Developing countries account for a limited share of worldwide automobile production with 19.2 million vehicles produced in 2019 out of 91.8 million worldwide—that is just under 21 per cent. However, these countries contain a major part of the worldwide population, with 4.9 billion people in 2019; that is 64 per cent of the worldwide population (without China, which is not considered a developing country). In 2050, this population proportion will have increased to 71 per cent of the forecast total population of 9.4 billion people. Conversely, during that period, developed countries will see their population stagnate.
In 2019, three vehicles per thousand people were sold in developing coutries instead 37 vehicles per thousand people in the most developed countries. Over a twelvefold difference!
This gap represents a large reservoir of future activity for the automotive industry and particularly the lighting industry. We forecast a level of production in these countries in 2050 at more than 60 million vehicles, three times the current level. At that time, China should produce around 50 million vehicles, twice the current level, and the most developed countries should maintain their current level of 50 million vehicles. India should lead the developing world strongly in 2050 with around 25 million vehicles produced.
The automotive and lighting industries in developing countries substantially include the world’s leading carmakers and set makers with established subsidiaries in these countries. But there are also quite a few local independents—carmakers Maruti, Tata and Mahindra in India, Khodro in Iran, Perodua and Proton in Malaysia; setmakers Varroc, Lumax, and Uno-Minda in India, Arteb in Brazil, Odelo-Farba in Turkey, and so on. Often they started as licensees of bigger international companies; now many of them are internationalising their activity by exporting directly or in some cases buying other companies even in developed countries, as did Tata with JLR and Daewoo, Mahindra with Pininfarina, Farba with Odelo, and Varroc with the Visteon lighting activities.
About lighting equipment, there are often still some issues about its use, for instance:
– Headlight adjustment neglected, especially in older cars. Even dealerships, despite having a headlight beam tester do not know how to make the adjustment correctly.
– Burned out bulbs frequent especially in older cars / trucks.
– Misuse of headlights very frequent with the fog lights on and even constant use of high beam on highways.
– Aftermarket with lots of bad products, blue lights, low quality headlights
– More recently, the use of some low-cost LED Chinese auxiliary lights along with the low beam by many drivers, just “to look beautiful”.
For new cars, lighting products are generally still basic currently with a majority of halogen front lighting, and primitive H4 lights at that. However the technology is not so different from developed countries, just with significant lag to implementation (projector headlamps are still talked-up as a novel advance in India, for example, even if they have halogen bulbs). But LEDs are more and more used and will eventually push glowing filaments into the history books.
For the other advanced lighting technologies—ADB and µLEDs, AEB and other ADAS—they will certainly appear, but not for a long time; at least ten years and possibly closer to twenty in many of these countries. However, road safety in these countries badly lags that of developed countries, with death rates around four times higher than the best developed countries. Lighting and ADAS functions could strongly help for improvement, even if speed, impaired (drunk, etc) driving, and road infrastructure are the current priorities.
Finally, despite their difficult environment, these countries have also a strong dynamism. They use naturally the most cost-effective solutions, but now, they implement also more and more new technologies as LEDs in their new safer and stylish cars. Their race toward technological progress and prosperity is still sometimes chaotic, but they will certainly be in the next decades the most important reservoir of automotive growth.