Automotive industry

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Development of the worldwide annual automobile production from 9500 pieces in 1900 to almost 100 million today, ten thousand times that; the world war years are black, years of global economic crises are colored green, 2014 and 2015 are estimated. (→ table ). Please note: logarithmic representation!

The automotive industry is an industry dedicated to the mass production of automobiles ( automobile manufacturing ) and other motor vehicles . It was created after Carl Benz invented the automobile in 1885 towards the end of the 19th century.

After the turn of the century , the assembly line production of motor vehicles developed by Ransom Eli Olds and above all by Henry Ford experienced a significant boom , which overall, albeit weakening, continues to this day - interrupted mainly by the two world wars and the global economic crisis of the 1930s and to a lesser extent the oil crises of the 1970s and the 2007 financial crisis .

In 1950, more than 10 million vehicles were produced for the first time, more than a thousand times that of 1900. Since then, the automobile industry has been one of the most important branches of industry in many industrialized countries such as the United States , Japan , Germany and South Korea -Million limit expected.

In the European Union (EU-25), the automotive industry achieved sales of 643.55 billion euros in 2001 , of which 264.525 billion euros or 41.1% in Germany alone. To do this, it employed around 2,168,400 people, including 863,201 or 39.8% in Germany.

History and meaning

Hardly any other industrial mass product changed the everyday life of mankind more than the automobile. Since its invention, there have been more than 2,500 companies that have manufactured automobiles. Many of them, who produced iron goods or steel in the 19th century , began producing weapons or bicycles in the middle of the century , thereby developing the knowledge that was needed decades later in automobile construction.

Not all of them developed into large mass producers and many sooner or later disappeared from the market . Nevertheless, automobile manufacturers were and still are founded today. These take place in a wide variety of market segments, but usually with the aim of comparatively low quantities for a market niche , for example special vehicles, exclusive sports cars or light electric vehicles . Their production method is usually the manufacture , so that they do not belong to the automotive industry in the narrower sense (mass production).

The mass manufacturers soon after they had developed into mergers and takeovers . A well-known example is the sale of Adam Opel AG by the owners to General Motors in 1929. As recently as 1928, Opel was the largest vehicle manufacturer in the German Reich with 44 percent of all vehicles produced. In this and other ways, despite the fundamentally sustained growth in the automotive industry, there has been a strong market adjustment and company concentration over time , so that today a manageable number of manufacturers dominate the world market.

With the growth and, at the same time, the decreasing share of the manufacturers' own added value, an important supplier industry also developed .

Despite the numerous mergers, company closures or liquidations , many brands were retained in the automotive industry, for example that of Opel. Today, Volkswagen AG alone houses more than ten brands of formerly independent companies under its roof.


In the production of electric cars , the barriers to entry into the automotive industry are significantly lower than for vehicles with internal combustion engines. In 2016, for example, around 200 electrical startups were founded, particularly in China. In contrast to the Chinese lead market for electric cars, the infrastructure for manufacturing battery cells and the network of charging stations were still in their infancy in Europe in 2020 . According to a study by McKinsey from 2020 , Asian automakers offered their cars twice as good a price-range ratio as their international competition. At the same time, one of the largest German car manufacturers began to cooperate with a Chinese battery manufacturer and supplier instead of its own battery cell production .

Major brands

Brands of pure commercial vehicle manufacturers

There is a wide variety of commercial vehicle manufacturers who do not produce passenger cars. Some important ones are:

Statistics worldwide

World's largest automaker by number of units and sales

All companies with a production of more than one million vehicles are listed. At the same time, the sales of the most productive automotive groups in 2008, 2012 and 2013 were listed, which in some cases lead to significantly different orders.

