Mid-month schedule changes and bad weather will chop an estimated 121,000 units from December's output, while manufacturers as a whole also slashed their first-quarter 2001 plans by 6.0%.
The good news is that inventories will get much needed cutting as North American vehicle demand, primarily in the U.S., heads into a sustained decline. December's U.S. sales are heading for a third consecutive year-to-year decline, and the monthly declines are likely to continue in 2001 even if the year ends as the third best ever, ahead of 1986's 16.06 million.
Ward's estimates December North American production will tally 1.09 million units, or 90% of what was originally scheduled at the beginning of the month. The estimate in the adjoining table and on p.7 are being compared to production plans as of the beginning of the month as published in Ward's Automotive Reports Dec. 4, '00 issue and are not adjusted forCorp.'s mid-month revisions (see Ward's — Dec. 11, '00, p.5).
Nearly every manufacturer will come up short this month. Much of the lost output can be attributed to snow storms in the Midwest that closed some assembly plants temporarily and slowed line rates at several others. Not all the weather-related losses have been accounted for, butMotor Co. estimated bad weather caused a loss of 12,000 units combined in the U.S. and Canada, and Corp. lost about 1,000 units through temporary shutdowns, and probably much more through slow line rates.
Also, GM's mid-month cut took 13,800 units from its initial December plan, and DaimlerChrysler Corp.'s original slate did not include last week's shutdown of its Windsor minivan plant to retool for a future model. That accounted for an estimated loss of 5,400 units.
Meantime, the industry lopped 270,000 units from its first-quarter 2001 schedule compared to the plan published Dec. 4, including the 103,500 units GM cut when it made its mid-month revisions, plus another 12,000 in this plan for a total of 115,500.has cut 106,000 from its January-March slate, and DCC — including Mercedes — has slashed 48,000. Conversely, of America Mfg. Inc. added 3,000 units to its first-quarter plan, while Toyota Motor Mfg. North America Inc. and Motor Mfg. Corp. U.S.A. modestly trimmed 1,300 and 600 units, respectively.
In total, first-quarter 2001 North American production is now set at 4.312 million units, 10.4% below like-2000's all-time high 4.810 million. Notably, while each of the Big Three plans double-digit declines in January-March output from like-2000, Toyota is set for a 3.8% increase — 5.2% including slated output for Toyota by its joint venture with GM, New United Motor Mfg. Inc. —an 8.3% rise and is planning 28.1% higher output.
|Cars||Trucks||Total Vehicles||Net Chg. (Units)|
|Est.||% Sched.||Est.||% Sched.||Est.||% Sched.||Car||Truck|
|Total Non-Big 3||205,200||92.1||100,600||88.2||305,800||90.8||-17,600||-13,400|
|Tot. N. America||511,200||92.3||578,500||88.1||1,089,700||90.0||-42,500||-78,420|
|Est. is estimated output for the current month by Ward's. |
% Sched. is the percentage the estimate equals of scheduled production as of the beginning of the month. Trucks includes medium- and heavy-duty makes. Manufacturer totals include Mexico output.