The first automobile with a petrol engine was built by Karl Benz in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany. Benz was granted a patent for his automobile on 29 January 1886, and began the first production of automobiles in 1888, after Bertha Benz, his wife, had proved with the first long-distance trip in August 1888 (from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back) that the horseless coach was absolutely suitable for daily use. Since 2008 a Bertha Benz Memorial Route commemorates this event.
Soon after, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Stuttgart in 1889 designed a vehicle from scratch to be an automobile, rather than a horse-drawn carriage fitted with an engine. They also are usually credited as inventors of the first motorcycle, the Daimler Reitwagen, in 1885, but Italy's Enrico Bernardi, of the University of Padua, in 1882, patented a Script error: No such module "convert". Script error: No such module "convert". one-cylinder petrol motor, fitting it into his son's tricycle, making it at least a candidate for the first automobile, and first motorcycle;.Template:Rp Bernardi enlarged the tricycle in 1892 to carry two adults.Template:Rp
Until 2005, the U.S.A. was leading the world in total automobile production. In 2006, Japan narrowly passed the U.S. in production and held this rank until 2008. In 2009, China took the top spot with 13.78 million units produced. With 18.3 million units produced 2010, China produced nearly twice the amount of second place Japan (9.6 million units), the U.S. trailed in place 3 with 7.8 million units. 
About 250 million vehicles are in use in the United States. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007, consuming over Script error: No such module "convert". of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. The automobile is a primary mode of transportation for many developed economies. The Detroit branch of Boston Consulting Group predicts that, by 2014, one-third of world demand will be in the four BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Other potentially powerful automotive markets are Iran and Indonesia. Emerging auto markets already buy more cars than established markets. According to a J.D. Power study, emerging markets accounted for 51 percent of the global light-vehicle sales in 2010. The study expects this trend to accelerate.
World motor vehicle production
It is common for automobile manufacturers to hold stakes in other automobile manufacturers. These ownerships can be explored under the detail for the individual companies.
Notable current relationships include:
- Daimler AG holds a 20% stake in Eicher Motors, a 10.0% stake in KAMAZ, a 10% stake in Tesla Motors, a 6.75% stake in Tata Motors and a 3.1% in the Renault-Nissan Motors alliance. They are in the process of selling back their 40% stake (11% remaining) in McLaren Group. This process will be finalized in 2011.
- Dongfeng Motor Corporation is involved in joint ventures with several companies around the world, including: Honda (Japan), Hyundai (South Korea), Nissan (Japan), Nissan Diesel (Sweden), and PSA Peugeot Citroen (France).
- Fiat holds a 90% stake in Ferrari and a 53.5% stake in Chrysler.
- Ford Motor Company holds a 3% stake in Mazda and an 8.3% share in Aston Martin.
- Geely Automobile holds a 23% stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings.
- General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) have two joint ventures in Shanghai General Motors and SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile.
- Hyundai Kia Automotive Group holds a 38.67% stake in Kia Motors, down from the 51% that it acquired in 1998.
- MAN SE holds a 17.01% voting stake in Scania.
- Porsche Automobil Holding SE has a 50.74% stake in Volkswagen Group. Due to liquidity problems, Volkswagen Group is now in the process of acquiring Porsche.
- Renault and Nissan Motors have an alliance involving two global companies linked by cross-shareholding, with Renault holding 44.3% of Nissan shares, and Nissan holding 15% of (non-voting) Renault shares. The alliance holds a 3.1% share in Daimler AG.
- Renault holds a 25% stake in AvtoVAZ and 20.5% of the voting stakes in Volvo Group.
- Toyota holds a 51% stake in Daihatsu, and 16.5% in Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Subaru.
- Volkswagen Group holds a 37.73% stake in Scania (68.6% voting rights), and a 53.7% stake in MAN SE (55.9% voting rights). Volkswagen is integrating Scania, MAN and its own truck division into one division.
- Volkswagen Group has a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG. Volkswagen is in the process of acquiring Porsche, which will be completed in late 2011.
- Volkswagen Group has a 19.9% stake in Suzuki, and Suzuki has a 5% stake in Volkswagen.
Top vehicle manufacturing groups (by volume)
The table below shows the world's largest motor vehicle manufacturing groups, along with the marques produced by each one. The table is ranked by 2010 end of year production figures from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) for the parent group, and then alphabetically by marque. Joint ventures are not reflected in this table. Production figures of joint ventures are typically included in OICA rankings, which can become a source of controversy.
* Porsche Automobil Holding SE has a 50.7 percent share in the Volkswagen Group. However, Volkswagen Group will acquire Porsche AG, the automotive manufacturer under a new "Integrated Automotive Group". This merger/acquisition is expected to be fully completed in mid-2011.
Minor automotive manufacturers
There are many automobile manufacturers other than the major global companies. They are mostly regional or operating in niche markets.
- Georgano, G. N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886–1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985)
- "Production Statistics". OICA. Retrieved 9 Seitember 2011. Check date values in:
- "Automobile Industry Introduction". Plunkett Research. 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Paul A. Eisenstein Building BRIC's: 4 Markets Could Soon Dominate the Auto World at TheDetroitBureau.com
- Bertel Schmitt (15 February 2011). "Auto industry sets new world record". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- "Global Automotive Outlook for 2011 Appears Positive as Mature Auto Markets Recover, Emerging Markets Continue to Expand". J.D. Power and Associates. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- "World Motor Vehicle Production: World Ranking of Manufacturers Year 2010" (PDF). OICA. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
- "GM Slips to Number Two Worldwide, Ford to Fourth". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- "TTAC Announces World's Top Ten Automakers". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- "Porsche Supervisory Board agrees on the contracts of implementation" (Press release). Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
- "Volkswagen Supervisory Board approves Comprehensive Agreement for an Integrated Automotive Group with Porsche" (Press release). Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
- Nandini Sen Gupta, TNN, Feb 16, 2011, 12.56am IST (2011-02-16). "M&M seals $470m Ssangyong deal - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- Market Share Auto
- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
- All vehicle manufacturers in the world (in Dutch with English etc. translation)
- Car makes of the world, 1894—present
- Automaker Rankings 2007: The Environmental Performance of Car Companies
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