What are the Trends in Auto Industry?
In 2007 about 53 million new cars were sold worldwide. 15.9 million cars and light trucks were sold in the US in the same year. As gasoline and petrol prices rise, the market is getting prepared for adopting fuel-efficient options. Such a trend paved the way for hydrogen, hybrid, and electric cars. Toyota’s Prius hybrid car gained immense popularity. Toyota has set out to manufacture 48,000 Camrys hybrids annually. The demand for Toyota’s Lexus RX400h hybrid crossover is also gaining momentum. In the coming years, several companies are trying their expertise to make a mark on the evolving hybrid car market. Passenger vehicles in Europe are relying upon clean diesel engines like the ones manufactured by Mercedes-Benz.
With the rise in car production in China, it will soon take over US car users in number. China is the leading importer of petroleum to support the ever-growing demand of the automobile industry. Other countries like Russia, Mexico, and South America have also seen significant growth in the car industry in 2007.
New trends in car designs are evolving in developing countries like India. The Indian auto giant Tata Motors launched the world’s cheapest car called ‘Tata Nano’ worth around $2200 to meet the middle class’s demands. This car has been designed, keeping in mind the low budget of common people (“Automobiles and Trucks Trends”).
Total number of cars and commercial vehicles produced in Japan in 2006 was 11,484,233. The same number was 1,508,358 for Russia, 11,263,986 for USA, 5,819,614 for Germany, 7,188,708 for China and 2,572,292 for Canada (“OICA >> Production Statistics”).
The year 2008 will see a rise in the demand for eco-friendly cars, especially in the USA, which is the leading pollution causing nation of the world. The infrastructure for supporting hydrogen car is being developed. Car companies like Toyota and Honda are aiming the hybrid markets. Honda has decided to lease more vehicles to individuals to get feedback for the future.
Developing countries like India will have economical cars like ‘Tata Nano.’ China will overtake the USA in 2008 in the number of car owners.
What Company Owns what Brand?
The top 20 auto companies of the world are Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen Group, Honda, PSA, Nissan, Chrysler, Renault, Hyundai, Fiat, Suzuki, Daimler, Mazda, Kia, BMW, Mitsubishi Motors, AVtoVAZ, Subao and Tata Motors (“Automotive industry”).
BMW(Bayerische Motoren Werke) was founded in the year 1916 in Munich, Germany. In 1928 BMW acquired Eisenach vehicle factory and launched its first motorcar. The first car was a licensed Austin Seven (“Welcome to BMW Company Facts”). BMW is also the world’s largest manufacturer of luxury cars. The brands owned by BMW are BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce. The BMW sales of units in 2006 were 1,179,317 for BMW, 186,674 for MINI, and 847 for Rolls-Royce. Its biggest buyers are European Union with 37% and the United States with a 22.8% share (“Welcome to BMW Company Facts”).
General Motors Corporation was founded in 1908 and is the world’s largest automaker for the last 76 years. In 2006, GM cars were sold globally under brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Opel, and others. Around 9.1 million vehicles were sold in the year 2006 (“About GM Company Information: Corporate Information: GM General Motors”).
Chrysler was founded by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925. Chrysler, in 1960 started a model of unibody among cars that are the most significant feature of current vehicles. This allows more security and becomes one of the three leading companies in the 1960s in the United States. In 1998 Chrysler was overtaken by Diamler and named Daimler Chrysler Corporation. It’s 80.1% stocks were again sold by Diamler to Cerberus Capital Management. Chrysler Group is now an individual under the name Chrysler Motors LLC. Chrysler owns Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep. It owned brands like Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, and Smart (“Chrysler”).
Toyota is world-renowned for its cars. Toyota was founded in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. Toyota Motor Company became an independent unit in 1937. Toyota Motor Sales Co. was established in 1950. “In 1982, Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales combined into a single entity, Toyota Motor Corporation. Two years later, Toyota entered into a joint venture with GM called NUMMI, the New United Motor Manufacturing Company. Toyota owns majority stakes in Daihatsu, Fuji Heavy Industries(8.7%), Subaru, Isuzu (5.9%), Lexus, Scion, and Toyota. (“Toyota”).
What is the Role of Cars on Global Warming?
Global warming refers to an increase in the average temperature of the earth due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, methane, and nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere. Out of these six gases, carbon dioxide is the primary cause of global warming, produced primarily by the burning of fossil fuels such as diesel, petroleum, and natural gas. Cars and other automobiles have internal combustion engines that emit hot gases due to the burning of the fuel. These gases get accumulated and trap the sun rays in the atmosphere leading to increased heat on the earth.
Global warming can be devastating for the earth. It can turn fertile lands into deserts. An increase in the temperature will lead to the melting of glaciers resulting in a rise in the sea level. There are numerous islands and low lying areas that will submerge in water. Many regions will suffer droughts; others will experience massive floods, hurricanes, and storms leading to mass destruction of life.
