Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle
Automobile Production, Selected Countries, 1950-2016 (in millions)
The second half of the 20th century has seen a major shift in car
production. In 1950, the United States accounted for more than 80% of
the global car production, which excludes commercial vehicle production.
However, this share declined to about 6.5% in 2012, reflecting a loss
of competitiveness of the American car manufacturing system. The United
States, even if it represents the largest car market in the world, has
been thoroughly motorized. This implies that the American market is mainly one
of replacement with acute competition between manufacturers for market
share. Roughly the same number of cars was produced in the United States
during the 1990s than during the 1950s.
In the 1960s, two major players
in the car industry emerged; Japan and Germany. By 1990, they
respectively accounted for 27.4% and 12.7% of the global car
production. However, like the United States, the market share of
Japan and Germany declined to 10.5% and 8.0% of the global car production in 2016.
This underlines that a growing
share of car manufacturing is taking place in newly industrialized
but the main consumption market still remains the developed world and
under the control of American, Japanese and German car manufacturers.
Car manufacturing in China has experienced a spectacular growth to
reach 33.9% of the global production in 2016. The financial crisis of 2008
had a substantial impact on global car production with
production in the United States, Japan and Germany plummeting.
However, production recovered afterwards, in part of latent
demand in some advanced economies (consumers often postpone the
purchase of a vehicle during a recession). Still, North America,
Western Europe and Japan are replacement markets, implying that
the majority of car sales are for people replacing their
existing car. Since 2005, China has been the most important
driver of the growth in global car production, accounting for
78% of the 26 million additional production. This is indicative
of a fast motorization of the economy and rapid