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Global Autonomous Vehicle Sales to Surpass 33M in 2040, IHS Markit Says

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Worldwide sales of self-driving vehicles will exceed 33 million units in 2040, forecaster IHS Markit said today.

That’s up from an expected 51,000 in 2021, IHS Markit (London) said.

“This is the direction we’re headed,” Jeremy Carlson, lead automotive analyst for IHS Markit, said in a phone interview.

Normally, he said, “The automotive industry doesn’t move super quickly.” Autonomous vehicle development, he said, is moving faster because “this is a set of technologies automakers have been developing for a long time.”

Also, he added, automakers feel pressure as Google and Apple pursue autonomous vehicle projects and ride-sharing services have become established.

“I do think the challenge from technology companies and mobility providers has accelerated it a bit,”  Carlson said.

First Deployment

IHS Markit said self-driving vehicles will initially gain a foothold through ride-sharing services beginning in 2019. The first deployments will occur in the United States, the forecasting company said.

General Motors Co. said at a November financial presentation it plans to deploy driverless cars in commercial fleets sometime in 2019.

Deliveries of driverless vehicles will increase to about 1 million units in 2025, with sales to both fleets and individuals, according to the forecast.

By 2040, 7.4 million driverless vehicles will be sold annually in the US, 14.5 million in China and 5.5 million in Europe, IHS Markit said.  The latter region will lag because ride-sharing services are “much more heavily regulated” there, Carlson said. Sales in other countries will total almost 6.3 million annually combined in 2040, according to the forecast.

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