A booming Chinese market means the region is now the most prolific manufacturer in the world, with the EU pushed to second place
1 November 2014

China’s rocketing passenger car making industry is now the world’s largest by a significant margin. Nearly 18 million cars were made in China last year, well ahead of the EU’s production total of 14.6m.

According to figures just released by the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA), while EU production remained almost flat between 2012 and 2013, China overtook the EU in 2012 and continued climbing throughout last year. 

Collectively, the so-called BRIC group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) now produces 39.6 per cent of the world’s cars, but China is responsible for making 27.6 per cent of them. India (4.8 per cent), Brazil (4.2 per cent) and Russia (2.9 per cent) are minnows by comparison.

In 2002, China’s fledgling car industry built around one million cars, but by 2006 China had matched the United States’ automotive output of just over four million cars.

While nearly every other car making nation saw a drop in production in the wake of the 2008 global credit crunch, China’s car industry enjoyed its most dramatic period of growth, rising up from just under seven million units in 2008 to just over 14m units by the end of 2010. 

ACEA figures from 2012 revealed that 2.2m people across the EU are directly involved in the production of all types of motor vehicles, with a total of 12.7m employed across the entire supply chain. This accounts for 5.8 per cent of all people employed in the EU.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Great Wall Steed
The Great Wall Steed isn't entirely bad, considering its price, but a used mainstream alternative would be a much better buy

The Great Wall Steed is a cheap and practical double-cab pick-up but it's hindered by a poor powertrain and questionable build quality

1 November 2014

... many of the cars made in China are made by the European car makers. No denying though that the rate of growth of the Chinese car market is astronomical and shows no signs of letting up. I wonder how does it feel? Can be similar to mass migration. Somewhat like a town turning into a mega city within a short space of time. I bet half the people can't drive properly or aren't aware what that means.

2 November 2014
fadyady wrote:

. I bet half the people can't drive properly or aren't aware what that means.

I suspect half the people in the UK can't drive properly either.



1 November 2014

Fills me with dread to be honest.

2 November 2014

China is going from strength to strength, my worry is though that,when the period of growth there crashes,so will it effect the rest of the World economy?

Peter Cavellini.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?
  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    The last hurrah for the current Aston Martin Vantage adds the track-ready GT8 to the range
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    20 October 2016
    New S5 Sportback is more spacious, better to drive and offers a calmer ride than before, but rivals offer greater involvement
  • Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy
    First Drive
    19 October 2016
    Mildly revised hot hatch is enjoyable on UK roads but continues to play second fiddle to the Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2016 Smart fortwo Brabus cabrio xclusive
    First Drive
    18 October 2016
    Mechanical upgrades make the Smart Fortwo Brabus cabrio better to drive, but it’s too pricey to recommend