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During 2007, the worldwide automotive industry produced 73.1 million vehicles.[1] In 2008, production declined 3.7% to 70.5 million vehicles. The auto industry as a whole grew more than thirty percent between 1995 and 2005.[2] Over the past thirty years differences in government regulation and economic opportunities have created three major clusters of producers- in Western Europe, the U.S., and Japan/South Korea- that developed different characteristics regarding the size, power-train and fuel efficiency of their vehicles.

In the European market, where taxes have made gas expensive, car makers have become expert producers of small displacement gasoline engines and diesel engines(which can generally achieve 35% better fuel economy than a petrol engine of equivalent power). Low gas prices in America have encouraged an ongoing increase in vehicle size and engine displacement. As engine technology has improved and now allows more power from a smaller engine, instead of substituting smaller engines with equivalent power, cars produced for the American market have utilized new technologies to increase horsepower and torque. These design characteristics also hold true for foreign companies such as DAIMLER AG (DAI), Toyota Motor (TM), Nissan Motor (NSANY) and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) that derive a large portion of their revenue from U.S. sales. Conversely, Japanese companies such as Subaru (owned by Fuji Heavy Industries) and Honda Motor Company (HMC) have continued to exclusively build more fuel efficient automobiles.

These major car producing regions have recently been joined by a mushrooming of auto-producers in the great emerging economies of India, Russia, China, and Brazil. These four markets, collectively known as the BRIC countries, represent the future for automotive sales growth- with 2007 car sales increasing in China 22% [3] Brazil 26%[4], Russia 36% [5], and India 12%.[6] Amazingly, for 2009 it is expected that there will be more new car sales in China than the United States, albeit in part due to generous government subsidies of new car purchases.[7] The automobiles produced for mass consumption in these developing markets sell for a fraction of the price of cars in Western Europe or the U.S.(the new Tata Nano sells for a mere $2500[8]) , but consequently are lacking in safety devices, comfort equipment such as air-conditioning or stereo equipment, and reliability.

Major Auto Makers

The Major car producing nations in the world and their outputs in 2007 are Japan: 11 million, U.S.: 10.5 million, China: 8.1 million, Germany: 6 million, South Korea: 4 million, alongside smaller producers such as France, Spain, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and India - where between 2 and 3 million automobiles were assembled.[9]

The following table illustrates the 15 largest carmaking companies by volume for 2007.

Ranking Name of Company Total Vehicle Output
1 General Motors (GM) 9,349,818
2 Toyota Motor (TM) 8,534,690
3 Volkswagen (VLKAY) 6,267,891
4 Ford Motor Company (F) 6,247,506
5 Honda Motor Company (HMC) 3,911,814
6 PSA (Peugeot Citroen) 3,457,385
7 Nissan Motor (NSANY) 3,431,398
8 FIAT S.p.A. (FIA) 2,679,451
9 Renault 2,669,040
10 Hyundai Motor Company 2,617,725
11 Suzuki Motor (SZKMF) 2,569,316
12 Chrysler 2,538,624
13 Daimler AG (DAI) 2,069,977
14 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) 1,541,503
15 Mitsubishi 1,411,975
[10]



America president and Toyota board meembr, Jim Press moving to Chrysler after 37 years at Toyota: Nardelli Poaches Another One Jim Press Moves to Chrysler Watch Out Toyota, Here Comes Toyota! Press leaving Toyota

