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Automotive Industry

The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's motor vehicles. In 2008, more than 70 million motor vehicles, including cars and commercial vehicles were produced worldwide.

In 2007, a total of 71.9 million new automobiles were sold worldwide: 22.9 million in Europe, 21.4 million in Asia-Pacific, 19.4 million in USA and Canada, 4.4 million in Latin America, 2.4 million in the Middle East and 1.4 million in Africa. The markets in North America and Japan were stagnant, while those in South America and other parts of Asia grew strongly. Of the major markets, China, Russia, Brazil and India saw the most rapid growth.

About 250 million vehicles are in use in the United States. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007; they burn over 260 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China. In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investments. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars. The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems.

In 2008, with rapidly rising oil prices, industries such as the automotive industry, are experiencing a combination of pricing pressures from raw material costs and changes in consumer buying habits. The industry is also facing increasing external competition from the public transport sector, as consumers re-evaluate their private vehicle usage. Roughly half of the US's fifty-one light vehicle plants are projected to permanently close in the coming years, with the loss of another 200,000 jobs in the sector, on top of the 560,000 jobs lost this decade. China became both the largest automobile producer and market in the world after experiencing massive growth in 2009.



Australia first began to produce cars in 1897 with cars made by Tarrant Motor & Engineering Co. The first major Australian carmaker was the Ford Motor Company of Australia, followed by Holden.


The Brazilian automotive industry produced almost 3million vehicles in 2007. Most of large global companies are present in Brazil; such as Fiat, Volkswagen Group, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, MAN SE, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Renault etc, and also the emerging national companies such as Troller, Marcopolo S.A., Agrale, Randon S.A. among others.

The Brazilian industry in regulated by the Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Veículos Automotores (Anfavea), created in 1956, which includes automakers (automobiles, light vehicles, trucks and buses) and agriculture machines with factories in Brazil. Anfavea is part of the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), based in Paris.


Canada is currently the 11th largest auto producer in the world (as per 2008 statistics), down from 7th a few years ago. Brazil and Spain recently surpassed Canadian production for the first time ever. Canada's highest ranking ever was 2nd largest producer in the world between 1918 and 1923. The Canadian auto industry traces its roots to the very beginning of the automobile. The first large-scale production of automobiles in Canada took place in Walkerville, near Windsor, Ontario in 1904. In the first year of operations, Gordon McGregor and Wallace Campbell, along with a handful of workmen produced 117 Model "C" Ford vehicles at the Walkerville Wagon Works factory.

Through marquees such as Brooks Steam, Redpath, Tudhope, McKay, Galt Gas-Electric, Gray-Dort, Brockville Atlas, C.C.M., and McLaughlin, Canada had many domestic auto brands. In 1918 McLaughlin was bought by an American firm, General Motors, and was re-branded as General Motors of Canada.
Driven by the demands of World War I, Canada's automotive industry had grown, by 1923, into the second-largest in the world, although it was still made up of relatively inefficient plants producing many models behind a high tariff wall. High consumer prices and production inefficiencies characterized the Canadian auto industry prior to the signing of the 1965 Automotive Products Trade Agreement with the United States.

The 1964 Automotive Products Trade Agreement or “Auto Pact” represents the single most important factor in making the Canadian automotive industry what it is today: a strong, successful industry that has a significant positive impact on the Canadian economy. Key features of the Auto Pact were the 1:1 production to sales ratio and Canadian Value Added requirements.

Magna International is Canada's biggest domestic firm in the sector, and is the world's third-largest auto parts firm, producing entire vehicles at its Magna Steyr plant in Austria.


China's automobile industry has been developing rapidly since the year 2000. In 2009, 13.83 million motor vehicles were manufactured in China, surpassing Japan as the largest automobile maker. Moreover, with total sales of 13.64 million, China became the largest automobile market in the world for the full year 2009, overtaking Unites States. The top nine car sellers for year 2009 are Volkswagen,General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan, BYD, Chery, Honda, Toyota and Geely.


Volkswagen assembly line, Wolfsburg, in 1973
The petrol engined automobile was invented in Germany by Karl Benz. Furthermore, the four-stroke internal combustion engine used in most automobiles worldwide today was invented by Nikolaus Otto in Germany. In addition, the diesel engine was also invented by German Rudolf Diesel.

