The world’s auto manufacturers produced a record 67 million new vehicles in 2006, according to a new Vital Signs Update from the Worldwatch Institute.
While global production grew 4% last year, China increased its production by nearly 30%, overtaking Germany to become the third largest producer.
China’s rise represents the most dramatic change in the world auto industry, with production there more than quintupling in the last decade. Sales within China surpassed the 3 million mark in 2005, with nearly 9 million passenger cars on the country’s roads. While this is still a comparatively small fleet, it is likely to grow rapidly in coming years, and China is expected to become a major exporter within the next four years.
America’s car addiction is becoming a global phenomenon with no sign of reversing.
With more cars on the road year after year, regulating auto fuel consumption and emissions alone is not a solution. What is truly needed is a transportation revolution. Cities from Bogotá to London are decreasing their dependence on cars, and many more cities could follow their example. We need denser cities with better land-use practices and a commitment to public transportation.—Michael Renner, Worldwatch Senior Researcher