PwC's Autofacts Forecasts 2012 Global Automotive Assembly to Increase to 83.5 Million Units

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DETROIT, Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ Autofacts, PwC’s automotive forecasting service, forecasts 2012 global light vehicle assembly to be 83.5 million units, a 10 percent increase compared to 2011 estimates of 75.9 million units.  Although complex macroeconomic and geopolitical issues remain, strong vehicle production in the first half of 2011 is driving assembly volumes to increase over prior estimates.  Chinese and Indian markets are driving significant growth in the baseline global assembly estimates.

Japan‘s auto industry is fighting back with the majority of the country’s vehicle manufacturers and suppliers expected to be back to full tilt by September.  Japan’s faster than anticipated recovery has also contributed to the upward revision of the global assembly estimates.

The country has been rebuilding its industry over the summer months and is now on course for an output of 8.4 million units for 2011 – some 221,000 more than had been previously expected.

Autofacts also predicts that globally, total light vehicle assembly will be 75.9 million units in 2011, nearly a 6 percent increase from 2010 levels.    

“While economic uncertainty continues, light vehicle production thus far is demonstrating resilience with stronger than expected growth,” said Calum MacRae, PwC’s lead automotive analyst, Autofacts.  “Perhaps the most significant element to the third quarter forecast is the faster than expected recovery of the Japanese automotive value chain, with most manufacturers expecting full capacity to be restored by September.”

Inflationary fears and registration quotas have contributed to a slowdown in vehicle sales growth in China.  In response, the Chinese government has announced new incentives, which could boost demand in the second half of the year from the 5.8 percent recorded in the first half.  Europe’s sales environment remains weak to mixed across primary markets, but production is being supported by strong export growth to China, Russia, Turkey and the US.

China‘s coastal cities are coping with severe traffic congestion and Beijing, by example, has limited new car registrations to only 240,000 in 2011.  Automotive sales in India have also moderated. As of June 2011, the Indian market has reported 16 percent annual growth compared with 34 percent in 2010.

Sluggish economic growth, weak consumer spending and Japanese inventory shortages have caused a mid-year sales slump in the US market. While North America‘s automotive supply chain continues to address capacity constraints it is still on course for a 2011 production forecast of nearly 13 million units, a roughly 1 million unit increase from 2010.

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