Report: Auto Industry Still Carrying 3.5m Units Of Overcapacity
Edmund’ Bill Visnic takes on the latest Harbour report, which finds North American auto plants running at an average of 58 percent capacity (even Europe, the global whipping boy for intractable auto overcapacity operates at an average 81 percent). Despite the recent downsizings across North America, the Harbour Report still estimates that 3.5m units of annual overcapacity remains in the US and Canadian auto manufacturing footprint, equivalent to 14 unneeded assembly plants. A rise in sales levels to the previous 15-16m mark could help the situation according to the report, but increased plant flexibility will be the factor that automakers can actually control. Even so, if 15-16m annual units don’t come soon, North America could be looking at more plant closures and job losses.
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- Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
- Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
- Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
- William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
- Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
It appears from the graphic that the 3.5 million number and the 58% refer to the northern states and Canada only. If one adds in southern US and Mexico, the overcapacity probably goes up (as even Toyota/Nissan/Honda have some overcapacity), while the percentage utilization is probably better and drags the average up. Also, one other thing to consider. The 15M capacity in North America isn't equivalent to sales in NA, since a percentage of vehicles are imported from abroad (almost all German, large portion Korean and some Japanese as well). That means that the 15M domestic capacity is probably enough to serve maybe 19-20M domestic sales. The high for the US was about 16.5M if memory serves, and Mexico / Canada are probably a million each, so even a recovery to the highs of 2007 won't get rid of undercapacity.
Nice article. The media doesn't care about a problem that has been around since Y2K.