The warnings keep coming about the underlying health of the US auto market. But, as with the subprime housing crisis, nobody wants to listen: Last October, the US Comptroller of the Currency warned that some activity “in auto loans reminds me of what happened in mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the crisis“ Yet auto […]
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Something strange is happening in the European auto market, as the above chart from the industry association shows: Normally there are seasonal patterns, with March seeing the highest sales of the year But the trend of increase or decline is normally fairly stable in either direction This year, however, both March and now June have […]
May was “another fantastic month for US auto sales”. Or, it took the industry “one month closer to an inevitable downturn”. All depends on which analyst you talk to: Ward’s Autos called May’s sales the best since July 2005 LMC Automotive suggested growth rates were slowing, and could possibly even contract next year It also depends […]
Major problems are developing in the US auto market. The critical issue is that companies have been adding capacity since 2009 on the basis that demand would return to SuperCycle levels. But it hasn’t. The result is that the mass market has become more and more competitive. Only sales into the high margin luxury/pickup segments are actually […]
August is a holiday month for Europe’s statisticians. So we had to wait until yesterday for a combined summary of July and August’s EU auto sales. As the chart shows, they indicate a new slowdown is underway after the more encouraging volumes at the start of the year: Sales were up only 5.6% in July and 2.1% in August (red square), […]
Low growth and low-cost have become the dominant features of Europe’s auto market. Europe’s modest rise in auto sales continued in June, with volumes up 4.5% versus 2013. But as the auto association reminds us, this “is the second lowest level in the month of June since reporting began in 2003“. And the detail of the […]
The key to forecasting China’s auto demand since 2008 has been the level of bank lending, as the chart above shows. This was critical in making China the world’s largest auto market. Official data shows average disposable income was just Rmb 10k ($1600) in H1 2014, making it impossible for most people to buy a car out of income: […]
The blog is awarding itself a pat on the back this morning, as its forecast last month for the US auto market seems to have proved more accurate than those of the experts. Under the heading ‘US automakers increase incentives as sales fail to boom’, it forecast: “The blog therefore suspects that March will be […]
This month is likely to be a very good time to buy a new car in the US. The reason is that auto manufacturers had believed that a recovery in consumer spending and the economy had become inevitable. Thus they had built inventories of new cars in anticipation of the sales rush. These are now […]
Every now and then, genuinely good news comes along in terms of consumer demand. Today is one of those days. As the chart above shows, US auto sales in March (red square) were the highest monthly total since March 2007. They also followed relatively strong sales figures for February, which adds to the good news. […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.