Big Three Automakers

January 9, 2012 by staff 

Big Three AutomakersBig Three Automakers, The Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) presented its 24th annual Automotive Outlook Conference in the Michigan Room at Cobo Center in Detroit. SAA President Anthony Pratt delivered the welcome and opening remarks.

“The SAA is celebrating 25 years this year,” he said. “We saw the industry grow in 2011, so we have optimism. We are anticipating growth in 2012. The composition of this organization is not allanlysts. We have members from manufacturers and suppliers. We refer to this event as the super bowl event. In 2011, its been a good year with 70 new members, with a total of 370 members. We had an event at the L.A. Auto Show so we hope to expand our events to the west coast. We are proud of our 25th year. ”

Automotive News Executive Editor Edward Lapham moderated the event for the evening.

Colin Langhan, U.S. Automotive Analyst at UBS, talked about the three key parts of his presentation. First, 2009 was the longest and worst decline in automotive history with a very slow recovery. “Is this a good time to buy or not?” Langhan asked.

He said there is economic uncertainty and we should remain cautious. We have a very strong credit environment, which is a strong positive indicator. The U.S. scrappage trend is rising. For 2012, the production outlook is positive. Expect further weakness in Spain, Italy and U.K. in auto production. Second, Europe is a slight drag. And third, 2012 results are improving for the Big Three.

Brandon Mason, Senior Auto Analyst at PwC Autofacts, forecasted 106 million in light vehicle markets, which is 5.3 percent annual growth rate. We continue to grow since our supportive influences outweigh the risk factors. “Sales in U.S. continue to bump up,” Mason says.

He said there were a couple of down quarters in 2011, but the third and fourth quarters rose up. By the end of the year, we should be on solid ground. Inventory was a big story in 2011. Half of the inventory loss was related to the earthquake/tsunami crisis, even though the Japanese inventory rebounded well.

Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist at General Motors LLC, said Europe is going to be a challenge in the new year. The U.S. economy could lead the world. China’s economic growth remains strong. While recent developments in the industry point to continued improvement, lessons learned from 2011 remain cautious.

“U.S. vehicle sales can be considered a bright spot in this recovery,” Mohatarem explained. “The U.S. auto industry always recovers from recessions. This time will be no different. “Americans want to drive new cars, but as the economy improves, there will be a similar recovery. 2011 was a very humbling year for economists. The global economy faces lots of challenges. The U.S. is clearly outperforming its peers. Overall, we think it will be a good year.”

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