Few experiences are more quintessentially American than jumping into a car, cranking the radio, and driving down an open road. There was a time when that image also meant driving a quintessentially American car, like a Mustang, a Camaro, or a Corvette. These are the most iconic classic American Cars.
American motorists can still do that, but more and more, the cars they are climbing into may be built by a foreign automaker. The United States used to be the world’s biggest carmaker, but America has not held that distinction in decades. Today, we’re not even in the top five. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the five countries manufacturing more cars than America, using data compiled by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.
The automobile was developed in Germany and France in the late 19th century, but the vehicle was popularized in America in the early 20th century. Mass-production techniques created by Henry Ford were used to build the Model T that put millions of Americans behind the wheel, and Ford was soon joined by competitors General Motors and Chrysler, forming America’s Big Three carmakers.
American car production peaked at 12.87 million vehicles in 1978, but American dominance has eroded in the following years because of a decline in quality, misreading of the market, and safety concerns. American car prominence was also challenged by the emergence of competitors from Japan and Germany. In 1980, Japan became the world’s leading automaker and was the top manufacturer of cars until China captured the top spot in 2009.
China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, are also two of the biggest carmakers, as rising incomes in those nations have put automobile affordability within reach of millions of people. Automakers in those countries are responding to the transportation trends and demands of car buyers in their countries by building autonomous smart cars that they believe will best serve burgeoning metropolises. Here are the most densely populated cities in the world.
Click here to see the five countries manufacturing more cars than America
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