London - Global vehicle production is falling at the fastest rate since the financial crisis - depressing manufacturing output, freight and the consumption of oil and other commodities.
Global vehicle output declined last year by 1%, the first annual decrease since 2009 and only the third fall in 20 years, according to data from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA).
But output is on course to drop much faster in 2019, with production up so far in Japan, but down slightly in the United States and plunging in other major car manufacturing centres, including China, India and Germany.
Vehicle manufacturing is one largest and most networked of all global value chains, making it central to the global economy. Carmakers are also among the world’s largest consumers of energy and raw materials, intermediate products such as plastic, steel and aluminium, and services such as marketing and advertising.
The industry is a crucial source of demand for durable capital goods, a generator of high-value exports, and a provider of high-wage middle-class employment in most countries.