Automaker cuts to call for ’08 discipline in steel analysts

Dec 04, 2007 | 12:34 PM |

Two big Detroit-area automakers plan to slash production in the first quarter next year in a move that might be good business but will likely hurt metals producers.

The U.S. automakers need to be disciplined and reign in production amid dire predictions about 2008 auto sales, analysts said. And that means the consolidated steel industry will be challenged to exercise discipline as well.

"We think 2008 is going to be a very, very weak year for car sales. It's going to be one of the poorest years on record," according to Catherine Madden, a senior market analyst for North American production at Global Insight Inc., Waltham, Mass.

With sales expected to be down, overall North American production could fall as much as 3 percent in 2008, she said. Roughly 14.9 million light vehicles are expected to be built in North America this year, but that number could drop to as low as 14.5 million in 2008, she said.....

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