Automotive industry

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

The automotive industry is a wide range of companies and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles.[1] It is one of the world's most important 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 term automotive was created from Greek autos (self), and Latin motivus (of motion) to represent any form of self-powered vehicle. This term was proposed by SAE member Elmer Sperry.[2]


Thomas B. Jeffery automobile factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, c.1916
Citroën assembly line in 1918

The automotive industry began in the 1890s 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.[3] 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 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.[4] From 1970 (140 models) over 1998 (260 models) to 2012 (684 models), the number of automobile models in the U.S. has grown exponentially.[5]


Main article: Automobile safety

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,[6] 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,[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] Other potentially powerful automotive markets are Iran and Indonesia.[12] 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.[13][14] However, more recent reports (2012) confirmed the opposite; namely that the automotive industry was slowing down even in BRIC countries.[15]

World motor vehicle production[edit]

World Motor Vehicle Production[16]
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.[17]

1950s; UK, Germany and France restarted production.

1960s; Japan started production and increased volume through the 1980s. US, Japan, Germany, France and UK had 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 2009 became the world largest producing country.

2013; The share of China (25.4%), Korea, India, Brazil and Mexico rose to 43%, while the share of USA (12.7%), Japan, Germany, France and UK fell to 34%.

By year[edit]

Global production of motorvehicles

(cars and commercial vehicles)

Year Production Change Source
1997 54,434,000   [18]
1998 52,987,000 -2.7% [18]
1999 56,258,892 6.2% [19]
2000 58,374,162 3.8% [20]
2001 56,304,925 -3.5% [21]
2002 58,994,318 4.8% [22]
2003 60,663,225 2.8% [23]
2004 64,496,220 6.3% [24]
2005 66,482,439 3.1% [25]
2006 69,222,975 4.1% [26]
2007 73,266,061 5.8% [27]
2008 70,520,493 -3.7% [28]
2009 61,791,868 -12.4% [29]
2010 77,857,705 26.0% [30]
2011 79,989,155 3.1% [31]
2012 84,141,209 5.3% [32]
2013 87,300,115 3.7% [33]

By country[edit]

Automobile Export Gross value Treemap (2012)[34]
This map showing only gross export amount. USA was the largest net importer, also UK and France are net importers.

By manufacturer[edit]

Rank of manufacturers by production in 2013[35]

Rank Group Country Total Cars LCV HCV Heavy Bus
1 Toyota  Japan 10,324,995 8,565,176 1,481,722 272,411 5,686
2 GM  United States 9,628,912 6,733,192 2,890,958 4,762
3 Volkswagen Group  Germany 9,379,229 9,259,506 119,723
4 Hyundai  South Korea 7,233,080 6,909,194 242,021 67,290 14,575
5 Ford  United States 6,077,126 3,317,048 2,667,220 92,858
6 Nissan  Japan 4,950,924 4,090,677 837,331 22,916
7 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
4,681,704 2,163,040 2,350,697 124,131 43,836
8 Honda  Japan 4,298,390 4,263,239 35,151
9 Suzuki  Japan 2,842,133 2,452,573 389,560
10 PSA  France 2,833,781 2,445,889 387,892
11 Renault  France 2,704,675 2,347,913 356,762
12 BMW  Germany 2,006,366 2,006,366
13 SAIC  China 1,992,250 1,685,392 231,374 74,431 1,053
14 Daimler AG  Germany 1,781,507 1,631,502 150,005
15 Mazda  Japan 1,264,173 1,175,443 88,730
16 Dongfeng Motor  China 1,238,948 642,092 226,319 357,414 13,123
17 Mitsubishi  Japan 1,229,441 1,090,571 135,306 3,564
18 Changan  China 1,109,889 873,794 166,056 70,039
19 Tata  India 1,062,654 650,708 279,511 117,425 15,010
20 Geely  China 969,896 969,896
21 BAIC  China 918,879 243,437 285,947 384,425 5,070
22 Fuji  Japan 808,919 808,919
23 Great Wall  China 757,564 630,423 127,141
24 FAW  China 717,883 448,290 61,822 203,895 3,876
25 Mahindra  India 584,534 407,563 173,398 2,2337 1,236
26 Brilliance  China 582,904 279,335 264,210 39,359
27 Isuzu  Japan 532,966 36,094 494,907 1,965
28 JAC  China 517,577 206,132 120,588 174,571 16,286
29 BYD  China 510,950 510,950
30 AvtoVAZ  Russia 507,242 495,013 12,229

OICA[36] defines these entries as follows:

  • Passenger cars are motor vehicles with at least four wheels, used for the transport of passengers, and comprising no more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat.
  • Light commercial vehicles (LCV) are motor vehicles with at least four wheels, used for the carriage of goods. Mass given in tons (metric tons) is used as a limit between light commercial vehicles and heavy trucks. This limit depends on national and professional definitions and varies between 3.5 and 7 tons. Minibuses, derived from light commercial vehicles, are used for the transport of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat and having a maximum mass between 3.5 and 7 tons.
  • Heavy trucks (HCV) are vehicles intended for the carriage of goods. Maximum authorised mass is over the limit (ranging from 3.5 to 7 tons) of light commercial vehicles. They include tractor vehicles designed for towing semi-trailers.
  • Buses and coaches are used for the transport of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat, and having a maximum mass over the limit (ranging from 3.5 to 7 tones) of light commercial vehicles.

