Cars have been synonymous with freedom ever since they became mass-produced with Ford’s legendary Model T. Since then, Henry Ford’s way of making cars more accessible not only created an industry, it revolutionized everyday life by shortening distances and making daily commutes more comfortable.
On the other hand, it has also led to manufacturers trying to push their limits further each year by creating faster, more comfortable, more powerful, more efficient, smaller, or even larger cars.
We’ve gathered 25 insightful car statistics that will help you better understand the 2021 market and industry, the latest trends in today’s cars, and the environmentally friendly predictions for the future.
Top Ten Car Statistics and Facts You Should Know
- 93.3% of US households said they have access to at least one car/vehicle.
- When looking at the European Union’s car pollution statistics, passenger cars produce 60.7% of all CO2 emissions in Europe.
- In 2019, Toyota had the highest global automotive market share, with 10.24%.
- Car sales statistics for the US show 4.7 million passenger cars sold in 2019.
- The US vehicle and parts manufacturing industry managed to generate a gross output of around $780 billion in 2019.
- Worldwide, around 1.35 million people are killed in traffic accidents annually, based on various statistics on cars.
- In the case of electric cars, statistics showed a 1.96% US market share in 2018.
- Driving assistance technologies could create employment opportunities for around 2 million US citizens living with disabilities.
- When looking at the car accident statistics by age, road traffic incidents are the leading cause of fatalities for those aged 5–29 years.
- Norway intends to eradicate the use of fossil fuels in cars and other road vehicles by 2025.
General Facts and Statistics About Cars
Now that we’ve been over the key stats, let’s get the general car facts and numbers straight first. Who are the most significant global players? How does the car industry work and what is its future? Let’s find out!
1. In 2019, Toyota had the highest global automotive market share, with 10.24%.
According to Statista’s car statistics from 2019, Toyota was the leading car brand worldwide. It’s the second-biggest motor vehicle maker in the world, coming after the German Volkswagen Group.
2. Volkswagen, the world’s largest car manufacturer, had a global market share of 7.59% in 2019.
However, when assessing car sales statistics by model, Toyota was the most popular global brand. Third on the list was Ford, with a global market share of 5.59% in 2019. The fourth was Honda with 5.46%, and the fifth was Nissan, with a market share of 5.15%.
3. Electric car statistics show that Tesla sold around 367,000 cars in 2019.
More precisely, Tesla’s 2019 sales total is around 30 times smaller than Volkswagen Group’s 2019 sales. Furthermore, Tesla’s US market share is somewhere between 1% and 2%.
4. Car sales statistics indicate that global sales have dropped by nearly 20% year-over-year in comparison to 2018.
Car sales numbers have been on the decline globally since 2018. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has managed to throw a wrench in the global economy, thus decreasing car sales figures even more significantly.
More precisely, experts estimate that this year, only 59.9 million cars will be sold. The last high point was in 2018 when manufacturers worldwide managed to sell around 78.9 million vehicles.
5. Car sales statistics for the US show 4.7 million passenger cars sold in 2019.
When looking at the total number of light truck and car sales, that same number reached 17 million in America. Meanwhile, an estimated 77 million units were sold on a global scale that same year, according to Statista’s data.
6. Car statistics for 2021 suggest that new car registrations in Europe decreased by 39.5% compared to the same period in 2019.
(Best Selling Cars)
In terms of sales, in the first six months of 2020, the Volkswagen Group remained the largest carmaker in Europe and one of the three best-selling car brands on the old continent, followed by PSA and Renault.
During this period, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have managed to move into the top five. On the other hand, both Opel and Ford had weaker sales in the first half of 2020.
7. When looking at the European Union’s car pollution statistics, passenger cars produce 60.7% of all CO2 emissions in Europe.
Modern vehicles have reduced emissions and are among the cleaner modes of transport (when multiple people share one vehicle).
However, with an average of 1.7 people per car in Europe, other methods are still better alternatives. These include modes of public transportation such as busses, trains, and so on.
8. US car theft statistics claim that the average amount of money lost for every theft was around $8,407 in 2018.
(Insurance Information Institute)
Data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute from the FBI’s 2017/2018 related statistics show that the total amount of money lost due to motor vehicle theft in 2018 was about $6 billion.
When looking at the numbers, 2018’s total number of 748,841 stolen vehicles show a 3.1% decrease from 2017, when that number was 772,743.
Sales, Industry Figures, and Car Ownership Statistics in the US
American economy and industries belonging to it are usually specific and do not fit in the numbers recorded in the rest of the world. To understand them, we’ve looked more closely at numbers behind the US car industry — here they are.
9. 93.3% of US households said they have access to at least one car/vehicle.
On a national level, census figures claim that around 8.7% of households in 2018 didn’t have a vehicle, which is only a slight decrease of 0.4 percentage points in comparison to 2010’s figures.
