Next Year's Car Sales Will Be A Dud Again. Say The Japanese

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Come 2010, U.S. customers will storm the few remaining dealerships. GM will go public with a healthy pop that makes the taxpayer rich. The good old times will be back. The Japanese don’t think so.

The head of Japan’s auto-making lobby fears that the U.S. market will remain weak and will not reach total sales of 11mi vehicles next year, says Reuters. That and the strong Yen doesn’t bode too well for the Japanese car industry.

U.S. auto sales are expected to end with an annual sales rate of about 10.5 million units, the lowest level since the early 1980s. Led by the notorious CAR thinktank, Many are hoping, praying, and wishfully thinking that there will be at least a little blip next year. To, say, 11m to 12m units, or thereabouts. To which Japan, always with a keen eye on the U.S. market, says: “What have you been smoking?”

“I expect the U.S. market would be slightly better than this year, but there are fears that it won’t reach 11 million,” Satoshi Aoki, chairman of Honda and of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) said at a news conference.

Oh well. If all else fails, we’ll wait until the mystical 2012. Everything will be better in 2012.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Dec 18, 2009

    I'm always confused and amused when someone says there's a 'recovery' underway. There is not a positive leading indicator to be found. The number of home repos will grow to about 4MM this year, the number of personal and corporate bks will continue to grow, the unemployment rate will continue to rise, the unemployed are exhausting their savings/401K/relatives, bank closings by FDIC will be much higher in 2010 than 2009, the national debt continues to grow, the overall trade deficit continues, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.... It took aboutt 20 years of spending money we never had (and letting sleazy WS types roam free) to get us here. As an idealist I wish that the government would have let it all collapse - the entire financial system. People may have actually learned that the last 10 years have been nothing but smoke and mirrors, the system is completely corrupt, and needs to be fixed. The reality of course, is that the average American would not survive for a few months while the banks imploded and restructured. I wish we could have done it, but it was highly likely that the whole societal fabric would have collapsed. If we're lucky we'll get out of this in 10 years.

  • Tparkit Tparkit on Dec 18, 2009

    Rather than counting units, perhaps it's better to measure changes in the auto industry's size by its revenue. As the recession (which is NOT over) continues to bite, buyers skew toward smaller, cheaper cars. That's doubly true if interest rates rise, taxes increase, and "stimulus" programs like Cash for Caulkers suck dollars out of the potential customers' car-buying account. So, it's possible for the total number of units sold to remain at the current level, yet for the auto industry to shrink. However, I expect the market to shrink in terms of units as well as revenue per unit sold.

  • Late_apex Late_apex on Dec 18, 2009

    I'd guess new car sales will be about the same as this year or a little less while used car sales will go up. Mom and pops down, flea markets and wal-mart up. New home sales down, foreclosure sales up. I'm all for it. Although it's bad for us collectively it can be good for us individually. Used car prices are very appealing on high-end cars right now. At the rate it seems to be going I'll have that 996 turbo before I know it at a price that's 1/2 of 24 months ago. Bought a house this year at a substantial discount. In a good economy I couldn't have purchased the same home and would not be thinking about another pleasure vehicle. Just my .02-

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Dec 18, 2009

    2010 will be a continuation of 2008 and 2009 but perhaps a little worse. The jobless rate will probably increase because we are more interested in fixing something that doesn't really need fixing right now(healthcare) and lending other countries global tax dollars to help them fight fictitious Global Warming or other bridge to no where projects. If by some miracle the economy improves some expect already way over inflated $70.00/barrel oil to put further screws into auto industry recovery with 120.00-140.00 figures which will be disasterous to truck and SUV sales.