Though the most optimistic analysts forecast that U.S. vehicle sales will rise to more than 14 million in 2012, that's a far cry from 17.3 million at the turn of the millennium, a company statement reads.
The automotive industry is still very much in a state of flux where rewards will flow to automakers and automotive parts suppliers who develop new capabilities that set them apart from their competitors.
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That insight is included in the 2012 Automotive Industry Perspective released by consultants Booz & Company.
The report offers the company’s assessment of the current business environment for automobile manufacturers and suppliers, and what the future might hold.
The report says the past year held mixed results for U.S.-based automakers and suppliers, and left unanswered questions about the future direction of the industry.
In 2011, U.S. light car and truck sales will exceed 12.5 million, a nice bump from 11.6 million in 2010 and 10.4 million in 2009.
“And though the most optimistic analysts forecast that U.S. vehicle sales will rise to more than 14 million in 2012, that’s a far cry from 17.3 million at the turn of the millennium,” a company statement reads.
Last year’s U.S. sales figures might have been higher if not for the tsunami and earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand, which forced Toyota, Honda, and, to a lesser extent, Nissan to curtail production in virtually all of their assembly plants around the world. Auto sales growth is far more rapid in emerging nations such as China and India, with average annual sales gains since 2001 of 23 percent and 15 percent respectively.
Booz & Company says all of this should be good news for U.S. automakers, which have restructured their operations to be profitable at lower volumes in the U.S. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler gained market share at the expense of the Japanese manufacturers, and the Detroit Three have now posted several quarters of consistently strong operating performance.