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, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles,[1] some of them are called automakers. 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, is considered as one of the best practice framework for achieving automotive functional safety.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] Other potentially powerful automotive markets are Iran and Indonesia.[10] 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.[11][12] However, more recent reports (2012) confirmed the opposite; namely that the automotive industry was slowing down even in BRIC countries.[8] In the United States, vehicle sales peaked in 2000, at 17.8 million units.[13]

World motor vehicle production[edit]

World Motor Vehicle Production[14]
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.[15]

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 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   [16]
1998 52,987,000 -2.7% [16]
1999 56,258,892 6.2% [17]
2000 58,374,162 3.8% [18]
2001 56,304,925 -3.5% [19]
2002 58,994,318 4.8% [20]
2003 60,663,225 2.8% [21]
2004 64,496,220 6.3% [22]
2005 66,482,439 3.1% [23]
2006 69,222,975 4.1% [24]
2007 73,266,061 5.8% [25]
2008 70,520,493 -3.7% [26]
2009 61,791,868 -12.4% [27]
2010 77,857,705 26.0% [28]
2011 79,989,155 3.1% [29]
2012 84,141,209 5.3% [30]
2013 87,300,115 3.7% [31]
2014 89,747,430 2.6% [32]

Global imports and exports of cars.png
Car Exports by Country (2014) from Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity

By country[edit]

Top 20 motor vehicle producing countries 2015
Country Motor vehicle production (units)
 United States
 South Korea
 United Kingdom
 Czech Republic

"Production Statistics". OICA. 

By manufacturer[edit]

Rank of manufacturers by production in 2013[33]

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 General Motors  United States 9,628,912 6,733,192 2,890,958 4,762
3 Volkswagen  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  Italy 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 Groupe 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  Germany 1,781,507 1,631,502 150,005
15 Mazda  Japan 1,264,173 1,175,443 88,730
16 Dongfeng  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 (Subaru)  Japan 808,919 808,919
23 Brilliance  China 782,904 479,335 264,210 39,359
24 FAW  China 717,883 448,290 61,822 203,895 3,876
25 Mahindra & Mahindra  India 584,534 407,563 173,398 2,2337 1,236
26 Great Wall  China 557,564 430,423 127,141
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[34] 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)[33] 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.[36][37]

Marque Country of origin Ownership Markets
1. Toyota Motor Corporation ( Japan)
Daihatsu Japan Subsidiary Europe, Asia (except South Korea), 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
Ranz China Business Unit China
Toyota Japan Division Global, except Iran
2. General Motors Company ( United States)
Buick United States Business Unit North America, 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 United Kingdom), 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
MAN Germany Subsidiary Global, except North America, Australia
Porsche Germany Subsidiary Global, except Iran
SEAT Spain Subsidiary Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, Middle East, Northern Africa
Škoda Czech Republic Subsidiary Europe, Asia, Central America, South America, Dominican Republic, Northern Africa, Western Africa, Australia, New Zealand
Volkswagen Germany Division Global
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Germany Subsidiary Europe, Central America, South America, Australia, China
VTB Brazil Business Unit Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa
4. Hyundai Motor Group ( South Korea)
Genesis South Korea Business Unit South Korea, China, United States, Canada, Middle East
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 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
Infiniti Japan Subsidiary Global, except Japan, South America (excluding Chile), Africa (excluding South Africa)
Nissan Japan Division Global
Venucia China Business Unit China
7. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ( Italy /  United States)
Abarth Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran
Alfa Romeo Italy Subsidiary Global, except Iran, China, Taiwan, the Philippines
Chrysler United States Division Global, except Europe (excluding United Kingdom, Ireland), Africa (excluding South Africa, Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia
Dodge United States Division Global, except Europe, Africa (excluding South Africa, Egypt), South Asia, South East Asia
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, South East Asia
Lancia Italy Division Europe (excluding United Kingdom, Ireland)
Maserati Italy Subsidiary Global
Ram United States Division North America, Brazil, Middle East, Peru
8. Honda Motor Company ( Japan)
Acura Japan Division North America, China
Everus China Business Unit China
Honda Japan Division Global
9. Suzuki Motor Corporation ( Japan)
Suzuki Japan Division Global, except United States, Canada, North Korea, South Korea
Maruti Suzuki India Subsidiary India, Middle East, South America
10. PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A. ( France)
Citroën France Subsidiary Global,except North America, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh
Peugeot France Subsidiary Global, except United States, Canada, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh
DS Automobiles France Subsidiary Global, except North America, South Asia (excluding Malaysia)

Car makes and their parent companies[edit]

The table below lists most car makes and their parent companies.

