For the past decade, manufacturers and governments all over the world have been preparing for the adoption of self-driving cars—with the promise of transformative economic development.
As autonomous vehicles become more of a looming certainty, what will be the wider impacts of this monumental transition?
Which Countries are Ready?
Today’s interactive visual from Aquinov Mathappan ranks countries on their preparedness to adopt self-driving cars, while also exploring the range of challenges they will face in achieving complete automation.
The Five Levels of Automation
The graphic above uses the Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, which details the five levels of automation. Level 0 vehicles place the responsibility for all menial tasks with the driver, including steering, braking, and acceleration. In contrast, level 5 vehicles demand nothing of the driver and can operate entirely without their presence.
Today, most cars sit between levels 1 and 3, typically with few or limited automated functions. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as certain Tesla models and Google’s Waymo. Both feature a full range of self-driving capabilities—enabling the car to steer, accelerate and brake on behalf of the driver.
The Journey to Personal Driving Freedom
There are three main challenges that come with achieving a fully-automated level 5 status:
- Data Storage
Effectively storing data and translating it into actionable insights is difficult when 4TB of raw data is generated every day—the equivalent of the data generated by 3,000 internet users in 24 hours.
- Data Transportation
Autonomous vehicles need to communicate with each other and transport data with the use of consistently high-speed internet, highlighting the need for large-scale adoption of 5G.
- Verifying Deep Neural Networks
The safety of these vehicles will be dictated by their ability to distinguish between a vehicle and a person, but they currently rely on algorithms which are not yet fully understood.
Which Countries are Leading the Charge?
The 20 countries were selected for the report based on economic size, and their automation progress was ranked using four key metrics: technology and innovation, infrastructure, policy and legislation, and consumer acceptance.
The United States leads the way on technology and innovation, with 163 company headquarters, and more than 50% of cities currently preparing their streets for self-driving vehicles. The Netherlands and Singapore rank in the top three for infrastructure, legislation, and consumer acceptance. Singapore is currently testing a fleet of autonomous buses created by Volvo, which will join the existing public transit fleet in 2022.
India, Mexico, and Russia lag behind on all fronts—despite enthusiasm for self-driving cars, these countries require legislative changes and improvements in the existing quality of roads. Mexico also lacks industrial activity and clear regulations around autonomous vehicles, but close proximity to the U.S. has already garnered interest from companies like Intel for manufacturing autonomous vehicles south of the border.
How Autonomous Vehicles Impact the Economy
Once successfully adopted, autonomous vehicles will save the U.S. economy $1.3 trillion per year, which will come from a variety of sources including:
- $563 billion: Reduction in accidents
- $422 billion: Productivity gains
- $158 billion: Decline in fuel costs
- $138 billion: Fuel savings from congestion avoidance
- $11 billion: Improved traffic flow and reduction of energy use
Transportation will be safer, potentially reducing the number of accidents over time. Insurance companies are already rolling out usage-based insurance policies (UBIs), which charge customers based on how many miles they drive and how safe their driving habits are.
Long distance traveling in autonomous vehicles provides a painless alternative to train and air travel. The vehicles are designed for comfort, making it possible to sleep overnight easily—which could also impact the hotel industry significantly.
- Real Estate
An increase in effortless travel could lead to increased urban sprawl, as people prioritize the convenience of proximity to city centers less and less.
With the adoption of autonomous vehicles projected to reduce private car ownership in the U.S. to 43% by 2030, it’s disrupting many other industries in the process.
Defining the parameters for this emerging industry will present significant and unpredictable challenges. Once the initial barriers are eliminated and the technology matures, the world could see a new renaissance of mobility, and the disruption of dozens of other industries as a result.
The Best Selling Vehicles in America, By State
From Fords in the Midwest to Toyotas on the coasts, here are the best selling vehicles in America, visualized by state.
The Best Selling Vehicles in America, By State
From Ford trucks in the Midwest to Toyotas on the coasts, the best selling vehicles in America reveal a lot about the country.
