Credit Suisse: '09 U.S. Car Production at 10.6m Units

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
credit suisse 09 u s car production at 10 6m units

* Light vehicle sales tumbled 18% in 2008, to 13.2 million units from 16.1 million in 2007, with the selling rate deteriorating significantly in the second half of the year, finishing with a barely-breathing 10.3 million SAAR in Q4.

* Sadly, it looks like 2009 will be even worse than 2008. Our latest forecast for 2009 US light vehicle sales is a shade under 12.0 million units, which is down from our earlier forecast of 13.0 million, and down another 9% versus 13.2 million in 2008.

* North American light vehicle production in this scenario should be in the range of 10.6 million units, down about 13% vs. 12.2 million in 2008, reflecting the sequential decline in sales, as well as an oversupply of vehicles remaining on dealer lots at year end. The year-to-year drop in production should be even more pronounced for the Big 3 (about 19%).

* If there is any good news here, it is that the shape of things should be better in 2009 than in 2008. In other words, we expect the exit rate of sales in 2009 to be better than the entry rate. The exact opposite was true for 2008.

* But settling in at a 12.0 million sales pace in 2009, even after running in the low-10s in the fourth quarter, will not be enough to invigorate the stocks, in our view.

* Indeed, the Big 3 and many suppliers will still be burning cash in a 12-million market, especially considering that the drop in production will be more pronounced than the decline in sales.

* Revisiting our sector thesis from last year, we note that auto stocks – particularly the OEMs, and in this case we would include Big 3-dependent suppliers – generally do not work during or after recessions until US vehicle sales start to trend meaningfully higher. And going sideways from 13.2 to 12.0 (even with a 10.3m quarter in between) is not going to cut it, in our view.

• We maintain an Underweight stance on the group.

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  • Eh_political Eh_political on Jan 14, 2009

    @ Menno: And now BO and his like want to simply redistribute what we’ve worked hard for to lazy no-accounts who think it’s hard work to go turn in their welfare checks, as well as GM, Chrysler, a bunch of billionaires in banks (sorry) and AIG insurance company. I must say it's the current administration that has already done that. BO is going to do everything he can to stop a runaway train, and it doesnt look good. According to Krugman, America will have to inflate its way out of this mess--and do many other distasteful things as well. If you want to take your personal experience up a notch, imagine how all Canada feels with regard to poor financial regulation and a cartwheeling American economy. We cleaned up our act economically, ran a decade of budgetary surpluses and learned to live within our means. Now we are right back into deficit spending too. Seriously fucked if you want the technical term. My instincts are that BO will be more effective. I am not confident that the American economy is sufficiently mixed at the moment, but it may be again. And that will require massive government intervention, spending, re regulation and prosecution. While temporarily satisfying, allowing massive companies, and the entire financial sector to fail would prove disastrous, and has a whiff of the apocalyptic to it. First put out the fire, then deal with the culprits. One could equally argue the Nazis were never properly punished for their inhumanity. They were beaten however, and it built national character and a collective sense of purpose. The cost was atrocious. My own personal act of vengeance is to be in a relationship with a mathematician who evaluates risk, primarily in corporate bonds. As someone who escaped by the skin of his teeth from ABCP in August 07, I exact my revenge on subprime shenanigans with subpar lovemaking. Booyah!

  • on Mar 02, 2009

  • ToolGuy Last picture: Labeling the accelerator as "play" and the brake pedal as "pause" might be cute, but it feels wrong. It feels wrong because it is wrong, and it is wrong because Calculus.Sidebar: I have some in-laws who engage the accelerator and brake on a binary on/off all-in basis. So annoying as a passenger.Drive smoothly out there. 🙂
  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.
  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.