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The Agurban

#623 – World Automotive Sales Setting New Records

Feb 21, 2017


Last week we shared 3 Trends That Will Drive the Automotive Industry in 2017 and Beyond. This week we are sharing a piece, in part, from NewGeography that looks at the record sales of automobiles throughout the world.

World Automotive Sales Setting New Records

The world has come a long way since 1929, when 80 percent of the world’s car registrations were in the United States, which also manufactured 90 percent of the vehicles. Now China produces the most cars and its annual sales rank top in the world. China overtook the United States in vehicle sales during the Great Recession. But it’s not like Americans are no longer buying cars; the US broke its own record last year. In 2016, sales records were also set in nations as diverse as China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Mexico.

China has emerged as the world’s largest automotive market. In 2016, China’s sales of passenger cars, light trucks (including sport utility vehicles, or SUVs) and commercial vehicles reached 23.9 million. This is 6.5 million more cars than were sold in the United States. This gap is likely to grow, because China’s large population offers greater opportunity for growth. The United States has about eight times as many vehicles per 1,000 population as China. The US leads in total vehicles with 260 million compared to China’s 140 million.

China’s infrastructure is well prepared for its record breaking sales. China leads the world in its length of motorways (freeways or controlled access expressways), with 123,500 kilometers (76,700 miles) as of the end of 2015. This compares to the latest available US total of 104,500 (64,900 miles) in 2014.

A record 17.6 million light vehicles were sold in the second largest market, the United States, which broke last year’s record of record of 17.4 million. Light duty truck sales captured nearly 60 percent of the market, with an annual increase of 7.2 percent. This included SUV’s, (and “crossovers”) with 38 percent of the market and a 7.4 percent increase. Passenger cars continued their decline by 8.1 percent, to 40 percent of the market.

World motorization continues to grow strongly. The cars are cleaner, safer and will continue to get more environmentally friendly. The mobility they have facilitated has made an important contribution to the continuing improvements in the quality of life and will continue to do so, despite efforts of governments and planners to discourage their use.

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