Forecast: Global Vehicle Production Will Surge in 2012

Aug. 4, 2011
Boosted by Japan's swift recovery, light-vehicle production is showing 'resilience.'

Automakers around the world will produce 83.5 million light vehicles in 2012, up 10% from the 75.9 million vehicles expected to be made this year.

That estimate comes from Autofacts, the forecasting service of business advisory firm PwC.

Despite chronic uncertainty throughout the world economy, light-vehicle production is showing "resilience with stronger-than-expected growth," noted Calum MacRae, PwC's lead automotive analyst, Autofacts.

"Perhaps the most significant element to the third-quarter forecast is the faster-than-expected recovery of the Japanese automotive value chain, with most manufacturers expecting full capacity to be restored by September," MacRae said.

The ability of Toyota and other Japanese automakers to bounce back from the March disasters has helped boost global light-vehicle production.
Japan is on course for an output of 8.4 million units for 2011 -- some 221,000 more than had been previously expected, according to Autofacts.

Autofacts expects 75.9 million light vehicles to be assembled in 2011, a nearly 6% increase from 2010.

Vehicles-sales growth has slowed in China due to inflationary fears and registration quotas. China's coastal cities are coping with severe traffic congestion, and Beijing has limited new-car registrations to only 240,000 in 2011.

However, the Chinese government has announced new incentives, which could boost demand in the second half of the year, Autofacts noted.

Elsewhere around the world, Autofacts offered these assessments:

  • Europe's sales environment remains weak to mixed across primary markets, but production is being supported by strong export growth to China, Russia, Turkey and the United States.
  • Automotive sales in India have moderated. As of June, the Indian market has reported 16% annual growth, compared with 34% in 2010.
  • Sluggish economic growth, weak consumer spending and Japanese inventory shortages have caused a mid-year sales slump in the U.S. market.
  • While North America's automotive supply chain continues to address capacity constraints, it is still on course for a 2011 production forecast of nearly 13 million units, an increase of roughly 1 million units from 2010.
About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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