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The US is #2, and other tidbits

by David Zatz on

The United States is the second or third largest buyer of passenger cars in the world, depending on how you consider the EU — as one political group, or as many countries.

2016 figures, just released by the ACEA, show that China, in the lead, had 23 million registrations, far above the US’ 14.4 million.  The European Union, as a whole, registered 14.6 million cars, putting the EU ahead of the US (until the UK leaves).  Russia, once considered “the hot market,” had 1.3 million registrations, while India, still considered “up and coming,” had 3 million.

global car ownership

Globally, there are 182 vehicles per 1,000 people (ACEA graphic)

China has also surpassed the US in the number of cars in use — 136 million, vs the US’ 122 million. The EU has 256 million cars in use (these are all 2015 numbers). China had just 21 million passenger cars in 2005; the US has actually seen its total number of cars fall. The US remains the leader in commercial vehicles in use, with 142 million — well above the EU’s 38 million or China’s 27 million.

The EU exported 125 billion euros worth of cars (5.5 million of them) in  2016, and “imported” just 38 billion euros (2.8 million) worth of cars.  “Imported” is in quotes because the primary country the EU imports from is Turkey, which sits in Europe.

The country with the most new cars sold per thousand people was Luxembourg, by a wide margin.  The average age of cars in the EU is 10.7 years, and the age has been growing steadily since 2007.

As for production: within the EU, the largest number of people making cars was Germany, with around 851,000 jobs directly tied to auto manufacturing. #2 was far off — France, with 224,000 (Italy calimed 159,148). But the country with the largest percentage of auto jobs was — believe it or not — the Czech Republic, at 3.2%, followed by Slovakia, at 2.8%. Germany didn’t show up until #3 (2.2%). As for FCA’s home in Italy — 0.7%.  Former auto-making powerhouse United Kingdom claimed a measly 0.6% (169,000 jobs).

The US and Canada remain the most motorized countries, per capita; 82% of Americans have cars, well above Australia’s 72%, Europe’s (EU+EFTA) 58%, or Russia’s 36%. India, the Middle East, and Africa are likely the biggest opportunities for selling cars to new buyers.

SUVs have been growing fast, as a segment, currently taking 26% of the market, not including MPVs (minivans and such), which have 11%. Small cars take up 30%, still, and compact/“lower medium” (C size) cars take up 22%. Large cars are just 3% of the market. Half of these cars are diesels, and 46% are gasoline powered; hybrids have been ever so slowly growing, now at 2%.

Via the ACEA 2017-18 Pocket Guide.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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