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Future auto sales in the U.S.?

Posted by Bill Sluben on October 5, 2009

2010 and beyond:  what will it look like?

This from Aftermarket Business:  U.S. auto sales, on track to hit the lowest levels in decades, will begin to recover in 2010, according to Global Insight data. But it will likely be 2014 or 2015 until annual sales reach the 17 million vehicles a year seen early this decade.

In 2015, Detroit auto makers will sell around 6.5 million vehicles, just over half what they sold in 2000, Global Insight predicts.

On the production side, U.S.-based auto makers are expected to build about half the vehicles in the U.S., down from nearly 70% in 2000. Production, meantime, will grow at Toyota, Honda Motor Co. (HMC), Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) and Hyundai Corp.

R.L. Polk & Company says  U.S. light-vehicle sales are beginning to show signs of improvement, according to an automobile market research firm that forecasts sales will jump 9.6% in 2010 to 11.2 million units.

In raising its 2010 forecast by 400,000 units, said the bottoming out of the housing market, expansion in manufacturing and improved consumer sentiment were signs the economic recovery was underway.

IHS Global Insights offers this:  forecast for U.S. light vehicle sales to 10.3 million units for all of 2009 (slightly better than the 9.5 to 10 million that I predicted earlier this year).  This is up from the company’s pre-C for C forecast of 9.7 million.

For all of 2010 Global Insight estimates that U.S. light vehicle sales will come in at 11.2 million and 13.8 million in 2011.  Both are a far cry from the heyday when we saw 16 to 17 million here in the States, but the market for autos is improving. 

J.D. Power & Associates maintained its 2010 target of 11.5 million units for total sales and 9.5 million units for retail sales.

So the consensus for 2010 seems to be right at 11.2 million units sold.

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Penske Saturn deal nears completion

Posted by Bill Sluben on September 29, 2009

The tentative deal that was struck back in June to sell Saturn from GM to Roger Penske appears to be completed.  And that is great news and opportunity for what was once one of Detroit’s most iconic automotive brands.

What this news signals is that Penske will continue production of the Saturn Aura, Sky, Vue and Outlook (perhaps under a different badge?) and save the 350 or so Saturn dealerships out there that employ 20-30 Saturn people each.  That saves an approximate 10,000 jobs.

The big question with Mr. Penske’s takeover will be one of where does the Saturn brand go from here…or does it even continue on?  In other words, is this really a play to save the Saturn brand, or is it simply a strategic manuever to buy a distribution network to sell a cache of unrelated brands under?  Time will tell…

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