Automotive industry

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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 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 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]


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 autmobiles 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]


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]
2015 90,086,346 0.4% [33]
2016 94,976,569 4.5% [34]
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 or manufacture automobiles. Of that figure, only 13, boldfaced in the list below, possess the capability to design automobiles from the ground up.[36]

Top 20 motor vehicle producing countries 2016
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 in 2016[35]

Rank Group Country Vehicles
1 Toyota  Japan 10,213,486
2 Volkswagen Group  Germany 10,126,281
3 Hyundai / Kia  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

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]

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.[41][42]

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
Navistar International United States Subsidiary North America, South America, Russia, UK, Greece, Eastern Europe, India, Middle East, China, Singapore, South Korea
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, 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 / Kia ( 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 India, 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 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
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
Infiniti Japan Subsidiary Global, except Japan, 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)} And ( USA)}
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 (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 Subsidiary Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Egypt
Renault France Subsidiary Global
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
Peugeot France Division Global, except USA, Canada, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Car makes and parent companies[edit]

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

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

See also[edit]



  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. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 19 December 2010. 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. ^ "2015 Production Statistics". 
  34. ^ "2016 Production Statistics". 
  35. ^ a b OICA: World Motor Vehicle Production
  36. ^ 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. 
  37. ^ "China's Geely to Acquire Stake in Malaysian Carmaker Proton". 2017-05-23. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  38. ^ "Nissan to take 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors - BBC News". Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  39. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ "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. 
  42. ^ "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]