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The Automotive Industry and Global Trade

In the United States, one city is typically synonymous with the automotive industry. It’s challenging to think of an American made car without thinking of Detroit, Michigan, and in recent years the financial trouble the automobile giant has endured. Though foreign manufacturers in Japan and Korea have gained strength and drivers in the US, it doesn’t necessarily mean US automakers are done. MSNBC reported in late 2011 that the Big 3 in Detroit – Chrysler, Ford, and GM – enjoyed a nearly 30 percent increase due to a demand in sports utility vehicles and trucks.

Quick Facts About the Automotive Industry

Since 2000, an average of 48 million passenger cars alone have been manufactured annually around the world.

According to Worldometers, China produces one of every four new cars, and more than half of all cars are produced in Asia and Oceania.

Of the approximated one billion passenger cars on the road around the world, close to 25 percent of them are registered in the United States. (Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers)

According to Businessweek, the top selling car in the world is the Toyota Corolla, with sales of well over 35 million.

Major Exporters of Automobiles

While China is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger vehicles, the country is not necessarily ranked high among top global exporters. The International Trade Centre recently put out a report on top automotive exporters, with the following leading the pack:

Germany – The roots of the German automotive industry date back to the late nineteenth century and the various patents owned by Karl Benz. Where in that time the country produced barely a thousand cars a year, now over five million are manufactured. Popular German brands include Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, and Porsche.

Japan – Gasoline-powered vehicles have been built in Japan early as 1907. Despite natural disasters that threatened the nation’s economy, Japan has worked to maintain its place among top car producers and exporters. Toyota, one of the top selling brands of all time, is based in Japan, as are Nissan, Honda, Mazda, and Subaru.

The United States – The US auto industry took a hit in recent years due to the economy. Through a combination of asset liquidation and government funding, the major brands (Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors) have worked to stay afloat. Despite this issues, the US remains a top producer with over seven million cars made on average in the country.

Republic of Korea – Over the last decade, South Korea has established itself as an automotive power thanks to an association between Daewoo Motors and GM, and Hyundai’s presence in the US with a major assembly plant.

Canada – While the country has no major native brand, Canada is important to the automotive industry by virtue of the many plants established by foreign brands, including Ford, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.

Major Importers of Automobiles

While many countries produce domestic brands, automobile imports remain strong in economies that seek certain qualities, such as fuel efficiency and safety features. Among the top importers of automobiles:

The United States – Of the top brands sold in the US in the last year, many names bring to mind manufacturers from other lands: the Toyota Camry and Corolla, the Nissan Altima, and the Honda Civic and Accord.

Germany – While German brands dominated domestic sales in 2011, there is enough of a demand for foreign models to make Germany an important importer. Ford, Skoda (based in the Czech Republic), and Hyundai are popular names.

United Kingdom – Luxury is often synonymous with the British automotive industry. Aston Martin, Bentley, and Rolls Royce are three makes manufactured here, though Ford, Volkswagen, and the French Peugeot are seen more often on the roads.

Italy – Italy is known for the Fiat and Ferrari, but foreign makes like the Ford Fiesta, the French Citroen C3, and the Volkswagen Golf are also in demand.

France – The French appear greatly committed to domestic brands, particularly Renault and Peugeot, but foreign models from Ford, Volkswagen and the Romanian Dacia are gaining ground in the last year.

The Aftermarket

Equally important to the automotive industry is the manufacture and sale of auto parts and accessories, commonly known as the aftermarket. Sub-industries relevant to automobile sales may include products like tires and paint, stereo and GPS, engines and chemicals needed for operation, leather and vinyl for seating and safety features. According to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), the aftermarket in the US alone totals over $250 billion.

Though faltering economies and natural disasters have given the international automotive industry a number of challenges, one can conclude sales are destined to remain strong so long as the need for personal transportation remains. How and where people will by their cars may change over time as considerations for eco-friendly features grow in demand, but so long as people continue to buy automobiles the global industry will continue to gain speed.

5 Automotive Industry Trends Which Will Put Pedal to Metal

A new technological decade has unfolded, and businesses are gearing up to keep pace with the emerging trends and evolving user requisites of this era. Industry giants are claiming to have their strategies in place, in order to mitigate any risks which the year 2013 may pose. But are all industries indeed ready?

As of March 2013, the US automotive industry has recorded a sale of 3,689,089, but will the pace be maintained throughout? Are mobility firms prepared for the next decade? In order to determine this, automakers will need to keep an eye in the emerging trends of the industry and adopt them into their business models. Here are 5 key trends which every mobility firm must be mindful about as it strategizes for the upcoming financial year.