Burning of 1 liter of petrol releases around 2.8 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and other toxic gases like nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. However, diesel emits about 2.8kg, and LPG cars emit 1.5kg of the same (“Motor Vehicle Emissions – Environment Division – Department of Tourism, Arts and the Environment”). America’s transportation sector produces 48% (i.e., around 333 million tones of CO2 in a year) of the world’s total CO2 emissions by the automobiles (“Time to Cut Pollution From America’s Autos – Global Warming – Environmental Defense”).
Different preventive measures must be taken to stop global warming. One option is the use of renewable biofuel, i.e., fuel from vegetable oils and food crops. The use of biofuels reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emissions as compared to fossil fuels. Another option is reduced traveling; a liter of petrol saved will save 3kg of carbon dioxide. Instead of using a car, the use of public transport and walking for short distances will also save fuel. Electric, hydrogen, and hybrid cars should have opted, which generate less pollution.
What are the Eco-Friendly Cars?
Cars that produce a minimal amount of carbon dioxide are categorized as eco-friendly cars. Such vehicles use hydrogen, biofuel, or electricity for power. These cars are also quieter than petrol or gasoline ones. Hydrogen, electric and hybrid vehicles are eco-friendly cars.
The advantages of hydrogen make it an attractive option. The only by-product of this technology is the water vapor and zero CO2 emissions. Hydrogen can be produced from renewable sources of energy like water, sunlight, and biological waste. Arab countries dominate fuel production, due to which other countries have to pay high prices and depend on them for fuel. Hydrogen will make many countries independent. Hydrogen is more efficient than conventional fuels; greater distances can be covered for the same amount of fuel (Swain, “The Advantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars”).
There are certain limitations of hydrogen cars. Hydrogen fuel cells are costly than internal combustion engines. Cells take time to startup in low-temperature conditions. The batteries have a low service life than conventional systems. Hydrogen is difficult to store and transport. It is also expensive to produce hydrogen in a form to be used as a fuel (“Hydrogen vehicle”).
Hybrid electric cars comprise an internal combustion engine and electric motor power-driven by a rechargeable battery. A smaller engine, along with high torque and powerful battery, is used. When high speeds are desirable, both gasoline and electric motor are used to drive the car. Only a gasoline engine is used for average rates, which also powers the batteries for later use. Such a combination makes the car more fuel-efficient and economical, cutting down the emissions to a considerable level (“Hybrid Center :: How Hybrid Cars work :: under the hood”).
Hybrids tend to cover up the limitations of vehicles based on only electric battery or internal combustion engines. There is less use of fuel, leading to reduced emissions of carbon dioxide. There is no need to recharge the battery as it gets charged by the gasoline itself during regenerative braking. There are some negatives of hybrid cars also such as the limited battery life and cost of battery change. Due to lightweight, there are some security issues in the practical designs, too (“Hybrid Car Pro and Cons”).
Many companies are set to hit the roads with their designs of the fuel-efficient hydrogen and hybrid cars. Honda will lease about 100 hydrogen cars in the US in 2008. There are only 20 fuel cell cars on US roads being used by fleet service and only two by individuals on lease. Other companies are also preparing to introduce their versions of the eco-friendly vehicles in the coming years like Phoenix Motorcars’ electric sport utility truck, Toyota’s plug-in HV, Honda FCX Clarity fuel-cell car, General Motors’ Chevy Equinox fuel cell and all. The companies aim to lease rather than sell to get the feedback (“Top 5 Green Cars that Envision the Road Ahead | Green Car .com”).
Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are the two best-selling hybrid vehicles in North America. Toyota has sold about 120,000 Priuses since it was launched three years ago, and around 2,000 Insights are sold every month (“More eco-friendly vehicles in the near future”).
At present times, eco-friendly cars are costly to afford. Companies are introducing new technologies to make cars cheaper. Companies like Honda have leased their innovations to get feedback. The success of these cars depends on the availability of the resources supporting their operation like hydrogen fuel stations, powerful batteries, and their affordability to the common man.
What are the Pros and Cons of Leasing a Car?
A leased car is available for a limited lease term; the user does not own it. A monthly lease amount has to be paid to the original owner of the car. As more and more fuel-efficient technologies are being developed, cars are getting expensive to buy. There is a wide range of people who prefer leasing a car than buying one. Leasing has several advantages. Users can drive a new car every two or three years as the lease term is over, which will be too costly if one has to buy a new car every time and manage to get rid of the old one for a reasonable price. Monthly payments for leasing are much less than the loan payments for buying. No or very minimal down payment is required. There is no need to worry about the maintenance and expensive repairs as the manufacturer’s warranty covers all. Sales tax paid for a leased vehicle is also very less. Shortcomings of leasing are also numerous. The lease term cannot be terminated earlier than agreed upon. If done so, an extra fee and the remaining charges must be paid to the owner. Lease puts a limit on the miles one can drive. Additional charges have to be paid if the miles limit is crossed at the end of the contract. A leased car cannot be personalized according to the choice. Leased vehicles should be treated well and returned in good condition; every scratch has to be paid for. Although loan payments for owning a car are huge, after few years, one can relax about the fees, but in case of leasing, one has always to pay (“Car Leasing Not Right For Everyone. Should I Lease, or Not?”).
