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World’s 10 Largest Auto Markets

The global auto industry crossed an important threshold last year when the number of cars on the world’s roads surpassed one billion. This year, despite the growing economic gloom, worldwide car sales increased 5 percent in the first half of the year, according to Scotiabank.

While sales have slowed in the developed world, emerging markets continue to grow rapidly. Russia, for example, posted a 27 percent jump in July car sales from a year earlier.

That difference in growth rates is changing the standings within the world’s 10 biggest auto markets. Once formidable car nations are seeing their positions slip, even as other countries are moving up the rankings. Auto majors are increasingly trying to capitalize on this shift, opening new plants in emerging markets and developing cheaper, smaller cars to suit the demands of new consumers.

The rise of new car nations is also reshaping the industry and its brands. India’s Tata Motors owns Jaguar Land Rover and China’s Geely owns Volvo. Chinese and Indian car brands are selling their models in markets as far away as Brazil.

We’ve put together a list of the world’s 10 biggest auto markets based on forecasted new light-vehicle sales for 2011 from the consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates. We’ve also gathered additional figures and projections from public sources such as country vehicle associations and firms such as the Boston Consulting Group and Scotiabank.

So, which countries have the world’s biggest auto markets? Click ahead to find out.

By: Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani(Posted: Sept. 12, 2011)

Photo: Sze Kit Poon | Getty Images