In the 2010–2018 period, car ownership was the lowest in 2011—with around 11 million households (9.3%) not having access to a single vehicle.
10. California had 14,615,499 registered vehicles in 2017.
Car statistics in the USA claim that California, Florida, Texas lead when it comes to the number of registered vehicles — it’s not all about surfing. Together, they make up around 28% of the national total. Considering that these same states make up around 27% of the population, these figures seem quite fitting.
From 2012 to 2017, Nevada, Arizona, and Washington experienced the largest boom in vehicle registrations. During this period, these states saw a 13%–14% increase. Conversely, New Jersey has seen the biggest drop in the number of registrations—a considerable 29%.
11. The US car ownership statistics show that Raleigh, North Carolina, had an average of 1.9 vehicles per household, the most in the US.
Nashville Metropolitan Area in Tennessee also sports the same figure. However, its percentage of households without access to a vehicle is greater (4.84% against Raleigh’s 4.22%).
Among the top three, there’s also the Austin–Round Rock area in Texas with 1.8 cars per household and 4.52% of families lacking access to a vehicle.
12. The US automotive industry statistics show that it generated around $1.25 trillion in retail car sales and car part sales in 2019.
The numbers indicate a 4% revenue growth in comparison to the previous year.
13. The US vehicle and parts manufacturing industry managed to generate a gross output of around $780 billion in 2019.
Growth on the global scale slowed down between 2017 and 2019, hitting an even more pronounced slump in 2020, which continues to affect the US automotive industry.
In 2019, the US produced around 2.5 million cars, while China produced over 21 million in the same year.
14. According to the United States automotive industry statistics, Michigan-based company General Motors was the leading automaker, holding an estimated 17% of the light truck and passenger car market.
When looking at the US market share, apart from GM, the two other heavy hitters are the Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation.
Ford mostly sells vehicles under the “Ford” brand while Toyota offers more options, like the Lexus luxury brand, among others. In the US, GM has the largest number of available brands, with GMC and Chevrolet being the most popular.
When looking at non-domestic makers, car statistics show that Asian manufacturers are the most successful in the US market, with Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Subaru being among the most popular choices.
Statistics on Car Accidents
Over a million people lose their lives in car accidents around the world every year. These are just some of the many statistics we should all keep in mind before partaking in traffic. Read carefully.
15. Worldwide, around 1.35 million people are killed in traffic accidents annually, based on various statistics on cars.
Based on the available traffic and car crash statistics, each day, around 3,700 people lose their lives due to accidents involving not only cars but bicycles, motorbikes, buses, pedestrians, and trucks. Around half of these fatalities are motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
16. Car accident statistics claim that around 90% of global crashes resulting in a fatality happen in low- and middle-income countries.
Traffic crash death rates are around three times higher in low-income countries than in those with a higher income.
Even though the available data is pretty outdated (the latest cost estimates date back to 1998), on a global scale, traffic injuries cost $518 billion overall and $65 billion to middle- and low-income countries. This figure surpasses the total amount of money these countries get in developmental assistance.
17. When looking at the car accident statistics by age, road traffic incidents are the leading cause of fatalities for those aged 5–29 years.
According to the CDC’s data, traffic accidents are the eighth leading cause of death on a global scale. That means that today, more people die on the road from these accidents than they do from HIV/AIDS.
18. Teenage car accident statistics claim that speed played a decisive role in 31% of US teen traffic fatalities in 2018.
(Driving Tests, NHTSA)
Furthermore, in 2016, around 20% of drivers aged between 15 and 18 involved in a fatal traffic accident were under the influence of alcohol at the time. In addition, US car accident statistics show that among the passenger fatalities due to teen drivers, 58% of said passengers weren’t wearing a seat belt.
The Future of the Automotive Industry: Statistics and Facts
Those who like cars know that there are new breakthroughs almost every day. The automotive industry is growing and innovating in numerous directions, building its future diligently. Let’s find out something about it.
19. Although self-driving car statistics claim improved safety, around 65% of US citizens aren’t likely to purchase such a vehicle.
According to a recent poll of 2,586 US respondents, only 6% said it’s highly likely that they will buy a self-driving vehicle.
Most said that safety is their biggest concern, with only 3% answering that they would feel “very safe” using a self-driving car, while 25% marked that they’d feel “somewhat safe.”
20. Driving assistance technologies could create employment opportunities for around 2 million US citizens living with disabilities.
(NHTSA, Ruderman Family Foundation)
Driverless car statistics suggest that the popularization of these technologies can extend driving freedom and allow travel for millions more—especially considering that around 53 million people in the US live with some form of disability.
Apart from extending freedom and creating jobs, a 2016 study found that self-driving technology would also mean a whopping $1.3 trillion in savings in the long run. This total is associated with accident prevention, productivity gains, and reduced fuel costs.
