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India to top in car volumes by 2050

S Kalyana Ramanathan in New Delhi | October 23, 2004 10:23 IST

India is projected to have the largest number of cars in the world -- 611 million to be precise -- by 2050. According to the third Bric (Brazil, Russia, India, China) report from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, this means every sixth car produced in the world will be sold in India.

The third Bric report says passenger car density in India will continue to be a third of China's until 2025. India will overtake its neighbour somewhere in the vicinity of 2050, when the country will have 382 cars per thousand people compared with China's 363 in that year.

The report also projected that there will be 14.35 million cars in India by 2010, in line with the industry's projection of adding a million cars a year from next year. It presumes a base of 9.03 million cars in 2005.

The three-stage method used for making the projections takes into account historical data to estimate elasticities of per capita use to per capita income.

Then these are combined with car firms' forecasts of per capita income to map out the projections of per capita paths of automobiles. Finally, the population projections from the census is used to scale these up into total forecasts.

The projections have something for the sceptics too. An important caveat is added in clear terms. The projections rely on continued growth in the Bric economies and the impact of supply development must be properly accounted for.

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