Will Your Next Car Be Made in China?


Building cars is towards the top of the manufacturing hierarchy -- some countries are even known for the cars they build. If you want a good quality car, you probably think of Japan. If you want a stylish sports car, you probably think of Italy. If you want a diesel car (ahem...) you probably think of Germany. But did you know that in recent years the worldwide car manufacturing arena has been changing? Which country makes the most cars these days? The answer might surprise you!

But before we get to the data, here's a "mystery vehicle" for you to try to guess. This photo was taken by my old college buddy, Alex. Where did he take this picture, and what kind of vehicle is it? (Leave your guesses in the comments section.)

And now, on to the data analysis! ... In researching this topic, I found the data at the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) website. For each year, they provided a table in the following format:

Tables are great to have, but these tables didn't lend themselves to figuring out how things have been changing over time. Therefore I combined the data from all years available into one spreadsheet, imported it into SAS, and created a simple plot. Since six of the countries stood out as the higher producers of cars, I assigned colors to each of those lines, and made all the others light gray. I then annotated the country name at the end of each colored line.

With this graph, we can easily see things like...

  • The USA used to manufacture twice as many cars (6M) as South Korea (2M), but now both countries produce about the same number (4M).
  • Japan and USA had big drops right after the 2008 recession, and Japan has still not recovered to the 2008 level.
  • China dramatically increased the number of cars it manufactured after the 2008 recession, and has continued to increase every year since.

Now, let's use a pie chart to see the size of China's "piece of the pie" in 2015. Wow, China manufactured almost as many cars as the other top 5 manufacturers combined! You might not have guessed it, but your next car might have a "Made in China" sticker!

This blog was reposted from the SAS Learning Post. Go there to view the original..

Robert Allison, The Graph Guy!, SAS

Robert Allison has worked at SAS for more than 20 years and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in computer science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from North Carolina State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book calledSAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics.

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Re: Ready for Export
  • 5/21/2017 6:53:24 PM
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..

Kq4ym writes "While lots or cars may be made in China where there's lots of car buyers, I'm skeptical that we'll see many of those in the U.S. in the near future."

I wouldn't underestimate Chinese export and market penetration capabilities.

Incidentally, China has launched a massive $1 trillion initiative to export its infrastructure resources to help develop infrstructure in other countries. See: Behind China's $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order.

The USA could certainly benefit from Chinese investment in urban mass transit and intercity railway technology.

..

Re: Ready for Export
  • 5/13/2017 11:01:12 AM
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While lots or cars may be made in China where there's lots of car buyers, I'm skeptical that we'll see many of those in the U.S. in the near future. Of course, products will be made and sell whereever they can compete in price and quality around the world, but the sales to folks in China would certainly be the low hanging fruit for any manufacturer there, or at least selling in the Asian area of nearby nations.

Re: Ready for Export
  • 5/2/2017 8:27:23 AM
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@SethBreedlove, there was good reason for the dislike for Japanese cars when they first started appearing on US roads.  They were built for the Japanese population, Japanese roads and not quite ready to compete in the US.  They have had a lot of time to get things right and have adjusted well to the US market.  I don't doubt that Chinese manufacturers could do the same and they have the advantage of someone else having gone before them and the history of US auto makers working with them inside China.  Right now I think the biggest concern most people will have is a quality of materials issue.  In the recent past we've seen issues with toxic toys and the infamous chinesium in parts and tools that continues to spawn jokes and frustration.  I think when it comes to Chinese cars being sold in the US they will have to come in at the bottom of the market with features that rival mid range vehicles and perform flawlessly to overcome their current image problems. 

Re: Car Picture Guess.....
  • 5/1/2017 2:52:19 PM
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While it is a big number, I would like to note that exports from China were actually pretty small. Most fo the production is internal consumption.

Re: Car Picture Guess.....
  • 5/1/2017 8:48:08 AM
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@rbaz - You were right!

@Robert - that's an enormous car for the China market.

mystery photo
  • 5/1/2017 7:31:23 AM
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For those of you wondering, the mystery photo was taken in China, and my buddy says it was a Chinese version of a Suburban/Yukon SUV.

Re: Car Picture Guess.....
  • 4/30/2017 11:16:29 AM
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PC, it looks like a 2003-2006 GMC Yukon with some minor cosmetic changes. I should know because I have one.

Re: Ready for Export
  • 4/29/2017 9:43:41 PM
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@Impactnow I am a little concerned about safety considering the country's reputation for factory safety. I hope safety standards will be upheld.

Re: Car Picture Guess.....
  • 4/29/2017 5:25:43 PM
NO RATINGS

@louis -

It's some type of GM product because it looks a lot like some of the Chevy/Buick/GMC suvs. In particular, look at the Chevy Trailblazers.

Re: Ready for Export
  • 4/29/2017 1:08:40 PM
NO RATINGS

@impactnow, the auto manufacturing industry will be dramatically transformed to something that we can't accurately envision today. It will be interesting how nimble and adaptive the Chinese will be to remain viable in the field.

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