Cars, Cars, Cars, Everywhere There’s cars! The Surprising Truth about who is Making them

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Cars, cars, everywhere there’s cars. How many cars are being produced each year and who is making them? The answers will likely surprise you. America views itself as a manufacturing giant, in spite of the economic downturn. Certainly when it comes to manufacturing vehicles, the U.S.A. will be at, or near, the top of the list.

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Let’s start with the number of cars being made.

The sheer number of automobiles being produced today is staggering. In 2012 for example, automakers produced over 60 million vehicles. That is 20 million more cars produced per year now, as opposed to just 15 years ago, a 33% increase. That is a significant increase over just a decade and a half.

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Imagine, almost 7,000 new cars being created every hour of every day, hour after hour, day after day, 7 days a week. It gives you some insight into the magnitude of the automotive industry worldwide and its effect on associated industries. Multiply the number of cars manufactured by four and you get the eye-popping number of tires that are made just to keep up with new production.

Who is making all of these cars? That’s where the story gets more interesting. For those in the United States, it also gets bit more concerning.

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The Top 10 Car Producing Countries in the World

Right now, China is producing about 1 in every 4 autos made globally each year. This, by far, makes them the number one automaker on the globe. Their rise has been meteoric, considering they ranked third in 2006. Their market share will likely continue to grow tremendously as there are only 40 vehicles for each one thousand people in China. Compare that to 700 per thousand in the West.

China is followed in new car production by Japan, who is a distant second. While China produces over 24% of the world’s cars, Japan produces about half of that at 12%. The United States MUST be next, right?

Not so fast. The third largest producer of vehicles is Germany, with slightly less than 10% of the market. The U.S. isn’t even fourth or fifth. Germany is followed by South Korea, who produces over 7% of the world’s cars, and India at fifth, making about 5% of them.

There in sixth place, producing less than 5% of the world’s automobiles is the United States. No wonder Detroit is having such well documented problems.

The U.S.A. is followed closely by Brazil, then rounding out the top 10 are France, Spain and Russia.

Although Italy produces some pretty impressive and well-known brand names including Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Fiat, they are well down the list at 24th. Italy produces less than a half-million cars per year. Perhaps it is a quality-quantity thing.

Of course, the above statistics just include new passenger vehicles. If you include all of the vehicles on the road across the world today, the number reaches above 1 billion.

That’s 4,000,000,000 tires. Who exactly is making all of those? Perhaps, that’s a subject for another time.


Written by MyImprov.

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  1. An eye opener.
    If the U.S. was protective of its market, like Japan and Korea, the story would be quite different.
    Viva free trade.

  2. Yes China might be producing 1 in every 4 cars built but how many of them are by Chinese producers? With sales of Chinese domestic brands accounting for around a quarter of car sales in China and exports still relatively low the answer is not many.

    Contrast that to the other countries. Japan is all done by Japanese manufactuers, as is Germany (if you treat Opel as European). Korea is a little more complicated thanks to GM’s take over of Daewoo and Mahindra’s ownership of Ssangyong.


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