Compared to other countries with fewer highways or narrower roads, the U.S. is very much a truck-friendly country. Across the U.S., the most sold vehicle in 2019 was the Ford F-Series of trucks, primarily the F-150.
As the home of the world’s pioneer automotive manufacturers, including Ford and GM, consumers primarily purchase local brands. But that hasn’t stopped Toyota, the largest foreign manufacturer in the world, from also gaining a foothold.
This graphic uses 2020 sales data from automotive information resource Edmunds.com, breaking down the best selling vehicles in each state through new vehicle retail registration.
What Are the Best Selling Vehicles in Each State?
Despite a slowdown in vehicle sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a global chip shortage, Americans still bought plenty of trucks last year.
In fact, 48 out of the 50 states had a truck or SUV as the top selling vehicle in 2020—and most states actually had trucks taking all of the top three spots. The only two with a car topping the leaderboard were California and Florida.
|Top Selling Vehicle By State (2020)||#1||#2||#3|
|Alabama||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||Toyota Camry|
|Alaska||Ram 1500-3500||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Arizona||Ram 1500-3500||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Arkansas||Ram 1500-3500||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado|
|California||Honda Civic||Toyota RAV4||Toyota Camry|
|Colorado||Ford F-Series||Ram 1500-3500||Toyota RAV4|
|Connecticut||Honda CR-V||Toyota RAV4||Subaru Forester|
|D.C.||Toyota RAV4||Honda CR-V||Subaru Forester|
|Delaware||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Florida||Toyota Corolla||Ford F-Series||Toyota RAV4|
|Georgia||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Hawaii||Toyota Tacoma||Toyota 4Runner||Toyota RAV4|
|Idaho||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Illinois||Ford F-Series||Honda CR-V||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Indiana||Chevrolet Silverado||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Equinox|
|Iowa||Chevrolet Silverado||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500|
|Kansas||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Kentucky||Chevrolet Silverado||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500|
|Louisiana||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Maine||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Maryland||Toyota RAV4||Ford F-Series||Honda CR-V|
|Massachusetts||Toyota RAV4||Honda CR-V||Ford F-Series|
|Michigan||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Equinox||RAM 1500-3500|
|Minnesota||Chevrolet Silverado||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500|
|Mississippi||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Missouri||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Montana||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Nebraska||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Nevada||Ram 1500-3500||Ford F-Series||Toyota RAV4|
|New Hampshire||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||Toyota RAV4|
|New Jersey||Honda CR-V||Honda Civic||Toyota RAV4|
|New Mexico||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|New York||Honda CR-V||Toyota RAV4||Jeep Cherokee|
|North Carolina||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|North Dakota||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Ohio||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Oklahoma||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Oregon||Toyota RAV4||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500|
|Pennsylvania||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Honda CR-V|
|Puerto Rico||Toyota RAV4||Toyota Yaris||Toyota Corolla|
|Rhode Island||Toyota RAV4||Honda CR-V||Ford F-Series|
|South Carolina||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|South Dakota||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Tennessee||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Texas||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||RAM 1500-3500|
|Utah||Ford F-Series||RAM 1500-3500||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Vermont||Ford F-Series||Toyota RAV4||RAM 1500-3500|
|Virginia||Ford F-Series||Toyota RAV4||Honda CR-V|
|Washington||Toyota RAV4||Ford F-Series||Ram 1500-3500|
|West Virginia||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||Ram 1500-3500|
|Wisconsin||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado||Ram 1500-3500|
|Wyoming||Ram 1500-3500||Ford F-Series||Chevrolet Silverado|
The Ford F-Series was the clear leader in sales, primarily in the Midwest. With a top-selling spot in 60% of U.S. states, the F-Series was the best selling vehicle in America.
Combined with the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500-3500 series, the big three American truck brands accounted for 73% of the top three selling vehicles across all American states and territories.
Japanese Automakers in the Mix
Though American manufacturers had the best selling cars in most states, they had some overseas competition.
Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Honda had the top-selling vehicle in 11 states (and D.C.). They primarily captured car sales along the coastlines, including in California, Florida, New York and Washington, some of the most populated states in the country.
|America's Best Selling Vehicles (2020)||Type||# Times in Top 3|
Despite many cars being available for sale in the U.S., only seven manufacturers made the top-selling vehicles list in 2020.
