Ford’s announcement today that the company will cut it’s Euro capacity by 15% or 350,000 units shows that Alan Mulally has shown the same courage he used to save Ford from the US auto bailout to his Euro operations. Rather than prolonging the agony of Euro restructuring like so many other players, Ford has taken a decisive step.
Despite almost two years of bluster from continental players, no other make has closed more than one plant. Even PSA, in its dire straights Continue reading →
The “China Slowdown” is running right behind the Europe morass and the U.S. fiscal cliff have been the big news for the US market. Now, August sees the China auto market rate of growth slow again, growing concern for automakers. Here are a couple of thoughts on the impact on global Auto OEMs:
The biggest concern I’ve heard is over Toyota’s two months of decline in the market; -15% for August after a -5% in July. Toyota says this is more a technical issue resulting form unseasonably big increased in July and August 2011 as it ramped local sales back up after the Japan crises. Both Toyota and local dealers dismissed suggestions that local pushback on Japan-China politics was not Continue reading →
While everyone is laser focused on the imploding European auto industry and we ponder the sustainability of the US volume recovery, there are a few things to keep an eye on that may not be top-of-mind:
1) Latin America: The meteoric growth of the Brazilian market has slowed to standstill and surrounding markets have stalled as well. While the industry has expected the flattening market, a steep rise in low-cost imports has created pricing pressure. Companies like Fiat, GM and VW who had been enjoying the tailwinds of strong double-digit margins over the past decade will feel Continue reading →
US Sales were up 16% for May 2012. SAAR comes out at around 13.8 million for the month, which threw some cool water on analysts expecting the 14+ million pace to continue. What is worrisome is that too many analysts took their numbers up on a strong April that clearly showed some flattening signs as did May. Whenever I see mid-month weakness in the numbers followed by an ultra-strong close, I see slowing demand. Jan – Apr tracked at a 14.5 million pace, and May has pulled that down to 14.3 million. While bulls had rushed to push some numbers up around 15 million, more experienced market watchers have held closer to 14 million forecasts. Why does it matter? Continue reading →
US auto sales are in today and the results are pretty interesting at first glance: At the moment, we have sales +3%, not worrying as last April was a big month and Q1 was solid as we end the first 4 months up 10%.
While I‘ll probably eat my over my low-end forecast for the year (13.5 million), April appears to be throwing some luke-warm water on those calling for 15 million this year and 16-17 soon after. As I’ve said all along, replacement demand is not linear, and the spike in recent buying is Continue reading →
When I saw that China Q1 2012 auto sales were down 1.2%, I wondered was this the “soft landing” or just the beginning. After growing 32% in 2010, the market slowed to a “modest” 5.4% uptick for 2011, Q1 may be disheartening; however, March sales were “up a tad.” Well, I had the chance last week to spend some time last week with executives from the Chinese auto retail sector and looked a little deeper with a front-line perspective.
Following some takeaways from my listening:
The PV market is and has been bifurcated. The 2010 incentives to spur growth of local brands accelerated the spread versus global brands. This explains why Continue reading →