Germany is famous for the high-performance and high-quality sports cars made by Porsche, and the cars of Mercedes, Audi and BMW are famous for their quality and technological innovation. Daimler-Benz's predecessor Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft was the industry's oldest firm, Daimler-Benz company dates from 1926. In 1998, it bought the American automobile manufacturer Chrysler, then sold out in 2007 at a heavy loss, as it never managed to bring the division to long term profitability.

In the popular market, Opel and Volkswagen are most well known. Opel was a bicycle company that started making cars in 1898; General Motors bought it out in 1929, but the Nazi government took control, and GM wrote off its entire investment. In 1948, GM returned and restored the Opel brand. Volkswagen is dominant in the popular market; it purchased Audi in 1964, which eventually lead to the formation of today's Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen's most famous car was the small, beetle-shaped economical "people's car", with a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine. It was designed in the 1930s by Ferdinand Porsche upon orders from Adolf Hitler, who was himself a car enthusiast. However, production models only appeared after the war; until then, only rich Germans had automobiles. By 1950, Volkswagen was the largest German automobile producer. Today, the Group is one of the three biggest automotive companies in the world, and the largest in Europe; and is now part-owned by Porsche Automobil Holding SE. In the meantime, ten different car manufacturers belong to the multicorporate enterprise: Porsche AG, Volkswagen, Audi AG, Bugatti Automobiles SAS, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., Bentley Motors Limited, Škoda Auto, SEAT, S.A., along with truck makers MAN AG and Scania AB.

Germany is famous for its upscale saloons. They feature advanced suspension systems that provide both a soft ride, and good handling characteristics. Many manufacturers limit their automobiles electronically to driving speeds of for safety reasons. For factory-tuned models like Mercedes-AMG from Mercedes Benz, Audi RS from quattro GmbH, and BMW M from BMW M GmbH, for an additional payment, it is possible to derestrict their top speed, so that the fastest models easily reach more than .


An embryonic automotive industry started in India in the 1940s. However, for the next 50 years, the growth of the industry was hobbled by the Socialist policies and the bureaucratic hurdles of the license raj. Following economic liberalisation in India from 1991, and the gradual easing of restrictions on industry, India has seen a dynamic 17% annual growth in automobile production and 30% annual growth in exports of automotive components and automobiles. India produces around 2 million automobiles currently. The Largest automotive companies in India are Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Total turnover of the Indian automobile industry is expected to grow from USD 34 Billion in 2006 to USD 122 Billion in 2016.
Tata Motors has just launched Tata Nano, the cheapest car in the world at USD 2200. Foreign auto companies with assembly plants in India include, General Motors, Ford, Hyundai, Honda, Suzuki, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, Audi, Škoda, BMW, Fiat and Mercedes Benz. Recently India has overtaken China in global auto exports of compact car this year . Suzuki Motor Corp, Hyundai Motor Co, and Nissan Motor Co are making India their manufacturing hub for small cars.


As of 2001, there were 13 public and privately owned automakers within Iran, of which two - Iran Khodro and Saipa - accounted for 94% of the total domestic production. Iran Khodro, which produced the most prevalent car brand in the country - the ''Paykan'', which has been replaced in 2005 by the ''Samand'' -, was still the largest with 61% of the market in 2001, while Saipa contributed 33% of Iran’s total production in the same year. The other car manufacturers, such as the Bahman Group, Kerman Motors, Kish Khodro, Raniran, Traktorsazi, Shahab Khodro, and others together produced only 6%. These automakers produce a wide range of automobiles including motorbikes, passenger cars such as Saipa's Miniator, vans, mini trucks, medium sized trucks, heavy duty trucks, minibuses, large size buses and other heavy automobiles used in commercial and private activities in the country. Iran ranked the world's 16th biggest automaker in 2006 and has a fleet of 7 million cars, which translates to almost one car per ten persons in the country (including pick-ups and buses). Automobile production crossed the 1 million mark in 2005 and Iran car exports are projected to reach $1 billion by March 2009.


