Worldwide car sales have stood still for the past two years, and electric vehicle technology continues to disrupt. Is the car industry at a fork in the road? Rebecca Harding investigates what is going on in the individualised transport industry
What does the automotive sector mean to you? Power? Freedom? Affluence? Drive? Prowess? Or just getting from A to B?
To an economist – and we’re not called the dismal scientists for nothing – the car sector is the bellwether for the global economy. It is the fourth-largest sector in the world in trade terms; by the end of 2018 it is estimated to have accounted for roughly 10% of world trade in goods, or approximately US$2.2trn. Nothing represents strong growth better than strong automotive sales. How do we know that the Chinese economy is booming? Because German exports of cars to China are growing. How do we know that the UK car sector is strong? Because UK exports of cars to China are growing more quickly than German exports of cars to China.