U.S. Auto Industry's 'Recovery'?

A Booz & Co. study sheds some very interesting -- and perhaps contradictory -- light on the U.S. auto industry's recovery.

In the survey, U.S. auto execs indicated that they are skeptical of the industry's recovery, although they are optimistic about their own companies' outlooks.

Here's what I found particularly intriguing: While 80% of execs said they expect to gain market share during the next three years, 30% of the execs said they expect a major automotive manufacturer to fail in the next two years.

So, if 80% of U.S. auto executives are bullish about their own companies' performance over the next few years, but 30% believe a major auto manufacturer will fail during that same timeframe, that suggests to me that 10% of auto executives are going to be very surprised when their own companies go belly up (assuming that the 30% who believe an auto company will fail includes the 20% of execs who were not bullish about their own companies' outlooks).

In other words, that tells me that 10% of the respondents may have their heads buried in the sand about their own companies' vulnerabilities. Maybe. Who knows.

The more important point is this: Is the recovery of the U.S. auto industry real, or should I continue to refer to it as a "recovery" with quotation marks?

Did the restructuring go far enough to address the fundamental weaknesses of the auto industry?

Have the U.S. automakers and suppliers learned from their past mistakes?

Is the U.S. auto industry indeed leaner, meaner and more prepared to survive the next dip in consumer demand?

Let me know what you think!


Senior editor Josh Cable covers the automotive, aerospace, maritime and rail manufacturing sectors for IndustryWeek.

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