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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 Japanmarker were stagnant, while those in South America and other parts of Asia grew strongly. Of the major markets, Russiamarker, Brazilmarker, Indiamarker and Chinamarker 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 and India. 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. Combined with robust growth in China, in 2009, this resulted in China becoming the largest automobile market in the world.



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 3 million vehicles in 2007. Most of large global companies are present in Brazil; such as Fiatmarker, 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 9th largest auto producer in the world, 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 Austriamarker.


China's automobile industry has been developing rapidly since the year 2000. In 2008, 9.345 million motor vehicles were manufactured in China, surpassing the United States as the second largest automobile maker, after Japan. Moreover, due to the current financial crisis, China was the largest automobile market and manufacturer in the world for the first ten months of year 2009, with total sales of 10.891 million, and total production of 10.873 million vehicles. China probably will surpass United States and become the largest car market for the whole year of 2009. The top eight car sellers for the first nine months of 2009 are General Motors, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Chana, Nissan, Chery, BYD and Toyota.


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 todays' 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 SASmarker, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., Bentley Motors Limited, Škoda Auto, SEAT, S.A., along with truck makers MAN AG and Scania ABmarker.

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.Largest company in India is TATA 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. 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 a manufacturing hub of minicars.


The automotive industry in Italy began with the construction of the first FIATmarker 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, Maseratimarker in 1914, Ferrarimarker 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 1930s, 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 3.179 million to 7.038 million 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.

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 Japanmarker and the United Statesmarker. 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. Hyundai has been named the 2009 North American car of the year.


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. Spainmarker 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 Thai Rung Union Car Public Co. Ltd. (TRU). The company was established in 1967 in Bangkokmarker, Thailandmarker. 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.

United Kingdom

The British motor industry has always been export oriented. Today it employs about 850,000 people and produces about 1.5 million cars and 216,000 commercial vehicles per 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 fell from 1,813,894 to 1,750,253. 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 auto industry

World motor vehicle production

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:

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.
Marque Country of origin Ownership Markets
1. Toyota Motor Corporation ( )
Daihatsu Subsidiary Global, except North America and Australia
Hinomarker Subsidiary Asia Pacific, North America and South America
Lexus Division Global except India
Scion Division North America
Toyota Division Global
2. General Motors Company ( )
Buick Division North America, China, Israel, Taiwan
Cadillac Division Global, except South America, India, SE Asia, Australia
Chevrolet Division Global, except Australia
Daewoo Subsidiary South Korea
GMC Division North America, Middle East
Holden Subsidiary Australia, New Zealand
Hummer* Division Global, except South America, China, India
Opel Division Europe (except UK), Russia, South Africa, Mid East, China, India
Pontiac* Division North America
Saab* Subsidiary Global, except India, South America
Saturn* Subsidiary North America
Vauxhall Subsidiary United Kingdom
3. Porsche Automobil Holding SE** ( )
Audi Subsidiary Global
Bentley Subsidiary Global
Bugattimarker Subsidiary Global
Lamborghini Subsidiary Global
Porsche Subsidiary Global
Scaniamarker Subsidiary Global
SEAT Subsidiary Europe, South America, North Africa, Lebanon
Škoda Subsidiary Global, except North America and South Africa
Volkswagen Subsidiary Global
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Subsidiary Global
4. Ford Motor Company ( )
Ford Division Global
Lincoln Division North America, Middle East, South Korea
Mercury Division United States, Mexico, Middle East
Troller Subsidiary South America and Africa
Volvo*** Subsidiary Global
5. Honda Motor Company ( )
Acura Division North America, China, Russia
Honda Division Global
6. Nissan Motor Company ( )
Infiniti Division Global, except South America and Africa
Nissan Division Global
7. PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A. ( )
Citroën Subsidiary Global, except North America, India
Peugeot Subsidiary Global, except North America, India
8. Hyundai Motor Company ( )
Hyundai Division Global
9. Suzuki Motor Corporation ( )
Maruti Suzuki Subsidiary India, Middle East, South America
Suzuki Division Global
10. Fiat S.p.A.marker ( )
Abarth Subsidiary Global, except North America
Alfa Romeo Subsidiary Global
Ferrarimarker Subsidiary Global
Fiat Subsidiary Global, except North America
Fiat Professional Subsidiary Global, except North America
Irisbus Subsidiary Global, except North America
Iveco Subsidiary Global, except North America
Lancia Subsidiary Europe
Maseratimarker Subsidiary Global
11. Renault S.A. ( )
Dacia Subsidiary Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa
Renault Division Global, except North America, India
Renault Samsung Subsidiary Asia, South America
12. Daimler AG ( )
Freightliner Subsidiary North America, South Africa
Maybach Division Global
Mercedes-AMG Division Global
Mercedes-Benz Division Global
Mitsubishi Fuso Subsidiary Global
Orion Subsidiary North America
Setra Subsidiary Europe
Smart Division North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, South Africa
Thomas Built Subsidiary North America
Western Star Subsidiary North America
13. Chrysler Group LLC ( )
Chrysler Division Global
Dodge Division Global
GEM Division North America
Jeep Division Global
14. BMW AG ( )
BMW Division Global
MINI Division Global
Rolls-Royce Subsidiary Global
15. Kia Motors Corporation ( )
Kia Division Global
16. Mazda Motor Corporation ( )
Mazda Division Global
17. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation ( )
Mitsubishi Division Global
18. OAO AvtoVAZ ( )
Lada Division Russia, Europe, North Africa
VAZ Division Russia, Europe
19. Tata Motors Ltd ( )
Daimler Subsidiary United Kingdom
Hispano Subsidiary Europe
Jaguar Subsidiary Global
Land Rover Subsidiary Global
Tata Division India, South Africa
Tata Daewoo Subsidiary South Korea
20. First Automotive Group Corporation ( )
Besturn Division China
Freewind Subsidiary China
Haima Subsidiary China
Hongqi Division China
Jiaxing Subsidiary China
Vita Subsidiary China
Xiali Subsidiary China
21. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd ( )
Subaru Division Global
22. Isuzu Motors Ltd ( )
Isuzu Division Global, except North America
23. Chana Automobile Company Ltd ( )
Chana Division China, South Africa
24. Dongfeng Motor Corporation ( )
Dongfeng Division China
25. Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation, Ltd ( )
BAW Division China
Foton Subsidiary China
26. Chery Automobile Company Ltd ( )
Chery Division China, Africa, Southeast Asia, Russia
27. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation ( )
MG Subsidiary United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina
Roewe Division China
Soyat Division China
SsangYong Subsidiary South Korea, South Africa, Europe, Australia
Yuejin Division China
28. AB Volvo ( )
Mack Subsidiary Global
Nissan Diesel Subsidiary Global
NovaBus Subsidiary North America
Prevost Subsidiary North America
Renault Subsidiary Global
Volvo Division Global
29. Brilliance China Automotive Holding Ltd ( )
Brilliance Division China, North Africa
Jinbei Subsidiary China
30. Harbin Hafei Automobile Industry Group Ltd ( )
Hafei Division China
31. Geely Automobile ( )
Geely Division China, Russia, North Africa
Maple Division China
32. Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Company Ltd ( )
JAC Division China
33. BYD Auto ( )
BYD Division China, Russia
34. GAZ Groupmarker ( )
GAZmarker Division Russia
KAvZ Subsidiary Russia
LiAZ Subsidiary Russia
Ural Subsidiary Russia
35. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd ( )
Mahindra Division India, South East Asia, Europe, North Africa
36. Proton Holdings Bhd ( )
Proton Division Asia, Australia, South Africa, UK
Lotus Subsidiary Global
37. Great Wall Motor Company Ltd ( )
Great Wall Division China, South Africa, Russia, North Africa
38. Paccar Inc ( )
DAF Subsidiary Global, except North America
Kenworth Division North America
Leyland Subsidiary Europe
Peterbilt Division North America
39. Chongqing Lifan Automobile Company Ltd ( )
Lifan Division China
40. MAN SE ( )
MAN Division Europe
Neoplan Division Europe and Middle East
Volkswagen Division South America
41. Jiangxi Changhe Automobile Ltd ( )
Changhe Division China
42. China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Company Ltd ( )
Sinotruk Division China
43. LuAZ ( )
LuAZ Subsidiary Ukraine
44. Navistar International Corporation ( )
IC Subsidiary North America
International Division North America
45. Shaanxi Automobile Group Company Ltd ( )
Shaanxi Division China
46. UAZ OJSC ( )
UAZ Subsidiary Russia
47. Ashok Leyland ( )
Ashok Leyland Division India
48. Kuozui Motors Ltd ( )
Kuozui Subsidiary Taiwan


* [[General Motors]] has sold [[Hummer]] to [[Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company|Sichuan Tengzhong]]; is in the process of selling [[Saab]]; and is in the process of eliminating [[Pontiac]] and [[Saturn Corporation|Saturn]].{{Citation needed|date=November 2009}} ** [[Porsche|Porsche Automobil Holding SE]] has a 50.8 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.{{cite press release|title=Porsche Supervisory Board agrees on the contracts of implementation|url=|publisher=Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart|date=20 November 2009|accessdate=22 November 2009}}{{cite press release|url=|title=Volkswagen Supervisory Board approves Comprehensive Agreement for an Integrated Automotive Group with Porsche|publisher=[[Volkswagen AG|Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft]]|date=13 August 2009|accessdate=22 November 2009}} *** Ford is in the process of selling 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.

See also


  1. "2008 Global Market Data Book", Automotive News, p.5
  2. Plunkett Research, "Automobile Industry Introduction" (2008)
  3. IBISWorld Newsletter, June 2008, GLOBAL TRENDS Oil – The Crude Reality of Current trends, IBISWorld
  5. Terry Shuler, Volkswagen: Then, Now and Forever(1997)
  6. Fuss M A and Waverman L Costs and productivity in automobile production: the challenge of Japanese efficiency Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0521341418, 780521341417. P.225
  7. [1] Kia Investor Relations

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