators or manufacturers do not face any risk or danger coming from the motor vehicle or its spare parts. Safety for the automobiles themselves, implies that there is no risk of damage.

Safety in the automotive industry is particularly important and therefore highly regulated. Automobiles and other motor vehicles have to comply with a certain number of norms and regulations, whether local or international, in order to be accepted on the market. The standard ISO 26262, is considered as one of the best practice framework for achieving automotive functional safety.[7]

In case of safety issues, danger, product defect or faulty procedure during the manufacturing of the motor vehicle, the maker can request to return either a batch or the entire production run. This procedure is called product recall. Product recalls happen in every industry and can be production-related or stem from the raw material.

Product and operation tests and inspections at different stages of the value chain are made to avoid these product recalls by ensuring end-user security and safety and compliance with the automotive industry requirements. However, the automotive industry is still particularly concerned about product recalls, which cause considerable financial consequences.


Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007, consuming over 980 billion litres (980,000,000 m3) of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly.[8] The automobile is a primary mode of transportation for many developed economies. The Detroit branch of Boston Consulting Group predicts that, by 2014, one-third of world demand will be in the four BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Meanwhile, in the developed countries, the automotive industry has slowed down.[9] It is also expected that this trend will continue, especially as the younger generations of people (in highly urbanized countries) no longer want to own a car anymore, and prefer other modes of transport.[10] Other potentially powerful automotive markets are Iran and Indonesia.[11] Emerging auto markets already buy more cars than established markets. According to a J.D. Power study, emerging markets accounted for 51 percent of the global light-vehicle sales in 2010. The study, performed in 2010 expected this trend to accelerate.[12][13] However, more recent reports (2012) confirmed the opposite; namely that the automotive industry was slowing down even in BRIC countries.[9] In the United States, vehicle sales peaked in 2000, at 17.8 million units.[14]

World motor vehicle productionEdit

World Motor Vehicle Production[15]
Production volume (1000 vehicles)

1960s: Post war increase

1970s: Oil crisis and tighter safety and emission regulation.

1990s: production started in NICs

2000s: rise of China as top producer

Automotive industry crisis of 2008–2010
to 1950: USA had produced more than 80% of motor vehicles.[16]

1950s: UK, Germany and France restarted production.

1960s: Japan started production and increased volume through the 1980s. US, Japan, Germany, France and UK produced about 80% of motor vehicles through the 1980s.

1990s: Korea became a volume producer. In 2004, Korea became No. 5 passing France.

2000s: China increased its production drastically, and became the world's largest producing country in 2009 .

2010s: India overtakes Korea, Canada, Spain to become 5th largest automobile producer.

2013: The share of China (25.4%), India, Korea, Brazil and Mexico rose to 43%, while the share of USA (12.7%), Japan, Germany, France and UK fell to 34%.
World motor production (1997-2016)

By yearEdit

Year Production Change Source
1997 54,434,000 [17]
1998 52,987,000   2.7% [17]
1999 56,258,892   6.2% [18]
2000 58,374,162   3.8% [19]
2001 56,304,925   3.5% [20]
2002 58,994,318   4.8% [21]
2003 60,663,225   2.8% [22]
2004 64,496,220   6.3% [23]
2005 66,482,439   3.1% [24]
2006 69,222,975   4.1% [25]
2007 73,266,061   5.8% [26]
2008 70,520,493   3.7% [27]
2009 61,791,868   12.4% [28]
2010 77,857,705   26.0% [29]
2011 79,989,155   3.1% [30]
2012 84,141,209   5.3% [31]
2013 87,300,115   3.7% [32]
2014 89,747,430   2.6% [33]
2015 90,086,346   0.4% [34]
2016 94,976,569   4.5% [35]
Car exports by country (2014) from Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity

Global automobile import and export in 2011

By countryEdit

The OICA counts over 50 countries which assemble, manufacture or disseminate automobiles. Of that figure, only 13, boldfaced in the list below, possess the capability to design automobiles from the ground up.[37][38]

Top 20 motor vehicle producing countries (2017)
Country Motor vehicle production (units)
United States
South Korea
United Kingdom
Czech Republic

"Production Statistics". OICA.

