Too many cars, too little space, report warns – USA TODAY
Another report claiming we’re hitting the automotive saturation point.
This one, a global warning from IHS Automotive: “Trends in urban motorization could reduce the number of motor vehicles in use globally in 2035 by 250 million and trim new sales by 30 million units annually.”
That is, too many cars in too little space is spurring regulations limiting auto ownership and use. And that comes as worldwide factory production capacity already exceeds the demand for the foreseeable future.
The biggest squeeze is forecast in the very countries the auto industry is counting on for continued growth, the so-called BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India and China.
According to IHS, “Asian and other developing-market cities will not achieve the levels of car motorization enjoyed in the West, nor meet sales and production growth levels currently forecast by the auto industry.”
The IHS report, out today, follows one earlier this week by Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.
“Trends suggest that motorization in the U.S. might have reached a peak several years ago,” he writes.
REPORT: U.S. is car-saturated
“Recent studies have shown that — per person, per driver, and per household — we now have fewer light-duty vehicles, we drive each of them less, and we consume less fuel than in the past,” Sivak writes. “The recent increase in the proportion of households without a vehicle provides additional support for the hypothesis that motorization in the U.S. peaked during the previous decade.”
Sivak cites social and demographic factors — more people living in cities where mass transit is a good option, for instance.
“It’s all about the cities,” says IHS Automotive researcher Phillip Gott, project manager of the study, called “The Impact of New Urban Mobility on Automotive Markets and Industry.” He says that “tomorrow’s cities just cannot fit the same number of cars per person as do the mature-market cities of today.”
The report cites Beijing as an example:”Beijing, with about 130 cars per 1,000 people in its urban zone, has set an absolute cap of six million vehicles of all types that it will allow to be registered in the city. However, Beijing has already registered 5.4 million vehicles and an increase of 10 percent at most would still leave them far short of the 400 to 500 cars per thousand people ratio seen in European and American cities.”
IHS’ view is that “population growth and resulting regulations aimed at curbing traffic congestion and pollution” will kill auto growth.
Automakers already can build enough cars and trucks to meet expected demand years from now, though the plants might not be in the countries where demand will grow the most. That gives the industry a logistical challenge.
IHS adds: “Long-term revenue growth for the industry depends on successful conquest sales and new business models which engage car-as-a–service (car sharing), not just car-as-a-product, and integrate mechanized, autonomous or self-driving cars and commercial vehicles as well as virtual mobility into evolving urban lifestyles. In addition, new urban-specific passenger cars and light trucks are expected to evolve.”