rank Companies country Number of pieces
of which

2008 sales
(billion $)
(billion €)
(billion €)
(billion €)
1. Toyota Logo silver.svg Toyota Motor Corporation JapanJapan Japan 10,475,338 8,788,018 204,800 151,443 172.367 210
2. VWAG-Logo.svg Volkswagen AG GermanyGermany Germany 9,894,891 9,766,293 167,900 192.676 197.007 230.7
3. Logo of General Motors.svg General Motors Company United StatesUnited States United States 9,609,326 6,643,030 149,000 110.561 112.863 118
4th Hyundai Motor Group CI.svg Hyundai Motor Group Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 8,008,987 7,628,779 40,100 52.641 54.410 74
5. Ford.svg Ford Motor Company United StatesUnited States United States 5,969,541 3,230,842 146,300 96.984 106.684 127.5
6th Nissan Logo.svg Nissan Motor Company JapanJapan Japan 5,097,772 4,279,030 88,700 65.369 70.115 90
7th Fiat Chrysler Automobiles logo.svg Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ItalyItaly Italy 4,865,758 1,904,618 53,100 35,566 35,593 110.9
8th. Honda-logo.svg Honda Motor Company JapanJapan Japan 4,513,769 4,478,123 94.240 65.868 79.543 106
9. Suzuki logo 2.svg Suzuki Motor Corporation JapanJapan Japan 3,016,710 2,543,077 k. A. 17,520 19,553 k. A.
10. Groupe PSA logo.svg Groupe PSA FranceFrance France 2,917,046 2,521,833 56,300 55,446 54.090 k. A.
11. Renault 2009 logo.svg Groupe Renault FranceFrance France 2,761,969 2,398,555 44,500 41.270 40.932 k. A.
12. BMW.svg BMW Group GermanyGermany Germany 2,165,566 2,165,566 46,700 76.848 76.058 98.7
13. SAIC Motor logo.png Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 2,087,949 1,769,837 k. A. k. A. k. A. k. A.
14th DaimlerLogo.svg Daimler AG GermanyGermany Germany 1,973,270 1,808,125 141,200 114.297 117.982 164
15th Chongqing Changan Automobile Company China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 1,447,017 1,089,179 k. A. k. A. k. A. k. A.
16. Logo Full Color Vertical cs5.png Mazda Motor Corporation JapanJapan Japan 1,328,426 1,261,521 28,800 14,847 18,027 k. A.
17th Dongfeng Motor Corporation China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 1,301,695 745.765 k. A. k. A. k. A. k. A.
18th Mitsubishi motors new logo.svg Mitsubishi Motors Corporation JapanJapan Japan 1,262,342 1,199,823 k. A. 12.408 14.165 k. A.
19th Beijing Automotive Group China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 1,115,847 538.027 k. A. k. A. k. A. k. A.
20th Tata Motors.svg Tata Motors IndiaIndia India 945.113 614.247 k. A. k. A. k. A. k. A.

Automotive brand value 2010

From 2009 to 2010, all automobile brands in the world together lost 15% of their brand value . According to this, the most valuable brand in the automotive industry in 2010 was that of BMW , the core brand of the manufacturer that was only in seventh place in terms of sales and only in 14th place in terms of quantities. The largest producer in the world in terms of number of units, Toyota , followed almost on par with its core brand in second place, while Volkswagen AG, with the most important of its numerous brands, only achieved the eighth highest value worldwide with the most important of its numerous brands, just ahead of the Ford brand . However, it should be noted that Volkswagen, with its two sports brands Porsche in fifth place and Audi in ninth place, unites two other top 10 brands under its corporate umbrella, with which together it even surpasses the high brand values ​​of BMW and Toyota.

New vehicle registrations

Motor vehicles per 1000 inhabitants

In 2003, 14,208,250 passenger cars were registered for the first time in Western Europe . There were 56.3 million automobiles worldwide. While the demand for passenger cars almost stagnated at only 1% growth , over 6% more commercial vehicles were sold compared to 2002. This growth mostly takes place in the so-called developing and emerging countries , with China as a pioneer in the growth market, where 35% more automobiles were brought into circulation compared to 2002. In 2006, 16 million new cars were sold in the US, 4 million in China and one million in India .

Statistics by country

Employees in the automotive industry in the EU

country Employees 2010 Employees 2012
GermanyGermany Germany 749,000 (34.6%) 812,514 (35.4%)
FranceFrance France 225,000 (10.4%) 243,779 (10.6%)
ItalyItaly Italy 171,000 162,865
PolandPoland Poland 149,000 156.865
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 136,000 146,000
Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 140,000 143.227
SpainSpain Spain 141,000 134.605
RomaniaRomania Romania 117,000 131.084
HungaryHungary Hungary 65,000 69,245
SwedenSweden Sweden 66,000 66,836
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 51,000 61,571
BelgiumBelgium Belgium 35,000 38,432
AustriaAustria Austria 29,000 31,555
PortugalPortugal Portugal 30,000 30,021
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 20,000 19,527
other EU countries 42,000 48,290
European Union 2,166,000 (100%) 2,296,416 (100%)

Auto industry in Germany

Heads of major automotive companies with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2013 electromobility summit in Berlin. From left to right: Neumann (Opel), Varin (formerly PSA), Zetsche (Daimler), Wan Gang (China)

In terms of sales, the automotive industry is by far the most important branch of industry in Germany, but not the most important branch of industry in Germany . In 2008, 345.9 billion euros were generated. The next industry with the highest turnover, mechanical engineering , brought it to 225.5 billion euros. Around 747,000 people were employed in the automotive industry in Germany in 2009. With around 40%, the industry contributes by far the largest share of the total research and development expenditure of the German economy. In 2009 this was around 22.1 billion euros. Their export surplus makes up well over half of Germany's total export surplus.

