By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
The Worldwatch Institute released a report earlier this week in which they examined various aspects of the global automotive market from both a manufacturing and sales standpoint. Addressing anything on a world basis usually yields some big numbers, but they do provide perspective about how things are going.
First, the study noted that automotive production is up significantly everywhere and is expected to continue growing for some years. The biggest sales gains will be seen in the developing and emerging countries which don’t have a lot of cars right now. The study cited one example of the exponential growth that can occur as a nation embraces available vehicles—in 2000, China had roughly 10 million cars on the road; by 2011 it had more than 73 million.
The group’s statisticians estimate a world population of about 690 million passenger cars and, if you toss in light and heavy-duty trucks, a total vehicle count of roughly 980 million vehicles. If manufacturing and sales continue to be strong, they foresee the global fleet exceeding 1 billion vehicles within a year. That nets out to about one vehicle for every seven people on the planet.
They also note that “alternate fuel” vehicles, including hybrids, electrics, natural gas, and anything else that isn’t straight petrol or diesel, accounted for only about two percent of all new vehicles worldwide, and the percentage is only slightly higher in North America. Still, they note, the segment is growing by steps and they expect stiffer national rules on fuel mileage and emissions to drive this segment in the future. How far it gets driven remains to be seen.
The study also stated that although the United States has just one-quarter of the total population of the group of countries surveyed, we account for roughly 40% of the 6.18 trillion passenger-miles driven in those countries each year.
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