In order to get a clear picture of the automotive industry, it helps to look at car manufacturer statistics.
Car Manufacturer Statistics Through the Years
There have been many changes in the car industry over the years, and these statistics provide insight into the history of the automobile industry, as well as current and future automotive trends.
Most experts believe that, although the car was invented in the last part of the 19th century, car manufacturing didn't really become an established industry until around 1900. This early period in automotive history was marked by rapid technological developments, including the assembly line.
- The high-wheeled buggy, an early car style that was popular before 1912, was produced by 75 different manufacturers.
- After the invention of the assembly line, Ford automobiles became incredibly popular. In 1918, more than 50% of the cars purchased were Ford Model Ts.
- The early years were good for companies in the automotive industry. In 1929, car manufacturers sold 5.3 million vehicles to consumers.
1930 - 1950
The Great Depression began with the stock market crash in the fall of 1929. The next ten years were very hard on the automotive industry, as well as the rest of the country. Since cars were still something of a luxury item at the time of the crash, many cash-strapped consumers simply poured money into fixing old models. This translated into steep sales declines for automakers. Many car companies contributed to the war effort in the 1940s, and by 1950, things were looking up again.
- In 1932, sales of new automobiles had fallen by nearly 75%. To varying extents, all car manufacturers were affected by this dramatic decline.
- Some experts estimate that 50% of car manufacturers were forced out of the business during the years of the Great Depression.
- In 1950, U.S. car manufacturers produced more than 80% of the world's new consumer vehicles.
1950 - 2000
The last half of the 20th century saw many high and low points for car manufacturers. Globalization dramatically changed the landscape of the industry. U.S. carmakers gradually lost worldwide market share during this time, as global competitors like Toyota and Honda entered the marketplace.
- U.S. car manufacturers produced about the same number of vehicles in 1990 that they did in 1950.
- In 1970, car manufacturers produced about 22.5 million personal vehicles worldwide.
- By 2000, total world production of personal automobiles stood at 41.1 million.
Current Car Manufacturer Trends
The first decade of the 21st century was a time of change for many car manufacturers. Global automotive sales increased dramatically and then fell off with the market crash of 2007 and 2008. Car makers devoted the next few years to recovery and to introducing hybrids and other alternative fuel technologies.
- In 2001, fewer than 380,000 vehicles were considered hybrids. By 2009, this market segment accounted for 200,000 units annually. Toyota was the leading manufacturer of hybrid cars.
- In 2007, General Motors was the leading car manufacturer with more than 9.3 million vehicles produced worldwide.
- In 2007, the best year for the automobile industry in recent history, car manufacturers produced more than 73.2 million vehicles worldwide.
- In 2009, Toyota was the leading car manufacturer and had worldwide vehicles sales of over 7.2 million units.
- In 2009, General Motors produced almost 6.5 million vehicles worldwide.