After China and the USA, Germany is the third largest car producer in the world. In 2010 5.55 million cars were produced. Local car production is characterized by its strong export orientation. While Japan, especially China and the USA, produce more domestically, around 69% of German car production goes abroad - the world's highest car export quota. According to the number of vehicles sold, Japan and Germany have been taking turns as world champions in car exports for years. However, when it comes to the value of car exports, Germany is a long way ahead of Japan, because abroad, in particular, its large, high-priced vehicles are in demand.

Automobile production, vehicle inventory and new registrations in Germany: See details under economic figures on automobiles .

Auto industry in Japan

Domestic automobile manufacturing in Japan began when Fusazō Mori ( 森 房 造 , Mori Fusazō ) commissioned Torao Yamaba ( 山 羽 虎 夫 , Yamaba Torao ) to build a bus in 1903 after seeing US automobiles at a trade fair . The result was the "Yamaba steam bus" ( 山 羽 式 蒸 気 バ ス , Yamaba-shiki jōki basu ) from 1904. The first gasoline-powered vehicle followed in 1907 at the behest of Prince Takehito Arisugawa by Shintarō Yoshida ( 吉田 真 太郎 , Yoshida Shintarō ) and Komanosuke 内 山 ​​駒 之 , Uchida Komanosuke ), who were inspired by the French Darracq . Ten copies were made of this vehicle , named Takurī ( タ ク リ ー 号 , Takurī-gō ) according to the noises it made . In 1923 or 1925 Jun'ya Toyokawa ( 豊 川 順 弥 , Toyokawa Jun'ya ), the founder of the Hakuyōsha ( 白楊 社 ) company, began producing the Ōtomo ( オ ー ト モ 号 , Ōtomo-gō ), which was to become Japan's first export vehicle.

Sales and market shares by manufacturer in Japan 2005
Companies Cars + trucks proportion of Car proportion of truck Proportion of %
Toyota 1,719,060 29.3% 1,519,980 32.0% 194.012 17.8%
Nissan 842.133 14.4% 718.295 15.1% 120.187 11.0%
Honda 709.782 12.1% 661,450 13.9% 48,332 4.4%
Suzuki 704.099 12.0% 551.215 11.6% 152.884 14.0%
Daihatsu * 605,600 10.3% 445,609 9.4% 155,545 14.3%
Mazda 295.128 4.9% 233.092 4.9% 51,226 4.7%
Mitsubishi 256.228 4.4% 187.380 3.9% 68,848 6.3%
Fuji 248,400 4.2% 162.184 3.4% 84.216 7.7%

*) Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. has been working closely with Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. since 1967 and Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. connected

Auto industry in Austria

Austria's automotive industry looks back on a long tradition. The front-wheel drive was developed by Gräf & Stift as early as 1900 , and the Steyr works were among the leading automobile manufacturers in Europe in the 1930s. Not least because of the Second World War and undesirable developments, all Austrian manufacturers failed in the post-war decades and as a result were bought up ( Steyr Daimler Puch , Gräf & Stift, Puch , ...) or had to close.

Due to these closings and the diminishing importance within the overall economy, efforts were made by the then Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky to build an Austro-Porsche, i.e. to rebuild a powerful auto industry. This upswing began with the establishment of the General Motors engine plant in Vienna-Aspern . Today the automotive industry still plays an important role in Austria. Soon more auto parts were exported in terms of value than finished vehicles were imported. Because due to existing know-how and a high degree of innovation , international automotive groups, above all BMW in Steyr or MAGNA in Graz , are repeatedly investing in Austrian locations. There are now three car clusters ( AC Styria with 180 companies, including Slovenian, Croatian and Hungarian companies. 30,000 of the 44,000 employees work in Austria; AC Upper Austria, AC Vienna Region) to promote cooperation between automobile manufacturers and their suppliers. This is intended to increase efficiency and international competitiveness in order to support the domestic locations. After all, since the eastward expansion with Slovakia and its booming auto industry around Bratislava , which is very close to the Austrian border, the competition is right on the proverbial "own front door".

