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

The word automotive comes from the Greek autos (self), and Latin motivus (of motion), referring to any form of self-powered vehicle.[clarification needed] 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 1945, 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 of 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 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.


In 2007, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road, 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 predicted that, by 2014, one-third of world demand would be in the four BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Meanwhile, in the developed countries, the automotive industry has slowed.[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 automobile 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 production[edit]

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: South 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%.

2018: India overtakes Germany to become 4th largest automobile producer.
World motor production (1997-2016)

By year[edit]

Year Production Change Source
1997 54,434,000 [17]
1998 52,987,000 Decrease 2.7% [17]
1999 56,258,892 Increase 6.2% [18]
2000 58,374,162 Increase 3.8% [19]
2001 56,304,925 Decrease 3.5% [20]
2002 58,994,318 Increase 4.8% [21]
2003 60,663,225 Increase 2.8% [22]
2004 64,496,220 Increase 6.3% [23]
2005 66,482,439 Increase 3.1% [24]
2006 69,222,975 Increase 4.1% [25]
2007 73,266,061 Increase 5.8% [26]
2008 70,520,493 Decrease 3.7% [27]
2009 61,791,868 Decrease 12.4% [28]
2010 77,857,705 Increase 26.0% [29]
2011 79,989,155 Increase 3.1% [30]
2012 84,141,209 Increase 5.3% [31]
2013 87,300,115 Increase 3.7% [32]
2014 89,747,430 Increase 2.6% [33]
2015 90,086,346 Increase 0.4% [34]
2016 94,976,569 Increase 4.5% [35]
2017 97,302,534 Increase 2.36% [36]
2018 95,634,593 Decrease 1.71% [37]
2019 91,786,861 Decrease 5.2% [38]
Car exports by country (2014) from [ Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity
Global automobile import and export in 2011

By country[edit]

The OICA counts over 50 countries which assemble, manufacture or disseminate automobiles. Of that figure, only 14 countries (boldfaced in the list below) currently possess the capability to design original production automobiles from the ground up.[40][41]

Top 20 motor vehicle producing countries (2018)
Country Motor vehicle production (units)
United States
South Korea
United Kingdom
Czech Republic

"Production Statistics". OICA.

By manufacturer[edit]

This is a list of the 15 largest manufacturers by production volume in 2017, according to OICA.[39]

Rank Group Country Vehicles
1 Toyota  Japan 10,466,051
2 Volkswagen Group  Germany 10,382,334
3 Hyundai  South Korea 7,218,391
4 General Motors  United States 6,856,880
5 Ford  United States 6,386,818
6 Nissan  Japan 5,769,277
7 Honda  Japan 5,236,842
8 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles  Italy
 United States
9 Renault  France 4,153,589
10 Groupe PSA  France 3,649,742
11 Suzuki  Japan 3,302,336
12 SAIC  China 2,866,913
13 Daimler  Germany 2,549,142
14 BMW  Germany 2,505,741
15 Geely  China 1,950,382

By market segment[edit]

Notable company relationships[edit]

Stake holding[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]

Joint ventures[edit]

China joint venture[edit]

Outside China[edit]

Top vehicle manufacturing groups by volume[edit]

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.[52][53]

Marque Country of origin Ownership Markets
1. Toyota (Japan)
Daihatsu Japan Subsidiary Japan, Indonesia
Hino Japan Subsidiary Southeast Asia, Japan, Americas
Lexus Japan Business unit Global
Perodua Malaysia Subsidiary Malaysia
Toyota Japan Division Global
2. Volkswagen AG (Germany)
Audi Germany Subsidiary Global
Bentley United Kingdom Subsidiary Global
Bugatti France Subsidiary Global
Ducati Italy Subsidiary Global
Jetta China Subsidiary China
Lamborghini Italy Subsidiary Global
MAN Germany Subsidiary Global (except North America)
Porsche Germany Subsidiary Global
Scania Sweden Subsidiary Global (except North America)
SEAT Spain Subsidiary Europe, China, Singapore, Mexico, Latin America, Middle East, Northern Africa, New Zealand
Škoda Czech Republic Subsidiary Europe, China, India, Australasia, Latin America, Northern Africa, Western Africa, Australasia
Sol China Subsidiary China
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 Global
Hyundai South Korea Division Global
Kia South Korea Subsidiary Global
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
GMC United States Business unit North America, Middle East
Holden Australia Subsidiary Australia, New Zealand
Jiefang China Business unit China


(Baojun, Wuling)

China Business unit China, Indonesia
GM Uzbekistan 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
Nissan Japan Division Global
7. Honda (Japan)
Acura Japan Division North America and China
Honda Japan Division Global
8. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Italy)/(USA)
Abarth Italy Subsidiary Global
Alfa Romeo Italy Subsidiary Global
Chrysler United States Division North America
Dodge United States Division North America
Fiat Italy Subsidiary Global
Fiat Professional Italy /United States Business unit Global (except North America)
Jeep United States Division Global
Lancia Italy Division Europe (except United Kingdom, Ireland)
Maserati Italy Subsidiary Global
RAM United States Division Americas and Australasia
9. Renault (France)
Alpine France Subsidiary Europe, Japan and Australasia
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 North America)
Renault Samsung Motors South Korea Subsidiary South Korea
10. Groupe PSA (France)
Citroën France Division Global (except North America)
DS France Division Europe and China
Peugeot France Division Global (except North America)
Opel Germany Subsidiary Europe (except United Kingdom), North Africa, South Africa, Middle East, Singapore, Japan, Chile
Vauxhall United Kingdom Subsidiary United Kingdom

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Automotive industry at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  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 16 October 2018.
  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. doi:10.1057/dddmp.2013.34. S2CID 167801827.
  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 4 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  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 In 2010. Will Do It Again In 2011". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  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. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Arno A. Evers FAIR-PR". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  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. ^ "2017 Production Statistics".
  37. ^ "2018 Production Statistics".
  38. ^ "2019 Production Statistics".
  39. ^ a b OICA: World Ranking of Manufacturers
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^
  42. ^ : [1] Archived 17 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ Sun, Edward Taylor, Yilei (23 July 2019). "China's BAIC buys 5% Daimler stake to cement alliance". Reuters. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  44. ^ "China's Geely to Acquire Stake in Malaysian Carmaker Proton". 23 May 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  45. ^ "Mercedes and Geely joint ownership of Smart". Auto Express. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  46. ^ "Nissan to take 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors - BBC News". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  47. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 June 2017. Cite uses generic title (help)
  48. ^ Toyota buys stake in Mazda, joint US factory, EV development planned | CarAdvice
  49. ^ "Toyota pulls Suzuki firmly into its orbit through stake deal". Reuters. 28 August 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  50. ^ "Corporate Introduction". Chery Jaguar Land Rover. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  51. ^ "Mercedes-Benz and Geely Holding have formally established its global joint venture "smart Automobile Co., Ltd." for the smart brand". marsMediaSite. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  52. ^ "GM Slips to Number Two Worldwide, Ford to Fourth". The Truth About Cars. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  53. ^ "TTAC Announces World's Top Ten Automakers". The Truth About Cars. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.

External links[edit]