The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's motor vehicles. In 2008, more than 70 million motor vehicles, including cars and commercial vehicles were produced worldwide.
In 2007, a total of 71.9 million new automobiles were sold worldwide: 22.9 million in Europe, 21.4 million in Asia-Pacific, 19.4 million in USA and Canada, 4.4 million in Latin America, 2.4 million in the Middle East and 1.4 million in Africa. The markets in North America and Japan were stagnant, while those in South America and Asia grew strongly. Of the major markets, Russia, Brazil, India and China saw the most rapid growth.
About 250 million vehicles are in use in the United States. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007; they burn over 260 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China and India. In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investments. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars. The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems.
In 2008, with rapidly rising oil prices, industries such as the automotive industry, are experiencing a combination of pricing pressures from raw material costs and changes in consumer buying habits. The industry is also facing increasing external competition from the public transport sector, as consumers re-evaluate their private vehicle usage. Roughly half of the US's fifty one light vehicle plants are projected to permanently close in the coming years with the loss of another 200,000 jobs in the sector, on top of the 560,000 jobs lost this decade. As a result, in 2009, China became the largest automobile market in the world.