While America Slept. Saturday, January 3, 2009
Suzuki down in India: Maruti Suzuki is India’s top carmaker. They own half of India’s car market. Like everybody in India, they got it on the chin. Their total vehicle sales in December fell 10 percent from a year ago. At least, their domestic sales rose from the previous month, after declining in November and October. Total December sales of Maruti Suzuki fell to 56,293 vehicles from 62,515 in the same month a year earlier, the Nikkei (sub) writes.
Tata WAY down in India: India’s Tata sold 23,894 units domestically in December, a decline of 44 percent compared to the corresponding month last year, India’s Economic Times reports. Including exports, Tata’s total sales for December 2008 stood at 25,219 vehicles, down by 47 percent. For the year 2008, their sales fell 11 percent.
Toyota nixes plans for Russia, Thailand: Toyota will freeze construction plans for new factories in Russia and Thailand, Bloomberg writes.
Ford sees further downside: Ford expects industry-wide December U.S. auto sales to drop by some 35 percent from a year earlier with no sign of a turnaround in the first quarter of this year, Reuters writes. Ford’s chief sales analyst George Pipas expects that full-year sales of light vehicles in the U.S.A. will drop to 13.2 million for 2008, down from 16.2 million in 2007. “The sales rates have declined like a lead balloon, really,” Pipas said. “I think when December comes in, every segment will be down. Not one segment will be up versus a year ago.” And there is no quick end in sight: “We’re not looking for the first quarter to be much different from what we saw in the fourth quarter,” Pipas said.
Subaru’s U.S. sales up. Subaru of America announced that it is anticipating a year-over-year sales increase for 2008 U.S. sales. Through November 2008, Subaru was the only volume automotive brand with positive sales, IndiaCar writes. As most other U.S. brands, Subaru will announce U.S. sales on Monday, January 5, 2009.
Spain had worst auto year in history: Spain’s auto sales went down by 28.1 percent for the year 2008, which marks the worst reduction in its history, Automobilwoche (sub) writes. December was especially bad with minus 50 percent. Industry groups predict a further 10 percent reduction in for 2009.
Italy, Belgium down as well: Italian car sales fell 13.3 percent in December, Bloomberg writes. Belgium’s new car registrations dropped 7.8 percent in December, reports Bloomberg.
Germany to recover in 2009: Willi Diez, head of the German Institut für Automobilwirtschaft, predicts the German car market to recover in the second half of 2009. He forecasts the world market to rise to 65m in 2015. By that time, the developed markets like the US, Europe, and Japan will be outsold by the developing markets in Asia and South America, das Autohaus reports.
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