Where have all the parties gone?: sentiment slumps with auto execs, but it’ll be better next year

Interesting report today in Automotive News from KPMG that shows that business confidence of auto execs has taken a tumble this quarter. With debt crises in Europe, disasters in Asia and looming debt debacle in US this month, I am not surprised.

Also, not surprising is the optimism for next year.  It’s a little bit of the “sun will come out tomorrow, ” along with the reality that 2012 will be up, but we still don’t know how much.  Makes it hard to plan hiring and plant schedules.  What it shouldn’t do is impact R&D and Capex in an industry that plans and spends 3 years out.

This is largely a symptom of my opinion that US and EU auto markets are going to perform at low end of the window in the coming year, despite a lot of cheerleading over what looks to be a good November US SAAR.  2012 will be up, but we are a LONG way even from the conservative post crash forecasts of a “full recovery.” Urge caution if you are relying on the cyclical upturn to realize your forecasts!  But there are still a lot of good stories if you look at OEM’s continuing to tidy up the OPEX side and Tier suppliers consolidating positions.

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