Special Coverage

Management Briefing Seminars

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Global vehicle production will grow at an average annual rate of 3.7% between now and 2013, with small and midsize vehicles leading the way, an industry analyst says.

Mike Robinet, CSM vice president-global vehicle forecasts, reports his firm’s finding at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

Robinet predicts markets in Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, China, India and South America will account for 70% of the growth in production volume over the next five years.

North America, Japan and Western Europe will remain strong producers but won’t grow as fast as other regions.

Looking at vehicle segments using European classifications, Robinet forecasts sales of B-segment cars, such as the Honda Fit/Jazz, will account for 30% of global sales five years from now.

Midsize C-segment cars, such as the Ford Focus, will claim a 29% share. Cross/utility vehicles will account for a 23% share by 2013, he predicts.

Capacity won’t grow as fast as production – at 2.4% yearly – due to better utilization, Robinet points out.

He says plants that produce a single model, such as Ford’s shuttered Atlanta facility that only built the previous-generation Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, are “dead,” as auto makers increasingly turn to assembly of several different models on the same line to react more quickly to shifting market demands.

That’s paramount to maintaining full production, the key to profitability, he underscores.

CSM research shows the number of global platforms geared for production of 50,000 units or more will drop from 192 in 2005 to 168 by 2013.

“There’ll be more production on fewer platforms but more complexity because of growth in equipment and options,” he says.