Yesterday, the annual numbers for car sales in the United States came out, and for the most part, there was plenty of reason for people who make and sell cars to be happy and tip big. Sales were up, overall, by 13%, with nearly 14.5 million cars sold. That's a lot of cars.

I, like many other auto journalists, was looking over the numbers. But I'm not going to lie. The numbers themselves are boring. Sure, numbers are great for all kinds of things, like naming BMWs, ordering Chinese food rapidly, or telling people what you want it cranked up to. But to really see the relationships, those numbers need to turn into something else.

Here's what we want to see in these sales numbers, anyway: who's big? Who's small? Where's everybody else? If American Car Sales is a globe, who controls the most territory? So let's go with that.


Welcome to Ye Olde Planete American Car Salese. This is a complicated, conflicted world, with everyone battling for that most precious resource, sales. This map shows the big empires (GM, Ford, Toyota) and the many upstart and rising countries (Volkswagen, Hyundai, the Confederacy of Chrysler), as well as the numerous tiny protectorates and island chains.

The Map

Click the map to see the full image

Each country on the map is a car company, and each state within are that company's brands. The size of each country and state directly reflects the overall sales of that company. So, the point of this map is to show the relationship between companies based on overall sales. It's reasonably accurate, but if you really start measuring, you may find, alarmingly, it's not perfect. If you really want to check, use this formula: 1 pixel= 1.24 hectacres = 6.116 cars sold. That should help.

I'm also including the numbers I used in here; I got these from Automotive News, if you'd like to check for yourself.

There's a few Easter Eggs in the map— see if you can find them. One's island-related. Remember to click on the map to embiggen!