21. Self-driving car statistics indicate that Waymo drove approximately 1.2 million miles in California in 2018.
Two years ago, Alphabet’s self-driving project called Waymo disclosed it’s gathered figures to California’s DMV, showing an impressive rate of 0.09 disengagements per every 1,000 miles (disengaging from self-driving mode a total of 114 times, to be more precise).
Second on California’s list is GM Cruise, logging around 448,000 miles and 162 reported disengagements.
22. In the case of electric cars, statistics showed a 1.96% US market share in 2018.
With sales jumping to 328,188 vehicles in 2018, the EV market managed to grow an impressive 63.33% in comparison to 2017’s figures. Both years, California’s EV market share was greater than that of any other US state, at 5.02% and 7.84% for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
23. New York’s EV sales figures counted 25,482 vehicles sold in 2017 and 2018 altogether.
That makes the Empire State second in terms of sales and market share growth, following California. Third on the list is the state of Washington with 19,718 vehicles sold, which translates into a sales increase of a whopping 78.98% between the two years.
24. According to the hybrid car statistics, the market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 16.35% for the 2020–2025 period.
Among the major contributing factors behind this forecasted market growth are environmental concerns due to emissions, fuel economy norms, and increasing initiatives from governments across the globe.
It’s believed that the benefits and subsidies for increasing the adoption rate of EVs and hybrids will propel the market growth even further, especially for high-performance electric cars.
25. Norway intends to eradicate the use of fossil fuels in cars and other road vehicles by 2025.
In 2018, over 31% of all cars sold in the country were entirely electric, and 65.4% of the total cars registered were either hybrid or EV, according to the Norwegian Road Federation’s (NFR) data.
How many self-driving cars are on the road now?
(Vox, Driverless Guru, Financial Times)
As of now, technically speaking, the number is pretty close to zero if we’re talking about cars for consumers for everyday use. At the moment, fully self-driving cars are still more or less being subjected to test trials, or they’re running on roads as robotaxis (over 100,000 rides have been given so far in Las Vegas).
On the other hand, back in 2015–2016, professionals and car-makers predicted that the total number of self-driving vehicles in 2020 would be around 10 million. Nevertheless, self-driving tech is still out of reach for consumers.
How much safer are self-driving cars?
(Robotics Tomorrow, IIHS, NHTSA)
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 94% of major accidents are caused by human error. There have been claims that self-driving vehicles could usher in an era of accident-free traffic.
However, a 2020 study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety estimated that self-driving technology would successfully evade serious crashes and accidents in around one-third of all instances. While this won’t mean the total elimination of traffic accidents, it’s surely a step forward in terms of safety.
Lastly, self-driving trucks have also proven to be reliable during longer test trials, according to Kodiak Robotics’ voluntary safety self-assessment.
How many cars are sold worldwide each year?
According to the data gathered from Statista analyzing car sales and trends from 2010 to 2020, numbers are on the decline. Professionals expect to sell only 59.9 million cars this year, which is a significant decrease of almost 20% YOY since 2018 when 78.9 million cars were sold in total.
In the case of these global automotive industry statistics, this downward spiral is mostly due to the globally slowing economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, experts estimated that global car sales would reach 80 million by 2019. However, it’s now forecasted that the demand for new cars will remain low throughout this year.
How big is the global auto industry?
(Statista, Statista, Statista)
Looking at the automotive industry’s most important segment—commercial vehicle and passenger car production—there’s been an unexpected slump this year. This is especially the case in terms of global passenger car sales, which are forecast to fall to 59.5 million units this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
China is considered one of the largest markets in the industry, both as a consumer and manufacturer, with a staggering volume of around 28 million motor vehicles sold in 2018.
Lastly, according to the global forecast, the worldwide automotive industry will reach nearly $9 trillion by 2030. According to the same estimates, vehicle sales will represent around 38% of that total value.
How many cars are currently on the road?
(Cars Guide, Statista)
According to some estimates, there are around 1.4 billion cars worldwide today. Based on the global population of 7 billion, the overall global vehicle saturation is approximately 18%.
Furthermore, new car statistics show over 90 million cars being produced annually over the last six years, peaking at 97 million in both 2017 and 2018.
By looking at the current state of the automotive industry, it’s easy to see that it’s facing new challenges to which it must adapt. New emissions standards, growing environmental concerns, driving assistance, and other new technologies are on the verge of transforming the industry as we know it.
As time moves forward, we will probably see more electric and hybrid cars, along with more self-driving vehicles, either as a means of product and goods transportation or as vehicles for personal use.
Pointing out exact future trends is difficult, especially in turbulent times like these, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s safe to say that these car statistics forecast a more environmentally conscious future for the automotive industry.
- Best Selling Cars
- Cars Guide
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Driverless Guru
- Driving Tests
- European Parliament
- Financial Times
- Insurance Information Institute
- Interesting Engineering
- Mordor Intelligence
- Robotics Tomorrow
- Ruderman Family Foundation
- The Atlantic