Parent (Owner) Make Make Country Parent Country
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Abarth  Italy  Italy/ United States
Honda Acura  Japan  Japan
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Alfa Romeo  Italy  Italy/ United States
General Motors Alpheon  South Korea  United States
Renault Alpine  France  France
Aston Martin Aston Martin  United Kingdom  United Kingdom
Volkswagen Group Audi  Germany  Germany
SAIC-GM-Wuling Baojun  China  China/ United States
Volkswagen Group Bentley  United Kingdom  Germany
BMW BMW  Germany  Germany
Brilliance Brilliance  China  China
Volkswagen Group Bugatti  France  Germany
General Motors Buick  United States  United States
BYD BYD  China  China
General Motors Cadillac  United States  United States
Caterham Caterham  United Kingdom  United Kingdom
Chang'an Chang'an  China  China
General Motors Chevrolet  United States  United States
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chrysler  United States  Italy/ United States
PSA Peugeot Citroën Citroën  France  France
Renault Dacia  Romania  France
Toyota Daihatsu  Japan  Japan
Nissan Datsun  Japan  Japan
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Dodge  United States  Italy/ United States
Dongfeng Dongfeng  China  China
PSA Peugeot Citroën DS  France  France
Dongfeng Fengshen  China  China
Ferrari s.P.a Ferrari  Italy  Italy/ United States
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Fiat  Italy  Italy/ United States
Wanxiang Fisker  United States  China
Ford Ford  United States  United States
Geely Geely  China  China
Hyundai Motor Group Genesis  South Korea  South Korea
General Motors GMC  United States  United States
Toyota Hino Motors  Japan  Japan
General Motors Holden (HSV)  Australia  United States
Honda Honda  Japan  Japan
Hyundai Motor Group Hyundai  South Korea  South Korea
Nissan Infiniti  Japan  Japan
Isuzu Motors Isuzu  Japan  Japan
Tata Motors Jaguar  United Kingdom  India
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Jeep  United States  Italy/ United States
FAW Jie Fang / FAW-GM Jie Fang  China  China/ United States
Kantanka Group Conglomerate Kantanka  Ghana  Ghana
Koenigsegg Koenigsegg  Sweden  Sweden
Hyundai Motor Group Kia  South Korea  South Korea
AvtoVAZ Lada  Russia  Russia
Volkswagen Group Lamborghini  Italy  Germany
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Lancia  Italy  Italy/ United States
Tata Motors Land Rover  United Kingdom  India
Toyota Lexus  Japan  Japan
Ford Lincoln  United States  United States
PROTON Lotus  United Kingdom  Malaysia
Geely LTI  United Kingdom  China
Yulon Motor Luxgen  Taiwan  Taiwan
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Maserati  Italy  Italy/ United States
Mastretta Mastretta  Mexico  Mexico
Daimler AG Maybach  Germany  Germany
Mazda Mazda  Japan  Japan
McLaren Automotive McLaren  United Kingdom  United Kingdom
Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz  Germany  Germany
SAIC Motor MG  United Kingdom  China
BMW Mini  United Kingdom  Germany
Nissan / Mitsubishi Group Mitsubishi  Japan  Japan
Morgan Motor Company Morgan  United Kingdom  United Kingdom
Nissan Nissan  Japan  Japan
Peter Dyson Noble  United Kingdom  United Kingdom
General Motors Opel  Germany  United States
Pagani Automobili Pagani  Italy  Italy
Perodua Perodua  Malaysia  Malaysia
PSA Peugeot Citroën Peugeot  France  France
Volkswagen Group Porsche  Germany  Germany
Proton Holdings PROTON  Malaysia  Malaysia
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Ram  United States  Italy/ United States
Renault Renault  France  France
SAIC Motor Roewe  China  China
BMW Rolls Royce  United Kingdom  Germany
Saleen Saleen  United States  United States
Iran Khodro (IKCO) Samand  Iran  Iran
Renault Renault Samsung Motors  South Korea  France
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) Saab  Sweden  Sweden
Toyota Scion  Japan  Japan
Volkswagen Group SEAT  Spain  Germany
BAIC Motor Senova  China  China
Volkswagen Group Škoda  Czech Republic  Germany
Daimler AG Smart  Germany  Germany
Mahindra & Mahindra SsangYong  South Korea  India
Fuji Heavy Industries Subaru  Japan  Japan
Suzuki Suzuki  Japan  Japan
Tata Motors Tata  India  India
Tesla Tesla  United States  United States
Saipa Tiba/Miniator  Iran  Iran
Toyota Toyota  Japan  Japan
General Motors Vauxhall  United Kingdom  United States
Dongfeng-Nissan Venucia  China  China/ Japan
Volkswagen Group Volkswagen  Germany  Germany
Geely Volvo Cars  Sweden  China
Vuhl Vuhl  Mexico  Mexico
SAIC-GM-Wuling Wuling  China  China/ United States

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.; 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. ^ "Automobile Industry Introduction". Plunkett Research. 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Khor, Martin. "Developing economies slowing down". Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ Eisenstein, Paul A. "Building BRIC's: 4 Markets Could Soon Dominate the Auto World". 
  11. ^ Bertel Schmitt (15 February 2011). "Auto industry sets new world record". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "U.S. vehicle sales peaked in 2000". 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  14. ^ "Table 1-23: World Motor Vehicle Production, Selected Countries (Thousands of vehicles) | Bureau of Transportation Statistics". Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  15. ^ "Arno A. Evers FAIR-PR". Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  16. ^ a b "1998 - 1997 WORLD MOTOR VEHICLE PRODUCTION BY TYPE AND ECONOMIC AREA" (pdf). Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "1999 Production Statistics". 
  18. ^ "2000 Production Statistics". 
  19. ^ "2001 Production Statistics". 
  20. ^ "2002 Production Statistics". 
  21. ^ "2003 Production Statistics". 
  22. ^ "2004 Production Statistics". 
  23. ^ "2005 Production Statistics". 
  24. ^ "2006 Production Statistics". 
  25. ^ "2007 Production Statistics". 
  26. ^ "2008 Production Statistics". 
  27. ^ "2009 Production Statistics". 
  28. ^ "2010 Production Statistics". 
  29. ^ "2011 Production Statistics". 
  30. ^ "2012 Production Statistics". 
  31. ^ "2013 Production Statistics". 
  32. ^ "2014 Production Statistics". 
  33. ^ a b "World Motor Vehicle Production: World Ranking of Manufacturers Year 2013" (PDF). OICA. Retrieved 2014-11-23. [permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "Definitions" (PDF). OICA. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  35. ^ "Nissan to take 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ "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]