‘Disruption of the auto industry’ is utterly fake news

Source: University of Michigan

For years, we were told that cars are on their way out. First, it was that young people lost their lust for the automobile. Then, it was that self-driving pods and Uber will disrupt the legacy auto industry, and that it will be left in ruins. It simply isn’t true.

Numbers of worldwide auto production are not out yet for 2017, but it looks like yet another record year of slightly less than 100 million units. Even if you look at it through Silicon Valley’s somewhat myopic eyes, and judge the world by the U.S. market, you will see that America’s love for the automobile is anything but falling apart.

A study by the University of Michigan shows that per capita ownership of automobiles is at about the same level as the rate for 2002 and 2003, namely 766, a rate outmatched only by micronations Monaco, or San Marino.

Looking at the charts, one sees than in a saturated market such as the U.S. , car ownership simply follows the money. In the U.S., ownership was highest in the pre-carmageddon heydays. It dropped during the recession, and it has been on the way up since 2013.

The disruption story also does not hold up when one looks at how much Americans drive. “The rate per person for 2016 is at about the same level as the rate for 1999, while the rate per household for 2016 is at about the same level as the rate for 1995,” the study says.