The automobile industry surged ahead worldwide in 2013 and 2014, with the notable exception of Europe, where a dull economy has been particularly hard on auto sales. Estimates of the global automobile market vary substantially from one source to another. Analysts at IHS Automotive estimated the global market at 82.8 million units for 2013, up about 4.2% from the previous year.
According to Plunkett Research estimates, U.S. car and light truck sales will total from 16.3 million to 16.7 million units for 2014 provided the economy does not slow significantly during the final quarter of the year. This would represent excellent growth from 15.6 million units sold in 2013, 14.5 million during 2012 and 13 million units during 2011.
The biggest upward trend in auto sales has been in China. While estimates of its annual unit sales vary widely, China has clearly become the world’s largest car market, topping 20 million units sold during 2013. China’s sales could grow to 22 to 24 million in 2014 and 30 million by 2020, depending on economic growth, the availability of credit and the regulatory environment. Meanwhile, China’s government has a great deal of control over the market, as, at any time, it may increase sales by encouraging new auto loans, or decrease sales by adding new registration fees or restricting traffic in major cities in order to reduce congestion and pollution.
One of the biggest winners by far in today’s highly competitive automobile market has been Korea, where Hyundai, along with its brand Kia, have enjoyed soaring global sales. Consumers are attracted to their reasonable prices, excellent warranties and world class manufacturing quality.
Approximate Global Car/Light Truck Sales by Top Manufacturers 2013, in millions
General Motors (GM) 9.72
*Fiscal year ending March 31, 2014
Video Introduction to Automobile Industry