By manufacturerEdit

This is a list of the 15 largest manufacturers by production in 2016.[36]

Rank Group Country Vehicles
1 Toyota Japan 10,213,486
2 Volkswagen Group Germany 10,126,281
3 Hyundai South Korea 7,889,538
4 General Motors United States 7,793,066
5 Ford United States 6,429,485
6 Nissan Japan 5,556,241
7 Honda Japan 4,999,266
8 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy / United States 4,681,457
9 Renault France 3,373,278
10 PSA France 3,152,787
11 Suzuki Japan 2,945,295
12 SAIC China 2,566,793
13 Daimler Germany 2,526,450
14 BMW Germany 2,359,756
15 Changan China 1,715,871

By market segmentEdit

Company relationshipsEdit

Stake holdingEdit

It is common for automobile manufacturers to hold stakes in other automobile manufacturers. These ownerships can be explored under the detail for the individual companies.

Notable current relationships include:[citation needed]

Joint venturesEdit

Top vehicle manufacturing groups by volumeEdit

The table below shows the world's 10 largest motor vehicle manufacturing groups, along with the marques produced by each one. The table is ranked by 2016 production figures from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) for the parent group, and then alphabetically by marque. Joint ventures are not reflected in this table. Production figures of joint ventures are typically included in OICA rankings, which can become a source of controversy.[43][44]

