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 […]
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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. […]
One characteristic of recessions is that recovery is always ‘just around the corner’. We can see this pattern in today’s US auto market. Since 2009, forecasters have been convinced that sales will quickly return to Supercycle levels of 15-17 million/year. But sadly, by around this time of year, it has become clear that nothing has […]
Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, has issued a wake-up call to Western auto companies about the growth of China’s exports. He warns that they “can’t count on dramatic growth in Asia to drive prosperity“, and suggests that China’s plans to increase auto exports pose an “enormous” risk. Meanwhile, US auto sales disappointed again in July. As […]
Time was when US auto sales only rarely dipped below 1.1 million/month. Since the Great Recession began, however, they have only rarely been above this level. Analysts are yet to take this change on board. So June’s 1.05 million figure (red square) was described as a ‘surprise’. Yet as the chart shows, most months this […]
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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 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.