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Global Auto Production Dropped 16% Last Year Thanks to COVID-19

March 26, 2021
U.S. auto production alone fell by 19%, and European vehicle production fell 21% on average.

According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, global automotive production fell by 16% last year thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to suppress it. OICA President Fu Bingfeng called 2020 “the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive industry.”

Regionally, the United States saw automotive production drop by 19%, slightly more than average worldwide, and produced a combined 8,822,399 cars and commercial vehicles.

In Europe, production fell by 21% on average, with its main producing countries reporting drops between 11% and almost 40%. South America saw production fall more than 30% as Brazil took the impact of COVID hard, and vehicle production in Africa slid more than 35%.

Asian producers fared better than vehicle manufacturers elsewhere. Automotive production on the world’s largest continent fell about 10%, and the OICA reports that China’s accelerated recovery led vehicle production there to fall only 2% over the course of the year. Asia accounts for a 57% share of global vehicle production.

The 2020 results follow up on negative results from the year before. In 2019, world auto production fell 5%, ending a ten-year streak of growth. 2020, said Bingfeng, “wipes off all the growth made over the last ten years.” In all, 78 million vehicles were produced last year—a figure equivalent to the amount of cars sold in 2010.

On the bright side for automobile manufacturers, the OICA says the last few months of 2020 saw gradual recovery in consumer demand for trucks and cars.

“Demand for mobility for persons and goods is expected to remain high,” said Bingfeng, although he cautioned that it would not be the same as in the past.

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