The automotive industry includes a diverse variety of businesses and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and sale of
automobiles. It is one of the world's most profitable industries.
The term automotive is derived from the Greek autos (self) and the Latin motivus (of motion), and it refers to any type of self-powered vehicle.
In the 1860s, hundreds of manufacturers pioneered the horseless carriage, launching the automobile industry.
The United States dominated the world in overall vehicle production for several decades.
Before the Great Depression, the globe had 32,028,500 cars in use, with the United States producing more than 90% of them. At the time, the United States possessed one automobile for every 4.87 people. After 1945, the United States generated over 75% of the world's vehicle output.
Japan overtook the United States in 1980, but the United States regained the world lead in 1994. Japan just surpassed the United States in manufacturing in 2006, a position it held until 2009, when China overtook Japan with 13.8 million units.
With 19.3 million units produced in 2012, China nearly quadrupled the United States' output of 10.3 million units, while Japan came in third with 9.9 million units.The number of vehicle models in the United States has increased exponentially from 1970 (140 models) to 1998 (260 models) to 2012 (684 models).