Marque Country of origin Ownership Markets
1. Toyota (Japan)
Daihatsu Japan Subsidiary Europe, Asia (except South Korea, South Asia (excluding Sri Lanka)), Africa, South America
Hino Japan Subsidiary South East Asia, Japan, North America, Central America, South America, Caribbean
Lexus Japan Business Unit South East Asia, China, Japan, South Korea, Middle East, United States, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India
Toyota Japan Division Global, except Iran
2. Volkswagen AG (Germany)
Audi Germany Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Bentley United Kingdom Subsidiary Global
Bugatti France Subsidiary Global, except Australia
Ducati Italy Subsidiary Global
Lamborghini Italy Subsidiary Global
MAN Germany Subsidiary Global, except North America
Porsche Germany Subsidiary Global, except Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba
Scania Sweden Subsidiary Global, except North America
SEAT Spain Subsidiary Europe, China, Singapore, Mexico, Central America, South America (Excluidng Chile), Middle East, Northern Africa
Škoda Czech Republic Subsidiary Europe, Asia (except Indonesia, The Philippines, Iran, Japan, South Korea, North Korea), Central America, South America, Dominican Republic, Northern Africa, Western Africa, Australia, New Zealand
Volkswagen Germany Division Global
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Germany Subsidiary Global
VTB Brazil Business Unit Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa
3. Hyundai (South Korea)
Genesis South Korea Business Unit South Korea, Russia, United States, Canada, Middle East
Hyundai South Korea Division Global
Kia South Korea Subsidiary Global ( except Japan)
4. General Motors (United States)
Buick United States Business Unit North America, China, Israel
Cadillac United States Business Unit North America, Middle East, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea
Chevrolet United States Business Unit Global, (except Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India)
GMC United States Business Unit North America, Middle East (except Israel)
Holden Australia Subsidiary Australia, New Zealand
JieFang China Business Unit China
SAIC-GM China Business Unit China
UzDaewoo Uzbekistan Business Unit Central Asia, Russia
5. Ford (United States)
Ford United States Division Global
Lincoln United States Business Unit North America, Middle East, Japan, South Korea, China
Troller Veículos Especiais Brazil Subsidiary South America, Africa, Australia, Europe
6. Nissan (Japan)
Datsun Japan Division Indonesia, India, Russia, South Africa, Bolivia
Infiniti Japan Subsidiary Global, except South America (excluding Chile), Africa (excluding South Africa)
Nissan Japan Division Global
7. Honda (Japan)
Acura Japan Division China, Kuwait, North America, Russia
Honda Japan Division Global
8. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Italy)
Abarth Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Alfa Romeo Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Brazil
Chrysler United States Division Global, except Europe (excluding United Kingdom, Ireland), Africa (excluding South Africa, Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia (excluding Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore)
Dodge United States Division Global, except Europe, Africa (excluding South Africa, Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia (excluding Indonesia, the Philippines)
Fiat Italy Subsidiary Global, except Africa (excluding South Africa), Iran, South East Asia
Fiat Professional Italy Business Unit Global, except Africa (excluding South Africa), Iran, South East Asia, United States, Canada
Jeep United States Division Global, except Africa (excluding South Africa, Egypt), South Asia (excluding India, Sri Lanka), South East Asia (excluding Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore)
Lancia Italy Division Europe, except United Kingdom, Ireland
Maserati Italy Subsidiary Global
RAM United States Division North America, Brazil, Middle East, Peru
9. Renault (France)
Dacia Romania Subsidiary Europe, North Africa
Lada Russia Business Unit Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Egypt
Renault France Division Global ( except USA and Canada)
Renault Samsung Motors South Korea Subsidiary South Korea, Chile
10. Groupe PSA (France)
Citroën France Division Europe, Central and South America, Northern and Western Africa, South Africa, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Asia (except India, Pakistan, Bangladesh)
DS France Division Europe, China and Brazil
Peugeot France Division Global, (except USA, Canada, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh)
Opel Germany Subsidiary Europe (except United Kingdom), North Africa, South Africa, Middle East, Singapore, Chile
Vauxhall United Kingdom Subsidiary United Kingdom
  • General Motors India stopped producing vehicles for the Indian market in 2017. It however continues to export vehicles to other markets.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "automotive industry". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. ^ Scientific and Technical Societies of the United States (Eighth ed.). Washington DC: National Academy of Sciences. 1968. p. 164. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  3. ^ Harper, Douglas. "automotive". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  4. ^ "U.S. Makes Ninety Percent of World's Automobiles". Popular Science. 115 (5): 84. November 1929. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  5. ^ "2012 Production Statistics". OICA. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  6. ^ Aichner, T.; Coletti, P (2013). "Customers' online shopping preferences in mass customization". Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice. 15 (1): 20–35.
  7. ^ "ISO 26262-10:2012 Road vehicles -- Functional safety -- Part 10: Guideline on ISO 26262". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Automobile Industry Introduction". Plunkett Research. 2008. Archived from the original on 19 December 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b Khor, Martin. "Developing economies slowing down". Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. ^ "2014 Global Automotive Consumer Study : Exploring consumer preferences and mobility choices in Europe" (PDF). Deloittelcom. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-04. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  11. ^ Eisenstein, Paul A. "Building BRIC's: 4 Markets Could Soon Dominate the Auto World".
  12. ^ Bertel Schmitt (15 February 2011). "Auto industry sets new world record". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Global Automotive Outlook for 2011 Appears Positive as Mature Auto Markets Recover, Emerging Markets Continue to Expand". J.D. Power and Associates. 15 February 2011. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  14. ^ "U.S. vehicle sales peaked in 2000". 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 28 May 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Table 1-23: World Motor Vehicle Production, Selected Countries (Thousands of vehicles) | Bureau of Transportation Statistics". Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  16. ^ "Arno A. Evers FAIR-PR". Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  17. ^ a b "1998 - 1997 WORLD MOTOR VEHICLE PRODUCTION BY TYPE AND ECONOMIC AREA" (pdf). Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  18. ^ "1999 Production Statistics".
  19. ^ "2000 Production Statistics".
  20. ^ "2001 Production Statistics".
  21. ^ "2002 Production Statistics".
  22. ^ "2003 Production Statistics".
  23. ^ "2004 Production Statistics".
  24. ^ "2005 Production Statistics".
  25. ^ "2006 Production Statistics".
  26. ^ "2007 Production Statistics".
  27. ^ "2008 Production Statistics".
  28. ^ "2009 Production Statistics".
  29. ^ "2010 Production Statistics".
  30. ^ "2011 Production Statistics".
  31. ^ "2012 Production Statistics".
  32. ^ "2013 Production Statistics".
  33. ^ "2014 Production Statistics".
  34. ^ "2015 Production Statistics".
  35. ^ "2016 Production Statistics".
  36. ^ a b OICA: World Motor Vehicle Production
  37. ^ Jared Lynch, Mark Hawthorne (17 October 2015). "Australia's car industry one year from closing its doors". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 27 May 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  38. ^
  39. ^ "China's Geely to Acquire Stake in Malaysian Carmaker Proton". 2017-05-23. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  40. ^ "Nissan to take 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  41. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  42. ^
  43. ^ "GM Slips to Number Two Worldwide, Ford to Fourth". The Truth About Cars. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  44. ^ "TTAC Announces World's Top Ten Automakers". The Truth About Cars. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-12.

External linksEdit