Despite the growing number of bicycles, motorcycles, coaches, trains, planes and even cruise ships in use, the automobile is still the most popular form of passenger travel. Thanks to the car’s popularity, the automotive industry has made a strong comeback from the 2008 financial crisis. In 2015, there were around 133 million passenger vehicles traveling on U.S. streets - a figure that translates into an average rate of around 415 passenger vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants. In 2015, some 14.5 million automobiles were registered in California, the country’s most vehicle populous state.
How many cars are sold in the U.S.? The number of cars sold in the U.S. went down from a staggering 7.9 million units in 2014 to a little over 6.3 million units in 2017, mainly because U.S. consumer demand shifted towards larger vehicles over the course of these three years: U.S. light truck sales increased from about 8.7 million units in 2014 to almost 11.1 million units in 2017.
The Detroit Three, General Motors, Chrysler LLC and Ford, are the key U.S.-based automakers, although Chrysler LLC is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Europe-based Fiat Chrysler Automobiles holding. In addition to the aforementioned carmakers, Tesla's market share is on the rise due to the increasing acceptance of hybrid and electric vehicles. In terms of U.S. light vehicle sales, General Motors was the most important vehicle manufacturer as of January 2017, followed by Ford, Fiat-owned Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan. About 3.9 million passenger cars were produced in the United States in 2016. Globally, Toyota, General Motors and VW are ranked as the largest passenger car manufacturers.