The number of vehicles in operation worldwide surpassed the 1 billion-unit mark in 2010 for the first time ever.
According to Ward’s research, which looked at government-reported registrations and historical vehicle-population trends, global registrations jumped from 980 million units in 2009 to 1.015 billion in 2010.
The figures reflect the approximate number of cars, light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses registered worldwide, but that does not include off-road, heavy-duty vehicles.
Vehicles in operation in 2010 equated roughly to a ratio of 1:6.75 vehicles to people among a world population of 6.9 billion, compared with 1:6.63 in 2009. But the distribution was not equal, even among the biggest markets.
In the U.S., the ratio was 1:1.3 among a population of almost 310 million – the highest vehicle-to-person ratio in the world. Italy was second with 1:1.45. France, Japan, and the U.K. followed, all of which fell in the 1:1.7 range.