Haig Stoddard

Industry Analyst,
U.S. Sales Post 4th Straight Annual Increase Despite Sluggish Growth in December  2
Incentive activity from November to December did not increase as much as in past years, and average transaction prices remained at long-time, if not all-time highs for most manufacturers.
November U.S. Light-Vehicle Inventory Surges From Prior Month  1
Assuming increased incentive spending at the end of the month, stock levels heading into December easily can support another 16-million-plus SAAR.
North American Suppliers Investing in Additional Capacity  2
Some suppliers are investing in additional facilities because they are confident current production levels will be sustained and because they have exhausted most of their avenues to stretch available capacity.
November U.S. LV Sales Surge to 6-Year-High SAAR 
November’s results returned light-vehicle sales close to the upward trend underway prior to hitting temporary bumps in September and October, putting the year on track for 15.6 million units.
Global Engines of Choice to Have 1.0L-1.9L Displacements
Ironically, the trend to smaller engines will not come as much in downsized cars as it will in light trucks. The majority of growth by segment will be in B- and C-size cross/utility vehicles.
October Inventory Spikes to 9-Year High 
October’s days’ supply is comparable to the totals from 2002 through 2005, a period when U.S. sales averaged 16.8 million units.
October U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Rough Out 6.4% Gain 
The government shutdown affected sales early in October, but volume picked up enough in the second half to capture most of the lost units.
North American Third-Quarter Capacity Utilization 93%
Ford was the only major automaker to reach 100% capacity utilization in the period and is forecast to top that mark in the fourth quarter.
Ford Spearheading Global Production Growth
Leading the automaker’s volume expansion will be small LVs, including A-, B- and C-size cars, car-based compact vans and small CUVs. Its production mix of small LVs will climb to 56% in 2020 from 48.5% in 2013.
September U.S. Inventory Set to Meet Fourth-Quarter Demand 3
Ford and Chrysler are the only automakers with more large pickups in inventory than a year ago, which is significant because large pickups are undergoing the fastest growth right now among all major segments.
September U.S. Sales Struggle to 37th Straight Increase
September’s 15.2 million SAAR was a 5-month low, but July-September paced at the highest for any quarter since 2007 and sales for the entire year are forecast at 15.6 million.
Europe Auto Makers to Maintain Platform Leadership Through 2020
By 2020, annual production of light vehicles based on European platforms will account for 35% of the global total, compared with 33% forecast for 2013.
August U.S. LV Inventory Sees Gain on Year-Ago 1
Light-vehicle supply ended the month at 2.917 million units, down 1.0% from July and well within the normal seasonal trend.
August U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Soar to 6-Year High
Results from Honda, Nissan and Toyota pushed the SAAR above 16 million for the first time since before the recession.
Volkswagen Global Output to Top Toyota in 2016
Additional capacity in Asia and North America will boost the German auto maker’s volume in 2016 and beyond, with new plants in China, alone, adding more than 600,000 units annually.
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