But even in this time of globalization, outsourcing , and the economic downturn in Europe, Austria's suppliers - mainly medium-sized companies with a high export share - were able to achieve growth in turnover and sales. The automotive sector is therefore one of the few fast-growing branches of industry in Austria (average annual growth between 2000 and 2003 10% each). The reason for this is of course not the low domestic demand due to the population, but the good international competitiveness, recognizable by the continued strong popularity with the German automobile manufacturers, who are the largest buyers of Austrian automobiles (BMW has a large part of all engines it needs developed and manufactured in Steyr, or all types of diesel engines in the engine competence center in Steyr). Important customers abroad include a. Daimler, BMW, VW and Audi. The automotive sector generates around 10% of Austria's industrial output with 38 billion euros.

Automotive industry in Austria (manufacturers and suppliers) in figures (2003):

The following vehicle manufacturers are represented in Austria:

In addition, there are several hundred (mostly medium-sized) suppliers, some of which are expanding rapidly. They not only sell to the vehicle manufacturers represented in Austria, but also export most of them, such as B. voestalpine in Linz , Miba in Laakirchen , FACC in Ried , Epcos in Deutschlandsberg , Eybl International , AVL List , Pankl Racing Systems .

Auto industry in Poland

In 2009 automobile production in Poland fell by 9.2% to 899,700 units. FIAT Auto Poland accounted for 605,800 of these units. The FIAT works in Tychy near Bielsko-Biała accounted for 67% of Polish automobile production. At Opel Gliwice, production fell by 45% from 2008 (171,700 vehicles) to 2009 (94,900). VW Poznań built 138,200 units (2009) 22% fewer cars and delivery vans than in 2008. At FSO in Warsaw, production fell by 60%. In addition to the complete Chevrolet Aveo, the Daewoo Matiz was prefabricated here, which then went to the Ukraine for final assembly . At that time the car manufacturers' market shares in Poland: FIAT 67.3%, VW 15.4%, Opel 10.7% and FSO 6.6%.

Companies Location brand number of pieces
Fiat Poland car Tychy Fiat Panda 298,000
Fiat Poland car Tychy Fiat 500 184,100
VW Polska Poznań VW Caddy 127,300
Fiat Polska car Tychy Ford Ka 112,500
GM Europe Gliwice Opel Zafira, Astra III and IV 94,600
GM, FSO Warszawa Chevrolet Aveo 31,000
all in all Poland - 899,700

Auto industry in Switzerland

Market shares of the most important automobile manufacturers in 2008
Companies Car registrations Change in 2008/07 Market share
Volkswagen 32,183 + 4.0% 11.2%
Opel 18,670 −8.9% 6.5%
Audi 16,964 + 6.1% 5.9%
BMW 16,134 −4.3% 5.6%
Toyota 15,224 −11.2% 5.3%
ford 14,768 + 21.4% 5.1%
Renault 14,580 −2.1% 5.1%
FIAT 14,122 + 26.5% 4.9%
Mercedes Benz 13,919 + 3.6% 4.8%
Peugeot 13,708 −5.9% 4.8%
Škoda Auto 11,134 + 23.8% 3.9%
Citroën 10,391 −8.6% 3.6%
All manufacturers 288,525 +1.4% 100.00%

In Switzerland there are a few manufacturers of buses , trolleybuses , commercial vehicles and solar / electric vehicles, the best-known are Mowag (military vehicles), Hess AG (car and trolleybuses) and Bucher Industries (municipal vehicles ).

Auto industry in Slovakia

The development of an automotive industry in what is now Slovakia has been taking place since the 1960s. Thanks to foreign investors, Slovakia grew into a major vehicle manufacturer in the first few years of its membership in the EU, even if not a single manufacturer has its corporate headquarters in Slovakia, so actually not a single type can be described as Slovak. If you count vehicle production per inhabitant of the country, Slovakia leads the world. The three major vehicle manufacturers in Slovakia are Volkswagen in Bratislava , PSA Peugeot Citroën in Trnava and KIA in Žilina . While in 2000 the number of units produced was 180,000, this grew to 570,000 by 2007, with a further large increase to 640,000 being assumed for 2008.