Company relationships[edit]

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]

Top vehicle manufacturing groups by volume[edit]

The table below shows the world's largest motor vehicle manufacturing groups, along with the marques produced by each one. The table is ranked by 2013 production figures from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA)[35] 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.[37][38]

Marque Country of origin Ownership Markets
1. Toyota Motor Corporation ( Japan)
Daihatsu Japan Subsidiary Europe, Asia (except South Korea), Africa, and South America
Hino Japan Subsidiary South East Asia, Japan, North America (except United States) and South America
Lexus Japan Business Unit South East Asia, Japan, Middle East, United States, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Panama, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India
Ranz China Business Unit China
Scion United States Division United States, Canada
Toyota Japan Division Global, except Iran
2. General Motors Company ( United States)
Buick United States Business Unit United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Israel
Cadillac United States Business Unit North America, Europe, Middle East, China, Japan, South Korea
Chevrolet United States Business Unit Global, except Australia, New Zealand
GMC United States Business Unit North America, Middle East (except Israel)
Holden Australia Subsidiary Australia, New Zealand
JieFang China Business Unit China
Opel Germany Business Unit Europe (except UK), North Africa, South Africa, Middle East, China, Singapore, Chile
Vauxhall United Kingdom Business Unit United Kingdom
UzDaewoo Uzbekistan Business Unit Central Asia, Russia
Wuling China Business Unit China
3. Volkswagen Group AG ( Germany)
Audi Germany Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Bentley United Kingdom Subsidiary Global
Bugatti France Subsidiary Global
Lamborghini Italy Subsidiary Global
Ducati Italy Subsidiary Global
MAN Germany Subsidiary Global, except North America and Australia
Porsche Germany Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Scania Sweden Subsidiary Global
SEAT Spain Subsidiary Europe, Central America, South America, Middle East and Northern Africa
Škoda Czech Republic Subsidiary Europe, Asia, Central America (including Dominican Republic), South America, Northern and western Africa, Australia, New Zealand
Volkswagen Germany Division Global
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Germany Subsidiary Europe, Central America, South America, Australia, China
VTB Germany Business Unit South America and South Africa
4. Hyundai Motor Group ( South Korea)
Hyundai South Korea Division Global
Kia South Korea Subsidiary Global, except Japan
5. Ford Motor Company ( United States)
Ford United States Division Global
Lincoln United States Business Unit United States, Canada, Mexico, Middle East, Japan, South Korea, China
Troller Brazil Subsidiary South America, Africa
6. Nissan ( Japan)
Datsun Japan Division Indonesia, India, Russia, South Africa
Infiniti Japan Subsidiary Global, except Japan, Korea, South America and Africa
Nissan Japan Division Global
Venucia China Business Unit China
7. FCA Group
Abarth Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Alfa Romeo Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran, China, Taiwan and the Philippines
Chrysler United States Division Global, except Europe (excluding UK and Ireland), Africa (excluding South Africa and Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia (excluding the Philippines)
Dodge United States Division Global, except Europe, Africa(excluding South Africa and Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia (excluding the Philippines)
Ferrari Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Fiat Italy Subsidiary Global, except Africa(excluding South Africa), Iran, South East Asia and Canada
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 and Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia (excluding the Philippines)
Lancia Italy Division Europe (excluding UK and Ireland)
Maserati Italy Subsidiary Global
Ram United States Division United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Middle East, Peru
SRT United States Business Unit Global, except Africa(excluding South Africa and Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia
Tofaş Turkey Joint Venture Europe
8. Honda Motor Company ( Japan)
Acura Japan Division United States, Canada, Mexico, China
Everus China Business Unit China
Honda Japan Division Global
9. Suzuki Motor Corporation ( Japan)
Suzuki Japan Division Global, except USA, Canada North Korea and South Korea
Maruti Suzuki India Subsidiary India, Middle East, South America
10. PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A. ( France)
Citroën France Subsidiary Europe, Central and South America, Northern and Western Africa, South Africa, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Asia (except India, Pakistan and Bangladesh)
Peugeot France Subsidiary Global, except USA, Canada, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "automotive industry". Encyclopaedia 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. ^ "U.S. Makes Ninety Percent of World's Automobiles". Popular Science 115 (5): 84. November 1929. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "2012 Production Statistics". OICA. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Aichner, T. and Coletti, P. 2013. Customers' online shopping preferences in mass customization. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 15(1): 20-35.
  6. ^ "ISO 26262-10:2012 Road vehicles -- Functional safety -- Part 10: Guideline on ISO 26262". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Functional Safety". SGS. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Product Recalls in the Automotive Industry" (Press release). SGS. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Automobile Industry Introduction". Plunkett Research. 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Developed countries having slowing automotive industry
  11. ^ Younger generations shifting to other modes of transport
  12. ^ Paul A. Eisenstein Building BRIC's: 4 Markets Could Soon Dominate the Auto World at
  13. ^ Bertel Schmitt (15 February 2011). "Auto industry sets new world record". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "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. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Trends in the automotive industry
  16. ^ U.S. DOT Table 1-23: World Motor Vehicle Production, Selected Countries
  17. ^ World motor vehicle production
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
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  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ Harvard University Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity
  35. ^ a b "World Motor Vehicle Production: World Ranking of Manufacturers Year 2013" (PDF). OICA. Retrieved 2014-11-23. 
  36. ^ "Definitions". OICA. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "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. 
  38. ^ "TTAC Announces World's Top Ten Automakers". The Truth About Cars. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 

External links[edit]