OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Capacity Needs in the Automobile Industry in the Short- to Medium Run

This paper aims at identifying which countries and regions in the world might face structural overcapacities or capacity shortfalls in the automobile industry in the near future. It discusses the main forces that are likely to shape car demand over the next several years, including GDP growth, oil prices and competitiveness. It also presents projections for car sales and production in 56 OECD and non-OECD countries, distinguishing between temporary developments related to the cycle and more persistent patterns. The paper shows that most countries might need to build capacity in the medium run, with major differences across regions though. A comparison of projected production levels in 2020 (between 125 and 130 million cars worldwide) with actual capacity in 2012 indicates that additional production capacity of around 35 to 40 million cars needs to be built over the next eight years. The countries with the biggest projected need to expand capacity over the projection period are India and China. While car demand may be sufficient to clear excess capacities in Europe as a whole in the medium run, overcapacity may persist in a few countries, in particular Italy and France. Reducing overcapacity in these countries might be difficult without substantial improvements in competitiveness.


Keywords: automobile industry, medium-run projections, overcapacity, car sales
JEL: E21: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy / Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth; L62: Industrial Organization / Industry Studies: Manufacturing / Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
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