I'm looking to buy a car here and was doing the reearsch. The Cost to Own of Hybrids was consistently more than similar (or same) model non-Hybrids. The only advantages Hybrids have is with the fuel costs over the life of the car, and the Hybrid tax credit. But, they're at a disadvantage with almost everything else. And, they're killed by the depreciation, due it seems to the high invoice price. (O.K. I think I just unintentionally made a really good argument for buying Hybrids Used.)But, just to compare the two cars I'm liking, the Honda Civic super-basic trim has a CtO of $24,200 and the Honda Civic Hybrid $26,900. And, the Civic Hybrid is actually way more affordable and closer to the CtO of its non-Hybrid sister model than the other Hybrids I've been looking at.Here's what I'm thinking. The projected Cost to Own is based on a few guesses, like how much mileage you're likely to have, and the price of gas pretty much staying where it is.Now I don't want to read doomsday predictions about how we're going to go all Mad Max. I don't. But, it's natural to suppose the trend of gas prices going up is going to continue.I mean the reason it happened in the first place is because people in developing countries have been buying cars, so the demand for gas has gone up. These countries aren't done developing. Or, to put it another way, there's alot of people in the world who haven't bought a car yet.Back to the Civic I figure with the differences in CtOs not including the cost of gas ($4,300), the cost of gas would pretty much have to double ($4,300/($8,600-$6,200)=~1.8). And, that's pretty much just for the Honda Civic. I'm having a real hard time imagining a horrible nightmare scenario where the Ford Fusion Hybrid New would be a better buy than the Ford Fusion New.I guess I've pretty much already answered my own question. But, I have another scenario for all of you. If someone starts mass producing Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars for mass sales, what's that going to do to the price of gas? I'd expect it to go down partly because the demand for gas would be stemmed somewhat, but mostly just because the gas companies would want to incentivise their consumers keeping combustion cars.I guess the big question there is, how likely is that to happen in the next 5 years? Or however long? Isn't it odd how these alternative cars have the potential to sabotage each other?And, how competitive is hydrogen with gas as a fuel? Obviously, there's the old issue that hydrogen would have to build their distribution from the ground up. But, once that's done, how much would a mile fueled by gas cost vs. a mile fueled by hydrogen?Gas comes out of the ground with it's energy already in it. Petroleum pumps try to be (and are) highly energy efficient. But, pumping a liquid out of minerals Well, isn't that like squeezing blood from a stone?Hydrogen you have to use up energy to electrolyze it or refine it from fossil fuels. I'm not bothered so much by the greenhouse implications. From an engineering standpoint it's an energy storage device. What's the cost? Electricity is cheap. Right?Then there's the comparative fuel economies of fuel cell and combustion cars. Hydrogen is more energy intensive than gas. A full tank is lighter. The lightening of the cars load would give it a slight advantage in fuel economy. Wouldn't it? (Get the image of hydrogen making balloon floaty cars out of your head please. It so doesn't work that way.) Also, since the internal drag is on a much shorter drive train, wouldn't that give Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars a tremendous advantage in fuel economy?So an swers, are you saying that if I asked these other questions separately you WOULD answer them? Besides I'm dubious of that on it's own, it kind of sounds like Y!A points farming to me, at a cost to me!Beyond that it's occurred to me you don't have to double the price of gas. For vocations that involve alot of driving you could easily more than double the mileage and the fuel consumption. Like I imagine Taxi companies, if they're not using Hybrids are pretty much losing money.From the National Hydrogen Association: The estimated costs for producing and delivering hydrogen to thefueling station using today’s technologies vary from $2.10/gallon of gasoline equivalent (gge) to $9.10/gge. These hydrogen costs do not include highway taxes and do include the increased fuel efficiency of fuel cell vehicles compared to gasoline-powered hybrid electric vehicles. So best case scenario hydrogen is just competitive with gas.An swers, sorry you did write that mileage can make a Hybrid worthwhile first. But, I still don't like the other thing you wrote, if only because that means flooding the latest question pages with spam questions. There's enough inane crap on here as it is.On the other side of things, saying hydrogen as a fuel isn't going to happen in a big way tomorrow is not the same as saying it's never going to happen. The price of gas will go up, not least of all because people consider it to be an essential consumable. People don't just use less simply because demand outstrips supply, so the price has to go way up to be prohibitive. Next we'd need to see a big drop in the price of electricity. Maybe when they mine the moon for tritium for fusion power, though the new fusion powerplants and the power infrastructure will still cost money on top of the price tag of a commercial lunar space program. I think the big energy conglomerates like GE can afford to do it easy. But I've never been a big fan of electric cars. I don't think the oil companies are trying to keep them buried because they threaten their monopoly. I just don't think they've ever really been any good. Granted tremendous advances in battery technology have given them a huge step forward. But, even with that and regenerative braking (an old technology which has gained new interest) electric cars' ranges just aren't very good. I know that sound like a strawman attack, like the old one that electric cars can't make it up hills. But, it's true. At the least, going on a roadtrip in an electric car is out of the question. It doesn't help there the batteries are pretty dang heavy. But again the weight is less important than internal drag on the drive train, as well as regenerative braking. (Batteries are also expensive, but not more so than engine blocks and full drive trains, and definitely not more than hydrogen tanks and fuel cells.)

Automotive Market Share

As of mid-2008, the worldwide motor industry has considerable excess capacity. According to estimates made by the automotive consulting firm CSM Worldwide, the world light vehicle production capacity is 85.4 million cars per year, which is about 16.8 million more than the number demanded by consumers.[11] This is the fundamental factor that makes today's automotive industry so fiercely competitive, even in the face of prodigious demand growth from the developing world. This means that to gain market share today a car company cannot simply make cars of reasonable quality and styling. Instead, more than ever before, the automobile must be distinguishable either in terms of design, as has been seen with Ford of Europe's enormous success, or of notorious durability, such as with Toyota's vehicles. So in the near future, a successful automaker will need to both effectively manage production and technology concerns while at the same time delivering vehicles that are differentiable from the glut of other cars on the market.

Daimler AG U.S. Market Share
Daimler AG U.S. Market Share[12]
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2007 Worldwide Vehicle Market Share Data[13]
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2007 European Automotive Market Share Data[14]


References

  1. International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Production Data
  2. International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Production Data
  3. Associated Press News Wire
  4. Oxford Analytica Abstract
  5. "Crisis? What Oil Crisis?"
  6. Indian auto sales overview
  7. Marketwatch: China tops U.S. in car sales so far this year
  8. Cost of Tata Nano
  9. Worldwatch Institute: "Vehicle Production Rises, but Few Cars are Green."
  10. OICA 2007 World Ranking of Manufacturers
  11. Ford 2007 Annual Report
  12. Autoobserver: 2007- A Historic Year for U.S. Vehicle Sales
  13. OICA: World Ranking of Manufacturers Year 2007
  14. Suite 101: Top Selling Cars in Europe in 2007
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