Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
The automotive industry is the main industrial employer in the world with more than 10 million workers and incomes of 1,000 billion US dollars. The North American and Western European markets are saturated and have mainly become replacement markets. Economic growth in developing countries, especially in Asia, provides some expectations for the demand for new vehicles as well as for new production capacities. However, production capacities grew more quickly than the demand and some factories are now functioning well below their optimal capacity. It is estimated that at 80% of the capacity, an automotive constructor is profitable.
By 2000 the global production capacity reached 80 million vehicles while the market had a demand for only 60 million vehicles. Thus, the automotive production system worked at 75% of its capacity, which represents a major challenge for the four main manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota) that saw their share drop from 48% of the global production in 1998 and to 35% in 2017. The car manufacturers themselves are changing because of mergers and acquisitions. For instance, by 1999, several manufacturers merged, such as GM and Fiat, Daimler and Chrysler (the merger was broken in 2009), and Renault and Nissan. As a result, 6 manufacturers controlled about 75% of the global car production.