With the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic yet to be reflected in the sales, and electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla on the rise, how will the best selling vehicles in America evolve?
The Best-Selling Vehicles in the World By Country
From American trucks to European sedans, this map shows the best-selling vehicles in the world.
The Best-Selling Vehicles in the World By Country
Each country has different preferences for goods, and vehicles are no different.
Consumers in a dense country might prefer smaller cars, while countries with wide expanses (and parking spots) open the way for larger trucks. Likewise, rugged terrain might call for vehicles that can adapt and scale quickly.
And it’s also a question of which manufacturer invested in the country. As the world’s largest automakers have raced to attract consumers in every corner of the globe, they built factories, renamed models, and even built specific cars to fit the tastes of individual countries.
This infographic from Budget Direct Car Insurance highlights the best-selling vehicles in the world, using 2019 year-end sales data.
What is the Most Popular Vehicle in Each Country?
Though the map might vary across the board, one thing is certain: Toyota’s dominance.
The Japanese automaker—which was also the most valuable automaker in the world for many years before being overtaken by Tesla—had the best-selling vehicle in 41 countries of the 104 countries tallied.
It also had the world’s best-selling vehicle in 2019, the Toyota Corolla, though the sedan only took the top spot itself in five countries.
|American Samoa||Toyota Tacoma||Truck|
|Angola||Toyota Land Cruiser J70||SUV|
|Bahrain||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Skoda Octavia||Sedan|
|Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|Czech Republic||Skoda Octavia||Sedan|
|France||Peugeot 208 I||Subcompact|
|Kuwait||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Lebanon||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Netherlands||Tesla Model 3||Sedan|
|New Zealand||Ford Ranger||Truck|
|Norway||Tesla Model 3||Sedan|
|Oman||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Papua New Guinea||Toyota Land Cruiser J70||SUV|
|Qatar||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Saudi Arabia||Hyundai Accent||Subcompact|
|Solomon Islands||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|South Africa||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|South Korea||Hyundai Grandeur||Sedan|
|Sri Lanka||Suzuki Alto||Hatchback|
|Swaziland (Eswatini)||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|United Arab Emirates||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|United Kingdom||Ford Fiesta||Subcompact|
|United States||Ford F-150||Truck|
|Yemen||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
As the best-seller in 16 countries, the Toyota Hilux truck (also known as the Toyota Pickup in North America) was the top vehicle in the most countries. It has a noticeably strong market share in the Southern Hemisphere, including in Argentina, South Africa, and Australia.
The other consistent factor was the strength of local manufacturers. Many countries with large automakers had local models as the best-selling vehicles, especially in Europe.
|Country with Local Best-Seller||Vehicle|
|Czech Republic||Škoda Octavia|
|France||Peugeot 208 I|
|South Korea||Hyundai Grandeur|
Cars are the Best-Selling Vehicles in the World
So what do car consumers currently prefer? Currently, cars have a slight edge over trucks as the best-selling vehicles in the world.
Of the 104 countries with sales tallied for the study, smaller cars often classified as “passenger vehicles” (including sedans, hatchbacks, and subcompacts) made up the majority of best-sellers, with 57 of the best-selling vehicles by country.
Meanwhile, “light trucks” or “light commercial vehicles,” which include trucks, SUVs, and vans, were best-sellers in 47 countries.
Best-Selling Vehicles by Type
- Hatchback: 12
- Sedan: 25
- Sedan/Wagon: 1
- Subcompact: 19
- SUV: 20
- Truck: 24
- Van: 3
But changing car consumption preferences are already making their mark. The electric vehicle (EV) Tesla Model 3 was already the best-selling vehicle in both the Netherlands and Norway, and other countries like China are increasing incentives for consumers to purchase EVs.
That’s not even factoring in the slowdown of travel during the COVID pandemic, more workers going remote, and the semiconductor strain on automakers. A truly post-COVID world will likely transform the map even further.
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