China dominates world vehicle production, U.S. remains No. 2

January 14, 2013

China will remain the primary driver of global production growth over the next four years, but the U.S. will remain the No. 2 vehicle producer in the world, according to the newly released joint Global Light Vehicle and Powertrain Forecast from WardsAuto and AutomotiveCompass. The new forecast also calls for automakers to consolidate the number of platforms underpinning their vehicles while increasing the percentage of cars and trucks that rely on smaller engines.

The forecast, which is updated monthly for clients, projects growth in all global regions through 2018, with total vehicle output increasing 23 percent over the next six years. The report highlights the China-led Asia-Pacific region's increasing dominance, especially through 2016, when production in China alone will climb to 26 million units. That's a 7.5 million unit increase from 2012.

By comparison, production in the U.S. is projected to increase by 1.3 million by 2016, while production in the third-highest-producing country, Japan, is forecast to decline by 875,000 units over the next four years as capacity continues to shift to other locations. In that same period, India will surge ahead of South Korea and Germany to rank fourth among vehicle-producing countries.

The outlook also projects that Volkswagen will lay claim to the top-produced platform in the world by 2015, as its MQB architecture, which will spawn several small and midsize cars and cross/utility vehicles, should end a three-year reign by Toyota's MC platform that began in 2012.

The forecast also confirms the gradual trend of production consolidation among global platforms. In 2012, 31 platforms accounted for half of global production. In 2016, that number drops to 27.

The powertrain forecast also shows the shift to smaller engines continuing as production of vehicles with engines of four cylinders or less rises from 82 percent of the total in 2012 to 85 percent in 2018. North American production of vehicles with engines of four cylinders or less is expected to increase from 47 percent of the region's total in 2012 to 55 percent in 2018.

The forecast is available immediately to subscribing clients. More information is available at

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