The recent rise in U.S. car sales emboldened forecasters to predict that 16 million units will be made in North America this year. Some already raise a specter that was thought to be dead for nearly a decade: Capacity constraints.
“Automakers are expected to build more than 16 million light vehicles in North America this year, the region’s highest output since 2002. Two major forecasters, LMC Automotive and IHS Automotive, predict that production will rise from last year’s 15.5 million units as the U.S. economy continues to improve. “
LMC’s Jeff Schuster said:
“We’re getting close to the point where all factories are hitting full speed. We could hit a wall if this keeps up.”
According to Schuster, automakers are running their plants at close to 90 percent capacity utilization.
Note: These forecasts are for North American Production, not for U.S. sales. The U.S. sales outlooks however are not far behind.
LMC Automotive currently maintains the total U.S. light-vehicle sales outlook for 2013 at 15.4 million units.
U.S. light vehicle sales were the highest in the year 2000, when they exceeded 17 million. Sales hovered above the 16 million mark through 2007, only to crash to below 10 million in 2009. Since then, sales recovered steadily.