Governments will regulate the need for safer and cleaner transportation. As far as secure individual mobility is concerned, governments are currently focusing on three core areas- environmental compatibility, preservation of resources and safety. This will prompt original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to render a diversified range of safer and cleaner vehicles, especially zero-emission transportation. While, consumers will weigh their vehicle-buying decisions based on penalties and incentives at their disposal.

New players will set foot in the automotive sector. The evolving consumer needs, introduction of Automotive IT solutions and advancing technology have paved way for new entrants to set foot in the mobility market. Even non-automotive firms are rendering services like mobility integration, car-sharing and ‘black box insurance’ based on usage, which decides the premium limit based on electric vehicle integration, real-time evaluation of driving performance and advanced car entertainment systems. The evolution of these new business models will allow the new players to become an integrated part of the traditional automotive value chain.

Automotive marketing will get an edge with social media initiatives. The marketing trends in the automotive industry have witnessed a major shift. From showcasing a gleaming car in a 30-second slot, the means of marketing have become more social. Lately, consumers have been doing a thorough research before deciding upon which vehicle to invest in. Social media platforms have facilitated the access to a plethora of information, including perceptions and opinions of other consumers. Buyers are resting their decisions on reviews which they acquire from influential blogs and websites, other consumers and news features- sources on which the mobility firms can’t exercise any control. At the same time, OEMs are harnessing social platforms to develop closer bonds with consumers. They are adapting to the paradigm shift and utilizing it to market their products to a wider audience base.

OEMs will look forward to rationalizing their portfolios. Post surviving the recession blues, most OEMs will shift their focus from volume to sustainability and profits. Emerging OEMs will look forward to climbing up the scale as soon as possible, by either acquiring in their home market or eyeing the developed nations, in order to build a global presence.

Globalization of the sector will result into emergence of new risks. Globalization is paving way for new risks and OEMs are continuously devising radical operational strategies in order to mitigate these risks. Whether it’s the volatile prices of raw materials and misalignment of demand and supply, or it’s the shortage of qualified workers and changing regulatory prices, automotive firms are facing a reality check pertaining to their globalization efforts. In the wake of these challenges, industry must gear up to implement mitigation strategies in order to simplify the adaption of the value chain. And implementation of automotive software solutions is being viewed as one of the prime solutions to these challenges.

Planning is the key to success in the times to come. The automotive industry needs to study the evolving trends circumspectly and prepare their business strategies accordingly.

How to Invest in the Right Automotive Tools and Automotive Equipment

If you own or operate an automotive service center, then you know the importance of keeping costs low. Not only is this important to you, but in a day where fuel costs are rising, and insurance premiums aren’t getting lower, this is even more important to your customer. Car owners that are looking to have their vehicle serviced are doing so in an economy today that is tough. What they want and need from a good service center is low costs, quality parts, and mechanics that can get the job done right the first time. An auto service center is only as good as its reputation, and this is an industry where the stigma of con artists hoping to make a quick buck is high. You don’t want that to be you if you want your service center to be busy. You are in the business of making people’s lives easier, by providing quality service that keeps their vehicles safe, and their wallets in good shape. How you do this is by investing in the right automotive tools and automotive equipment to keep your costs down. When your costs are down, you can pass those savings on to your customers who will not only keep coming back to you, but send you everybody they know as well.

Customer satisfaction starts with having the right automotive tools. Investing well in these tools is the most important start to increasing your customer satisfaction. You will keep a large client base and a busy shop by ensuring your mechanics are superior, and are using superior tools and equipment. The best way today to find superior automotive tools and equipment is by shopping online and comparing prices. You don’t always want to go with the lowest costs, as very often these costs translate into poor quality. You want a parts and equipment provider that has stood the test of time in both of the same things that are important to you, quality AND cost.

There are a number of different automotive tools and equipment you will need in your service center. Investing well will go a long way towards keeping your shop open and busy. When you buy the wrong tools, or order poor quality parts, your business will suffer. Items such as auto lifts, air compressors, lubrication, wheel balancing, tire changers, and service and exhaust equipment just to name a few. The most popular forms of auto lifts are two posts, although you can purchase four posts or mid rise or turf products as well. Safety standards will be ensured by the manufacturer. Air compressors can be run on either electric or gas power, and in some cases diesel. These are just a few of the examples of standards to look for when purchasing automotive equipment.

When you are shopping online for automotive tools, you want a supplier with a wide range of product choices in each of these categories. This will enable you to choose the quality you need and want to run a successful service center. Distributors that offer minimal choices may give you the best deal, but they may not give you the best product. You also need a distributor that has stood the test of time in their business. Businesses that have only been open for a few years may not have the quality standards you seek. At the end of the day, when you buy automotive equipment, you are buying equipment that will keep others safe on the road. It is an investment that will lead to your long term success.