China looks set to become the world’s largest auto manufacturing region in 2013, with a new report suggesting the nation could surpass Europe by 1.3 million vehicles this year.
According to business paper The Financial Times, Europe's depressed economic situation will expedite China’s move to the number one spot - an ascendance long predicted for the booming nation.
In 2012, Europe produced 18.9 million cars and other light vehicles, compared with 17.8 million in China.
This weighting should reverse in 2013, the report estimating that China will produce 19.6 million vehicles compared with 18.3 million in Europe.
The European estimate includes non-European Union nations such as Russia and Turkey, with their projected market growth compounding the significance of China’s ascendancy.
These estimates are based on advice from IHS, LMC Auto and PwC consultancies and UBS and Credit Suisse investment banks.
Also predicted is a 2.2 percent growth for the worldwide industry as a whole, compared with 4.9 percent in 2012.
The car industry is one of the best indicators of global economic conditions, accounting for approximately AU$1.24 trillion in worldwide spending per year.
If these estimates prove accurate, European production will account for 20 percent of worldwide automotive production in 2013, a significant drop from its 35 percent proportion in 2001 and near 50 percent in 1970.
China’s estimated 2013 production would represent a tenfold increase over its 2000 figure, and its global share will have increased from 3.5 percent to 23.8 percent over the same period.