China is tipped to produce more cars than Europe for the first time ever in 2013 as the Asian powerhouse continues to boom and the traditional home of the automobile struggles through continuing economic hardship.
The Financial Times quotes the projections of five automotive industry analysts who believe that China is on track to manufacture 19.6 million cars and light commercial vehicles this year compared with Europe’s anticipated 18.3 million.
In 2012, approximately 18.9 million vehicles were produced in Europe (which includes Russia), easily accounting for China’s circa-17.8 million figure.
The numbers forecast that just 20 per cent of the world’s cars will be manufactured in Europe in 2013 – a far cry from a decade ago, when one in three cars were made in Europe, and the 1970s, when the ratio was one in every two.
China’s share of global automotive production is tipped to grow to 23.8 per cent this year – astonishing given it made just 3.5 per cent of the world’s cars in 2000.
Demand for new vehicles in Europe has been in decline since the global financial crisis of last decade, and subsequent production reductions have seen a number of manufacturers, particularly France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen and Germany’s Opel, forced to lay off thousands of workers as part of significant restructuring measures.