– Overview of Automotive Industry

The first gasoline engine automobile was built in 1885 and soon the total number of cars in the world will reach the 1000 million mark of cars and light trucks. This article presents a brief overview of what we mean by the automotive industry and how it started and what the scale of this industry is today.

The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets and sells motor vehicles, and is one of the world’s largest economic sectors in terms of revenue. The term automotive industry generally does not include industries dedicated to automobiles after delivery to the customer, such as repair shops and fuel service stations.

The first practical automobile with a gasoline engine was built by Karl Benz in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany. Benz obtained a patent for his automobile on January 29, 1886 and began the first production of automobiles in 1888, after Bertha Benz, his wife, proved herself with the first long-distance trip in August 1888 (104 km from Mannheim to Pforzheim and rear) that the horseless carriage was quite suitable for everyday use. Since 2008, a Bertha Benz Memorial Road commemorates this event.

Soon after, in 1889, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Stuttgart designed a vehicle from scratch to be an automobile, rather than a horse-drawn carriage fitted with a motor. They are also generally credited as the inventors of the first motorcycle, the Daimler Reitwagen, in 1885, but Italian Enrico Bernardi of the University of Padua in 1882 patented a 0.024 horsepower (17.9 W) 122 cc (7.4 cu in) one-cylinder gasoline engine, fitting it into his son’s tricycle, making it at least a candidate for the first automobile and the first motorcycle.

Until 2005, the United States led the world in total automobile production. In 1929, before the Great Depression, the world had 32,028,500 automobiles in circulation, and the American auto industry produced over 90% of them. At that time, the United States had one car for every 4.87 people. In 2006, Japan narrowly overtook the United States in terms of production and maintained this rank until 2009, when China took first place with 13.8 million units. Producing 18.3 million units in 2010, China produced almost twice as much as Japan (9.6 million units), with the United States in third place with 7.8 million units.

Worldwide, there were approximately 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007, consuming over 260 billion US gallons (980,000,000 m3) of gasoline and diesel fuel annually. The automobile is a primary mode of transportation for many developed countries. The Detroit branch of the Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2014, one-third of global demand will be in the four BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Other potentially strong auto markets are Iran and Indonesia. Emerging auto markets are already buying more cars than established markets. According to a JD Power study, emerging markets accounted for 51% of global light vehicle sales in 2010. The study expects this trend to accelerate.

India is home to a vibrant automobile of over 40 million vehicles. It is one of the few countries in the world to have seen growth in passenger car sales during the recession of the past two years. It is believed that this upward trend will continue for the foreseeable future due to a strong domestic market and an increased push in exports. The Indian economy has grown by an average of around 9% over the past five years and is expected to continue this growth over the medium term. This should lead to an increase in the percentage of the Indian population able to afford vehicles. India’s car-to-capita ratio (expressed in cars per 1,000 people) is currently among the lowest of the top 10 automotive markets in the world. The twin phenomena of low car penetration and rising incomes, combined with the increasing affordability of cars, are expected to contribute to an increase in automotive demand in India.