The automotive industry in Italy began with the construction of the first FIAT plant (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli. In the following years at least 50 other manufacturers appeared, the best known being Isotta Fraschini in 1900, Lancia in 1906, Alfa Romeo in 1910, Maserati in 1914, Ferrari in 1939, and Lamborghini in 1963. During the first and the second World Wars and the economic crisis of the 70's, many of these brands disappeared or were bought by Fiat or foreign manufacturers. Today the Italian automotive industry boasts a wide range of products, from very compact city cars to sport supercars such as Ferrari and Maserati. As of June 2009 Fiat also holds roughly 20% stake in the American brand Chrysler.


Japan, with its large population squeezed into very high density cities with good public transit, has limited roadways that carry very heavy traffic. Hence, most automobiles are small in terms of size and weight. From a humble beginning, Japan is now the biggest auto manufacturing country in the world. Nissan began making trucks in 1914, and sold cars under the Datsun brand until it switched to Nissan in the 1980s. It opened its first U.S. plant in Tennessee in the early 1980s, and a U.K. plant in 1986. In the North American markets, its luxury models carry the brand Infiniti. Honda, which began with motorcycles, emerged after World War II. In the North American markets, its luxury vehicles are sold under the Acura brand. Toyota began making cars in the 1936s, and is now the world's largest producer. The Toyota Corolla is the world's best selling nameplate. Its luxury models carry the Lexus brand. Toyota is famous for its innovative, quality-conscious management style, and its hybrid gas-electric vehicles, especially the Prius, which was launched in 1997. Other major companies include Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Daihatsu, Suzuki, and Isuzu. Japan's production of cars increased from 3.179million to 7.038million between 1970 and 1980, while demand for larger American cars was disastrously falling. Japanese cars are often credited with superior reliability and dependability, efficiency, and advanced technology.


The Automobile industry has been an active and growing field in Pakistan for a long time, however not as much established to figure in the prominent list of the top automotive industries.
Surprisingly, despite its large size in terms of production volume, only a few car models are assembled in the country and customers have a very small variety of vehicles to choose from.The lack of competition in the auto industry due to the dominance of a few players, and restrictions on imports in the form of heavy duties have resulted in very high prices of Cars in the country.Currently some of the major world automakers have set up assembly plants or are in joint ventures with local companies these include Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Nissan. The total contribution of Auto industry to GDP in 2007 wass 2.8% which is likely to increase up to 5.6% in the next 5 years. Auto sector presently, contributes 16% to the manufacturing sector which is predicted to increase 25% in the next 7 years.

South Korea

Assembly line at Hyundai Motor Company car factory in Ulsan, South Korea.
The South Korean automobile industry is today the fifth largest in the world in terms of production volume and the sixth largest in terms of export volume. 50 years ago, its initial operations were merely the assembling of parts imported from Japan and the United States. The Hyundai Kia Automotive Group is today the second largest automaker in Asia, after Toyota. Annual domestic output exceeded one million units in 1988. In the 1990s, the industry manufactured numerous in-house models, demonstrating not only its capabilities, and signaling its coming of age thanks to the heavy investment to infrastructure in the country over the decades. The quality of their automobiles has improved dramatically in recent years, gaining international recognition.


In 2009 the automotive industry generated 3.5 percent of the country`s GDP and gave employment to about nine percent of the working population. Spain is on the eight place in car manufacturing countries, but 2008 and 2009 showed a decrease in car production. The downward spiral started about ten year ago, with an abandoning policy of many consecutive governments. The result has been the loss of all Spanish car brands manufacturers, which are now in hands of foreign companies.


The Thai-based automobile manufacturer is ThaiRung or well-known as TR, manufactured by [http://www.thairung.co.th/homeenglish.html Thai Rung Union Car Public Co. Ltd. (TRU)]. The company was established in 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand. Original name was Thai Rung Engineering Co. Ltd., and changed its name to Thai Rung Union Car Co. Ltd. in 1973. TRU was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 1994. TRU business is ranging from product design and development, automotive parts manufacturing, industrial equiptemnts manufacturing, car assembly lines and financial business.
Some discontinued TR vans powered by Land Rover engine in combination with Thai-developed body design and platform. Modern TR cars are built on small or medium trucks base into SUV or seven-seat multi-purpose vehicles using TR-owned technology, design, development and assembly skills. The current models are 2009 TR Adventure and TR Allroader.