Auto industry in South Korea

Market shares of the most important automobile manufacturers in 2016
brand paragraph proportion of
Hyundai 654.738 35.7%
Kia 535.001 29.2%
Chevrolet 182.075 09.9%
Renault Samsung 111.101 06.1%
SsangYong 103,554 05.6%
Mercedes 056,343 03.1%
BMW 048,459 02.6%
genesis 023,328 01.3%
Audi 016,718 00.9%
Volkswagen 013,178 00.7%

Auto industry in the USA

US market for cars and trucks (up to 6.4 t) in 2016
Companies paragraph of which cars including light trucks
General Motors 3,042,421 890.716 2,151,705
Ford Motor Co. 2,599,211 694.046 1,905,165
Chrysler 2,211,057 314,482 1,896,575
Toyota 2,449,587 1,146,958 1,302,629
Honda 1,637,942 824,699 813.243
Nissan 1,564,423 811.090 753.333
Hyundai 775.005 554.027 220,978
Kia 647,598 407,535 240.063
Mazda 297.773 150,555 147.218
Volkswagen 322,948 275.087 47,861
Audi 210.213 110.052 100.161
BMW 313.174 181.419 131,755

In 2016, the U.S. auto industry employed between 201,600 and 211,200 people.

Criticism from environmental organizations

Of environmental organizations automaker for particulate pollution, the destruction of valuable landscapes as also for their contribution to climate change partly responsible. The share of the transport sector (car, train, airplane, ship) in anthropogenic CO 2 emissions is 18%. The contribution that cars make to particulate matter caused by diesel soot, brake pad and tire wear is 20–60%, reducing life expectancy in the EU by more than 8 months.

Environmental associations further criticize the fact that the automotive industry is being promoted with public funds despite market saturation , namely with the relocation of car factories, the expansion of roads, a scrapping bonus or the construction of parking spaces, often with the argument of job creation and the competitiveness of a region .

In 2001, Greenpeace filed a criminal complaint against the automotive industry for the risk of lung cancer from diesel exhaust. In 2006, a California attorney general sued six automotive companies for contributing to global warming . In a study from 2009, the Volkswagen Group came third from the bottom.

Numerous artists address emotions or dangers related to cars in their works. In the Warnviereck media art project, the automotive industry is calling for a warning that should be placed on and in cars, similar to cigarette packs.


The automotive industry could face major changes due to the emergence of disruptive technology (see autonomous driving or electric mobility ) or a change in traffic .

According to estimates by the Center Automotive Research (CAR) of the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2019, around 124,000 jobs would be lost in the German automotive industry when switching to electromobility: In production and development, savings of almost 234,000 jobs and the creation of 109,000 new jobs are expected. these numbers include both automobile manufacturers and their suppliers. The Federal Government and the Prime Ministers of the three federal states with the largest automobile production (Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony) are planning to support the automobile industry in this context.

See also


  • Franz W. Peren (Ed.): Crisis as Opportunity. Where is the German automotive industry headed? Gabler-Verlag, 1994, ISBN 3-409-19190-9 .
  • Franz W. Peren, Helmut HA Hergeth (eds.): Customizing in the global automotive industry: Customer-oriented product and service management. Campus-Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3-593-35494-2 .
  • Gerhard Schröder: Automotive industry in Lower Saxony - industrial policy leeway to overcome the crisis. In: Franz W. Peren (Ed.): Crisis as an opportunity. Where is the German automotive industry headed? Gabler-Verlag, 1994, ISBN 3-409-19190-9 . (Gerhard Schröder was Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1998 to 2005)
  • Jacques Calvet: The product development management of Peugeot and Citroen. In: Franz W. Peren, Helmut HA Hergeth (Hrsg.): Customizing in the global automotive industry: Customer-oriented product and service management. Campus-Verlag 1996, ISBN 3-593-35494-2 . (Jacques Calvet was Chairman of the Board of PSA Peugeot Citroen from 1984 to 1997)
  • Werner Neubauer, Bernd Rudow (Ed.): Trends in the automotive industry: Development tendencies - Works council work - Control and conveyor technology - Foundry technology - Information technology - Information and assistance systems. 2012, ISBN 978-3-486-71527-9 .
  • Willi Diez: The international competitiveness of the German automotive industry - challenges and perspectives. 2012, ISBN 978-3-486-71398-5 .

Web links

Commons : Automotive Industry  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: Auto industry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Automotive industry  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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  6. The sales 2008 were taken from an older version of this article, but are without evidence; the sales in 2012 and 2013 come from: Peter Fuß: The largest automobile manufacturers worldwide. (PDF) An analysis of important balance sheet figures for the 2013 calendar year. Ernst & Young , 2014, accessed on March 15, 2015 .
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