The automobile industry, responsible for the designing, development, manufacturing, marketing, and sales of motor vehicles is an absolutely enormous industry with many interesting facts and tidbits. Starting with the horseless carriage in the 1860’s all the way to now with electric vehicles with advanced technology such as those made by Tesla, the automotive industry has a rich history. The following are 6 interesting facts about this very important sector:
1) Germany Exports More Vehicles Than Any Other Country
When you think of Germany you may think of enchanting castles nestled in the background of a rural setting, or breath-taking cathedrals such as the Aachen Cathedral, but many do not notice that Germany is a big player in the automotive industry. In fact, Germany is so big in the automobile industry that they export more vehicles than any other country.
In 2019, Germany exported 142.3 billion US dollars’ worth of vehicles, which comes up to 18.7% of all exported vehicles. The United States, on the other hand, came in number 3, accounting for 7.4% of all exported vehicles at 56.2 billion US dollars’ worth. Japan came in second at 12.9%, exporting 98 billion US dollars’ worth of automobiles.
2) Production of Vehicles Went Down 15% from 2019 to 2020
Production of vehicles steadily increased for 7 years between 2010 and 2017, going from 77 million vehicles produced to 97 million vehicles produced, before plateauing for a year. Despite this industry being robust and healthy, 2019 saw a downward trend but it was nothing compared to the reduced production seen in 2020.
With everything that happened in 2020, most notably the worldwide SARS-COV-2 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns, vehicle production plummeted from 92 million to 78 million vehicles. This is even more drastic than the 12% reduction that was seen during the 2008 – 2009 recession. Luckily, the automotive industry is rebounding much faster than was anticipated. For example, the light vehicle market in the United State sold 18 million units in March, the most recorded for that month ever.
3) China is Currently the Biggest Automobile Manufacturer
The United States’ automotive industry is nothing to scoff at, with many automotive manufacturers and automotive accessory manufacturers pumping out many millions of units per year. For example, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, Ford, and Lincoln are all American brands. Even SLiPLO is based in California, USA, providing front bumper skid plates.
With this being said, the United States is not dominating this industry like it once did in the past. In 2020, China led the way, being the largest passenger vehicle manufacturer in the world. In fact, in 2020 they produced 21 million passenger vehicles. This makes up nearly one third of the world’s production, outnumbering all other countries.
4) Trucks Transport the Majority of Freight
Most truck owners value their trusty vehicles highly and even browse for the best truck door sill protectors to make sure even the areas often forgotten are shielded. Despite this level of admiration, most people are not aware of how important trucks are for our lives to run as smoothly as they do. Everyday we purchase products that have had to take several trucks from harvest to refinement, and from warehouses to stores.
In 2017, trucks moved 21,600,000,000,000 pounds of goods back and forth across the United States. This accounts for 71% of tonnage of freight that has been transported in the United States. The other 29% is made up of train, boat, and airplane transportation of goods. This important use of trucks does not only exist in the United States. In Europe, 76.7% of goods was transported by either trucks or vans.
In the United States alone there are upwards of 3.6 million individuals who drive trucks for a living, with over 8 million individuals employed by the trucking industry. Without truckers and the vehicles that keep them safely traversing great distances lugging tons of weight, the world would be a much different, bleaker, place.
5) Cars Were Not That Rare Before the Great Depression
A lot of people imagine there being relatively few vehicles on the road prior to the Great Depression, with only the wealthy and famous having a vehicle but this is not really the case. For example, America’s Ford Motor Company manufactured and put out the 1908 Model T, and it was accessible to the masses.
By the time 1929 came around, there were more than 32 million vehicles on the road across the globe, with more than 90% of them being produced in the United States. It was not just one or two vehicles produced in mass scales either. There was great diversity leading to some of the rarest cars you never knew existed.
With one car per five American citizens, there were several different options to choose from at different price ranges. For example, the 1929 Desoto Model K Roadster, with a middle of the road price at the time, set first year sales records and continued to maintain that record for 30 years. Despite how much technology has advanced in recent decades, the automobile industry was thriving for longer than many people think.
6) Motor Bikes and World War I
Although the first motor bike company, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, came into being in 1894, production did not ramp up until World War I. To be able to get communications to front line troops, dispatch riders on motorcycles would bring messages with them to the front lines and perform reconnaissance.
Harley-Davidson, prolific in the industry even today, dedicated over half of their manufacturing output to military contracts during the First World War. Triumph Motorcycles, makers of the Triumph Type H, sold more than 30 thousand motorcycles to allies during the war, sporting a 550 cc four-stroke engine and belt transmission.
In 1920, less than two years after the war, Harley-Davidson found itself as the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world, making sales in 67 countries. Modern motorcycles, deviating from bicycle – like designs, are owed in part to the efforts during the First World War.
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