The automotive industry in Turkey plays an important role in the manufacturing sector of the Turkish economy. The foundations of the industry was laid with the establishment of Otosan assembly factory in 1959 and the mass production of the domestic car Anadol in 1961. In 2008 Turkey produced 1,147,110 motor vehicles, ranking as the 6th largest producer in Europe and the 15th largest producer in the world. With a cluster of car-makers and parts suppliers, the Turkish automotive sector has become an integral part of the global network of production bases, exporting over $22,944,000,000 worth of motor vehicles and components in 2008. Global car manufacturers with production plants include Fiat/Tofaş, Oyak-Renault, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda and Ford/Otosan.

United Kingdom

Lotus Cars final assembly line
The British motor industry has always been export oriented. Today it employs over 800,000 people and produced about 1 million cars and 120,000 commercial vehicles last year, 75% of which are exported. The top five UK car producers are Nissan, Toyota, Honda, MINI and Land Rover. However, international competitiveness of UK cars has declined consistently since the 1990s and the country became unable to sustain production on par with Germany or France. Since 2000, motor vehicle production has fallen from 1,813,894. The country has been overtaken by fast industrialising economies such as Brazil, India and Mexico. The UK is the 13th largest automobile producer in the world.

United States

Crisis in the automotive industry

World motor vehicle production

By Country

By Manufacturer

Company relationships

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:
*Daimler AG holds a 20% stake in Eicher Motors, a 10.0% stake in KAMAZ, a 10% stake in Tesla Motors and a 6.75% stake in Tata Motors. They are in the process of selling back their 40% stake in McLaren Group. This process will be finalized in 2011.
*Dongfeng Motor Corporation is involved in joint ventures with several companies in China, including: Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Nissan Diesel, and PSA Peugeot Citroen.
*Fiat holds a 85% stake in Ferrari and a 20% stake in Chrysler, that can be increased to 35%; with the option of increasing its stake further.
*Ford Motor Company holds a 13.4% stake in Mazda and an 8.3% share in Aston Martin.
*Geely Automobile holds a 23% stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings.
*General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) have two joint ventures in Shanghai General Motors and SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile.
*General Motors and Toyota Motor Corporation have a joint venture in New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.
*Hyundai Kia Automotive Group holds a 38.67% stake in Kia Motors, down from the 51% that it acquired in 1998.
*MAN SE holds a 17.01% voting stake in Scania.
*Porsche Automobil Holding SE has a 50.74% stake in Volkswagen Group. Due to liquidity problems, Volkswagen Group is now in the process of acquiring Porsche.
*Renault-Nissan Motors have an alliance involving two global companies linked by cross-shareholding, with Renault holding 44.3% of Nissan shares, and Nissan holding 15% of (non-voting) Renault shares.
*Renault holds a 25% stake in AvtoVAZ and 20.5% of the voting stakes in Volvo Group.
*Toyota holds a 51% stake in Daihatsu, and 16.5% in Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Subaru.
*Volkswagen Group and FAW have a joint venture.
*Volkswagen Group and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) have a joint venture in Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive.
*Volkswagen Group holds a 37.73% stake in Scania (68.6% voting rights), and a 29% stake in MAN SE.
*Volkswagen Group has a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG. Volkswagen is in the process of acquiring Porsche, which will be completed in mid-2011.
*Volkswagen Group has a 19.9% stake in Suzuki, and Suzuki has a 5% stake in Volkswagen.

Top vehicle manufacturing groups (by volume)

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 2008 ''end of year'' production figures from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) for the parent group, and then alphabetically by marque.


* General Motors has sold Hummer to Sichuan Tengzhong and has sold Saab Automobile to Spyker Cars. In 2009 it has also shut down Pontiac and Saturn.

** Porsche Automobil Holding SE has a 50.7 percent share in the Volkswagen Group. However, Volkswagen Group will acquire Porsche AG, the automotive manufacturer under a new "Integrated Automotive Group". This merger/acquisition is expected to be fully completed in mid-2011.

*** Ford has sold Volvo to Geely Automobile.

Minor automotive manufacturers

There are many automobile manufacturers other than the major global companies. They are mostly regional or operating in niche markets.

Source: Wikipedia