Haig Stoddard

Industry Analyst
WardsAuto
Articles by Haig Stoddard
U.S. Market Continues to Ride on Large Trucks in May
Sales of all large trucks, including luxury versions, increased 20.3% in May. Large SUVS and pickups led the way with gains of 23.9% and 23.6%, respectively.
Record First-Quarter North American Capacity Utilization; 12-Month Average to Climb
Ford and Nissan are the two biggest reasons industry capacity utilization is running at 100% or more, but they are getting a lot of help from manufacturers with only one or two facilities, nearly all of them on 3-shift/crew schedules.
April U.S. Inventory in Line With Rising Demand  1
Inventory levels usually fall from March to April, but the increase is not a red flag because month-end days’ supply of 64 is slightly below average for this time of year, indicating demand is growing.
U.S. Sales Hit Bump, But Still Gain Traction in April
Large trucks continued to make headway last month, especially pickups, as they rode the wave of growth in the housing and construction sector and enjoyed a boost from relatively stable fuel prices.
WardsAuto Boosts North American LV Production Outlook Through 2014
Light-vehicle output for 2013 is forecast to increase by 105,000 units, with gains at Honda, Chrysler and Ford overwhelming cuts at General Motors and Volkswagen, while 2014 should see a 200,000-unit hike.
Europe Production Forecast Slashed as Sales Crisis Deepens
Europe’s biggest market, Germany, reportedly posted a March decline of 17%, worsening its 10.0% drop in the first two months of 2013, while Russia, the region’s second-biggest market, saw its first sales slump in 36 months.
Lean U.S. Inventory Could Mean More Production in Second Quarter 
March ended with a 62 days’ supply of domestic vehicles, well below the 70 days’ best for this time of year and considering the current pace of market growth.
Large Trucks Spur March U.S. Sales to 31st Consecutive Gain
Large CUVs doubled year-ago’s volume on major gains from GM’s refreshed trio of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, plus demand for the Mazda CX-9 and redesigned Nissan Pathfinder.
North American Production Shifts to Steady Mode
The next two years will be marked by overtime and manufacturers matching capacity to rising demand. But there will be typical plant downtime for inventory control of slow-selling vehicles, as well as production shutdowns for major redesigns.
Global Takeover: Emerging Economies to Dominate World Production, Sales
A WardsAuto/AutomotiveCompass forecast calls for a combination of developing and emerging markets to produce more than half the world light-vehicle volume for the first time in 2013.
February U.S. Sales Continue Climb to Pre-2008 Totals
The results translate to a 15.3 million SAAR, nearly even with the prior month’s 15.2 million but well above year-ago’s 14.4 million.
North American Light Vehicle Output to Rise 3.2% in 2013
Driving the higher production forecast is an increase in WardsAuto’s overall LV sales outlook, pushed up by some 300,000 units to 15.3 million, as well as some fine-tuning in demand at the vehicle-line level.
North American Auto Makers Build to 97% Capacity in 2012
Last year’s rate was the highest since WardsAuto began tracking the data in 2005, well above 2011’s 83.4%, and the most recent trough year of 2009, when manufacturers built to just 51.9% of their capacity.
Western Europe Vehicle Production to Struggle as Asia-Pacific Output Climbs
Growth in Western Europe will resume in 2014 with a 1.5% increase. However, the region is not expected to come close to its pre-recession output of 16.0 million units in 2007 through at least 2019.
U.S. Sales Start 2013 With 5-Year January High
Last month’s 15.2 million SAAR built on the momentum of fourth-quarter 2012’s 15.0 million-unit total. It was the best January since 15.5 million in 2008 and well above year-ago’s 13.9 million.
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