Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Autos and Emerging Markets

The AP details:

U.S. auto sales struggled to gain ground in November and big improvements aren't expected until people stop worrying about losing their jobs.

Sales were flat compared to last November, according to Autodata Corp. Even higher incentives couldn't push the needle much beyond the dismal lows seen a year ago, when a credit freeze and the financial meltdown kept car buyers at home.

Fuel-efficient cars showed continued strength, as did crossovers, which are as roomy as SUVs but are built on lower car frames, bolstering fuel economy. Truck sales were again weak.

Last month's big winner was South Korea's Hyundai, which posted double-digit sales growth. Sales at the top three sellers in the U.S. — General Motors, Ford and Toyota — held steady, while Chrysler struggled for yet another month.

Sales were down 11 percent from October. But Jeff Schuster, executive director of automotive forecasting for J.D. Power and Associates, said the industry is encouraged by the seasonally adjusted sales rate, which takes into account perennial factors like higher sales in the spring and summer. That rate has been climbing each month since Cash for Clunkers ended in August, he said.

The adjusted rate was 10.9 million in November compared with 10.5 million in October.

So is the market stabilizing? In aggregate, yes. But, as can be seen with November sales it is divergent among the haves (Hyundai) and have-nots (Chrysler).



But, it has stabilized at a MUCH lower base (this will not help with all the excess capacity).



So is the auto industry dead? Not by a long shot. It just doesn't happen to necessarily be "driven" by those that aren't in need of a new car (U.S. drivers SHOULDN'T be swapping in their "old" wheels every three years), but those that are demanding vehicles (i.e. those that don't have a car / NEED an upgrade). One easy example is China, which not only is growing, but is now LARGER than the U.S. market. Per the WSJ:
China accounted for a quarter of the global automotive industry sales in November, the highest-ever proportion, as manufacturers intensified their marketing in that country while shifting away from slower growing markets.

General Motors Co.'s top sales analyst Mike DiGiovanni said Tuesday that industry auto sales in China rose 93% in November compared with the same period last year.

And India per Livemint:
Driven by the buoyancy in the economy, coupled with demand because of the festive and marriage season, auto sales in India, Asia’s third largest market after China and Japan, continued to race ahead for the 11th month in a row. The high double-digit growth registered by most auto makers in November mirrored growth in the nation’s economy. In the three months to September, India’s gross domestic product grew a better-than-expected 7.9% from a year earlier, the government announced on Monday.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, India’s biggest car maker, which saw sales jump 60%, said some of the growth was on account of the base effect. “People should not be misled by this,” said Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager (sales and marketing) at the firm, adding that the growth was also a function of the weak sales base of last
November.

Maybe this whole "Emerging Markets will drive the global economy going forward" isn't so improbable this time around.

Source: Autoblog