US light vehicle sales ended 2013 up 7.6% at 15.60mn, in line with BMI's forecast of an 8.2% increase to 15.68mn. With macroeconomic conditions largely favourable, we expect further growth, albeit slightly slower at 3.6%, to be achievable in 2014, taking the market back to 16mn units for the first time since 2007. We expect light trucks to continue to outperform the car segment, led by a slew of new product launches.
Looking ahead, positive data from the residential housing sector, as part of an increasingly bullish macroeconomic picture, suggests that the truck segment will carry this growth into 2014 ( see 'Weekly Data Analysis: Positive Housing, Manufacturing And Consumer Data', December 2). We forecast 5.3% growth in light truck sales in 2014, which is still robust by historical standards, despite representing a slowdown from current levels.
As we expect the major themes that drove US economic growth in 2013 to continue in 2014 and result in GDP growth accelerating from 1.8% in 2013 to 2.8% in 2014, conditions will remain supportive of high-end spending. While the market is also a key area of many premium carmakers' growth strategies, we expect the luxury segment to again be a driver growth in the passenger car segment, which we expect to achieve slightly lower growth of 2.0% in 2014.
In BMI's regular round-up of production investments, the most notable feature of this latest round-up is that all of the projects listed are for parts and components. This is not to say investment from carmakers themselves has dried up, but at this stage, as company results are coming out, a lot of their announcements have been quite far-reaching and not yet broken down into projects, such as Volkswagen's (VW) pledge to allocate US$7bn to North America over the next five years.
The United States Autos Report features the latest data and forecasts covering production, sales, imports and exports.
Business Monitor International (BMI)'s United States Autos Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, auto associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the automotives market in United States.
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BMI Industry View
Summary of BMI's key industry forecasts and views, covering production, sales and the introduction of new technology or products.
Global, Regional and Country Industry Overviews
In-depth analysis of the major global and regional developments in the market, which can be linked with the country industry overview, providing cross-country investment, product and financing trends that will affect each market, supported by BMI’s global and regional industry forecasts.
Business Environment Ratings
BMI's proprietary Autos Business Environment Ratings are a unique country-comparative Risk-Reward Ratings index that separately analyses the risks and rewards of operating in each market. It is aimed at investors (including manufacturers, suppliers and dealers) who seek to either identify and compare market opportunities, or evaluate country-specific operational challenges.
The ratings methodology makes sophisticated use of over 40 industries, economic and demographic data points.
BMI Industry Forecasts
Historic data series and forecasts to end-2018 for all key industry indicators (see list below), supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast, including:
Total production value (US$bn); total production of units; production by vehicle-type (including cars, commercial vehicles, trucks and buses); total sales value (US$bn); sales by vehicle-type, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles (vans and microbuses, pickups, trucks and buses, 4 wheel drive); total exports by value (US$bn) and by units; total imports by value (US$bn) and by units; contribution to GDP; employment in industry.
BMI Economic Forecasts
BMI forecasts to end-2018 for all headline macroeconomic indicators, including real GDP growth, inflation, fiscal balance, trade balance, current account and external debt.
Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI's industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.