Leasing like everything else in life has its advantages and disadvantages. It is our personal choice to utilize it or not.
What are the Benefits and Limitations of Owning a Car?
Car is an absolute necessity these days. Buying or owning a car has several benefits. A large payment is required for purchasing a new vehicle, but after some time, there is no need to worry about the fees once the loan is over and the car is owned. There is no agreement or bond of any type. There is no limitation in the usage of the vehicle. No need to worry about the miles one can drive. Own car is customized as desired. It may be repainted in any color. Any modifications or additions can be made without any interference or botheration—no concern of wear and tear of the car. An old car can be sold anytime without any hassle (Pareto, “Pros And Cons of Leasing Vs Buying A Vehicle”).
As the value of a new vehicle depreciates slowly in the first year, it ends up being very expensive in the pocket. However, if we keep the car in good condition, then after few years, we can still sell it for a reasonable price and recover a part of the value spent (Foreman, “Leasing versus Buying a Car”).
The major limitation of buying a new car is the substantial down payment and monthly payments afterward. Buyers may have to opt for financing the vehicle, which results in much higher fees than the actual cost of the car (Pareto). The selling of the old car is also a headache. One cannot enjoy different and expensive cars after short terms like a year or two. To get the benefits of owning a vehicle, you must hold it for a pretty long time. The decision about buying a car should be made, taking into account all the factors.
What are the Pros and Cons of Buying a New/Used Car?
Feeling of getting behind the wheels of a brand new car, having the hottest features, a new number plate, and equipped with the latest security trends is incomparable. However, many factors deserve mention while deciding whether a new or a used car is more attractive.
Pros of buying a new vehicle are:
- A new car is covered with a warranty, and all the repair costs are covered.
- Buying a new car is risk-free as compared to the used one.
- Interests in loans for new cars are lower.
- New cars come with the latest security features and the trendiest colors and designs.
- It is always easier to find buyers for reselling a new car.
- Buying a new car offers a wide range of choices and alluring discount schemes.
There are several cons to buying a new car.
- New cars are costly to buy. If certain features are to be installed, cost shoots up immensely.
- Loan term on a new car is longer than the used ones.
- A new car faces massive depreciation during the initial years. Some cars lose 50-75% of their original value after a few years of hitting the roads.
Used cars can save a lot of money when selected smartly. They can offer several advantages as:
- Used cars are considerably cheaper. Buying a used car saves a lot of money.
- Less payment goes for insurance and tax for a used car.
- Used cars are reliable enough when appropriately maintained.
- A used vehicle with installed features can be much cheaper than a new car with the same equipment.
The drawbacks of buying a used car cannot be neglected either.
- Choice is limited when buying a used car.
- Risk is involved while buying an old car, as there is no information about the car’s inner state.
- For used car repair costs are in your pocket, especially if the car is subjected to wear and tear and proper care is not taken by the earlier owner.
- Many parts may have to be replaced soon after buying a used car.
- Used cars can lack in the latest security features available in the new models of the same vehicle. (“Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car”).
Considering all the pros and cons, a smart choice must be made for buying a car as it is a valuable asset.
What are the Effects of Cars on Society?
Cars have evolved from status symbols to absolute necessities. They are the primary mode of transport in the developed countries, and the developing countries are catching up with the pace. Cars have made our lives comfortable and convenient. Every step is being taken to facilitate travel by cars. The states are developing a more structured road and parking network. Laws are created and modified to support the growing transport culture. A lot of time is saved while traveling. Many industries were born after the automobile revolution. As the need for the cars grows, the production of other materials used to manufacture and support them has also shot up like petrol, gas, and steel. The adverse effects of the vehicles are of utmost worry. The depletion of fossil fuels like petrol, coal, and air pollution caused by the emission of harmful gases is a source of concern. The detrimental effects of cars are gaining the attention of environmentalists around the world. The burning of fossil fuels in vehicles leads to the emission of harmful gasses like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, causing a greenhouse effect. The earth’s average temperature is increasing due to the greenhouse effect, which will lead to mass destruction of life on earth due to natural disasters like floods, droughts, storms, hurricanes, and all.
People prefer cars for even short distances. Nobody prefers walking any longer. This has become a severe health hazard. While walking, a person meets several persons on the way and socializes. Due to mobility in cars every time, people do not know and interact with their neighbors any longer. Car accidents are the primary cause of deaths and injuries at present times. Pedestrians have to be alert always to protect themselves from a speeding car. Cars with all their negative and positive aspects have become an integral part of our lives. It is difficult to imagine transportation without cars (“Effects of the automobile on societies”).
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