Recently, as to the attention given by TTAC to the spy shots of what might be or not a future Ford Ka sedan in southern Michigan, commenter Kenmore asked, “Has any other sad little runt of an econocar ever received so much attention on TTAC?”. Since you asked, I’ll offer up a brief pictorial explanation. (Read More…)
Emerging markets have been a big theme at TTAC for the past few years, with our coverage going beyond the cursory articles on automotive developments in the BRIC countries. Our articles on places like North Africa and Indonesia aren’t always the most popular, but we keep an eye on them for a very important reason. These countries are the final frontier for growth in the automotive sector.
Lamborghini has become very bullish about the Indian market. The Italian automaker launched its second showroom in the country last week and also set up a national sales agency.
GM knows where the growth is: In the emerging markets, BRICs and beyond. GM announced today it will “invest $150 million in the reactivation of its Bekasi manufacturing facility in West Java, Indonesia.” (Read More…)
An extravagant ceremony at Bangkok’s Impact Arena has seen the launch of Toyota’s new Hilux and Fortuner – key models in its developing market portfolio. The pair are products with big, tough reputations, and importantly, the profit-generating ability to match.
According to Wards Auto, global auto sales through May hit 32.62 million units, up 6.0% from the year-ago number. But as the chart above shows, the rate of growth in global deliveries has slowed dramatically over the past year-and-a-half, falling below five percent the last several months. So what’s the problem? At this point, what isn’t the problem? The US and Japan have been hit hard by the Japanese tsunami, while the once-blistering-hot markets of China and India are shrinking and growing more slowly respectively.
Collectively, markets in the Asia/Pacific region accounted for 2.35 million vehicle deliveries, equating to 37% of world sales, the region’s lowest global market share since May 2009.
In the U.S. and Canada, sales of Japanese vehicles slipped precipitously below the rest of the market in May due to supply shortages, pulling North America’s year-over-year performance 2.3% below like-2010 on a volume basis, despite an 11.7% increase in Mexico.
So where’s the good news? After a forgettable few years, Europe is back… and South America is staying strong.
Overall deliveries in Europe rose 14.2% in May, to 1.85 million units. The resulting 29.2% share of world sales was the region’s highest take since June of last year…
Double-digit growth in many of South America’s smaller markets lifted regional sales in May 27.6%, compared with year-ago, for a 7.9% share of global deliveries – a 9-month high.
Hyundai and Kia are on a tear in the European market, having recently passed Toyota to become the best-selling Asian automaker in the EU (at 605,386 units, some 50k away from Daimler’s 2010 sales). And with its first Europe-centric product coming online, aimed at the heart of Europe’s 896k unit midsize segment, it hopes to keep the growth coming. In service of that goal, Hyundai is moving European production of its iX35 (Tucson) CUV from Kia’s plant in Zilina, Slovakia, to its own factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic, and adding an extra shift according to the WSJ. And unlike many of its European competitors, Hyundai is keeping its Euro-zone production capacity on the slim side, importing the forthcoming i40 from South Korea and the i10 from India, helping to keep the Korean automaker out of the overcapacity trap that plagues its competitors. Though Hyundai has good prospects for growth in Europe, production capacity expansions are being targeted at the developing markets that show more promise for growth.
Scotia Bank in Toronto has an insightful and resourceful car analyst, Carlos Gomes. Whatever he writes is worth reading. He expects car sales to rise and the “United States and the euro zone to climb out of their deep hole.” He also expects that the developed nations are ripe to be plucked and eaten by an upstart, roughhewn crowd:
“In 2011, new car sales in China and the other BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will surpass the combined volumes of Western Europe and Japan, and account for roughly 30 per cent of global car sales.”
Here is his case: (Read More…)
A report about the automotive industry in the BRIC countries, released by the Boston Consulting Group, throws cold water on the low cost production story:
“In manufacturing, companies are generally paying a premium of 5 to 15 percent to manufacture in the BRIC countries, mainly because of diseconomies of scale and higher quality-assurance costs than they incur in the more developed markets; only in Brazil do they actually save money on manufacturing.”
Apart from this astounding revelation, the rest of the report is full of platitudes and comes 20 years too late: (Read More…)