Two days ago, we heard that TrueCar expects a whopper of a November. Now, Kelley Bluebook and Edmunds have submitted their forecasts also. All agree: This will be a whopper of a November. More or less. (Read More…)
TrueCar, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds have submitted their sales projections for October. They agree (as far as they supply numbers) that the market should be up by more than ten percent in October, that Ford and GM will underperform, that Chrysler will continue to be strong, and that Volkswagen and Toyota will continue delivering stellar growth numbers. (Read More…)
The folks over at Allpar are concerned about Dart sales. The initial batch of Darts were released as “Rally” models with manual transmissions for about $23,000 — and apparently, one of the Allpar reader’s dealers has an ADP sticker on top of that! The Darts don’t seem to be selling. Not for $23,000, and not with a manual transmission.
Now the Wall Street Journal is chiming in.
AlixPartners, the consulting firm that led GM’s reorganization efforts, has put the perennial optimism of auto industry analysts on notice, introducing its 2011 Automotive Outlook by arguing
The AlixPartners 2011 Automotive Outlook finds that while automakers and suppliers have seen profits bounce back handsomely – North American original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) posted $12.5 billion in 2010 profit on a net margin of 4.6% and North American suppliers reaped $8.2 billion on a net margin of 4.3% – no one should be tempted into thinking that things are now back to “normal,” or at least the normal defined by the consumer-incentive-induced sales levels of the past. In sync with its past annual auto studies, AlixPartners continues to predict that U.S. auto sales will climb slower, and to a lower peak, than many others are predicting. Specifically, the firm estimates U.S. auto sales will reach just 12.7 million units this year and only 13.6 million in 2012.
This is a tough moment for us: on the one hand, pessimistic economic forecasts don’t make anybody happy… on the other hand, the AlixPartner outlook is a significant validation of TTAC’s longtime bearishness. So rather than either moping or self-congratulating, let’s just take a look at why AlixPartners is so gloomy about the near-term outlook.
Today, Toyota finally delivered its delayed outlook for this fiscal year. It usually is delivered at the annual results conference, but the tsunami had muddled the waters, so to speak. Now, Toyota has a bit more visibility. Today, Toyota did forecast a 35 percent fall in profit for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. Toyota expects to end the fiscal with a net income of 280 billion yen ($3.5 billion).
According to Reuters, that’s “well short of the consensus for a 434 billion yen profit in a poll of 23 forecasts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.” I am proud of the optimism of the forecasters. Personally, after looking at the disaster in Japan, I hadn’t expected any profits. (Read More…)
May sales estimates are out, and the analysts are seeing slowdown in their crystal balls. Reuters reports that its survey of leading auto analysts projects a 12.6m SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for the month, while Bloomberg is projecting a 12.1m rate. Wherever the actual number lands, it is likely to be the first month this year below a 13m SAAR, as Japanese supply interruptions as well as model changeovers lower overall supply. But, reports the WSJ [sub], there’s evidence that perceptions of undersupply are possibly keeping consumers away from showrooms as much as an actual shortage of vehicles. A Honda dealer who says he has plenty of cars for sale is quoted as saying
Traffic is down and I think it’s the media effect. People think there’s no cars and they think there’s no incentives, so they’re waiting.
And that’s not all: it turns out that May’s downbeat forecasts could have an even deeper cause…
While the political battle lines over increasing CAFE standards are being drawn in Washington, with the industry taking on both environmentalists and itself, a line of analysis that’s been around since 2009 is exacerbating the industry’s internal divisions over the impact of CAFE increases. A two-year-old University of Michigan study has been exhumed and expanded upon in a new CitiGroup report which makes a bold claim: CAFE will actually improve both sales and profits for the industry. And with Detroit taking the lead in resisting CAFE increases, one might think that the industry’s “turncoats” like Toyota and Hyundai, who have made marketing-led decisions to support CAFE increases, would be the main beneficiaries of these reports. Not so. According to this battle-line-confounding analysis, the biggest beneficiary of CAFE increases will be… Detroit. Madness you say? You may well be right…