CHICAGO Global automotive
sales are expected to rise 3 percent this year even though the
ongoing European debt and austerity crisis will continue to
dampen demand in the region, according to an executive of an
automotive market intelligence firm.
European sales are forecast to
fall 2 percent to 17.6 million vehicles in 2013, Jeff Schuster,
senior vice president of Oxford, England-based LMC Automotive
Ltd., said at Platts 2nd Annual Scrap Seminar in Chicago.
Western Europe in particular is facing a long recovery, with
sales unlikely to rebound to 2007 levels until 2020, he
However, North America will
remain a growth market, with sales expected to rise 5 percent
to 18 million vehicles, Schuster said, led by a 6-percent jump
in U.S. sales to 15.3 million units.
Demand in emerging markets will
be a mixed bag, Schuster predicted. South American sales should
rise 4 percent to 5.6 million vehicles in 2013, mostly on
strength in Brazilian purchases. Asian sales are expected to
rise 5 percent to 35.7 million vehicles, due in large part to a
projected 10-percent jump in Chinese auto sales to 21 million,
more than offsetting a 7-percent drop in Japanese sales to 4.9
The worldwide trend is one of
growth, however. Schuster expects the global market to reach
100 million vehicles by 2016 and double its 2000 sales by
Global production and demand
synchronize pretty well, he said. Chinese demand continues to
be the fastest-growing among all nations, and China remains the
No. 1 spot for building new assembly plants, followed by India,
Brazil and Mexico, which will build five new plants.
However, there is a risk of
automakers overbuilding and that capacity will exceed annual
sales by 6 million vehicles as soon as 2017, which means that
capacity utilization will reverse direction, Schuster said.
Despite being a mature market,
North American sales could top 20 million vehicles in 2020,
after which growth will slow to an annual rate of between 1 and
3 percent, he said.
But lightweighting will reduce
consumption of a host of commodities.
Regulationsspecifically more-stringent corporate average
fuel economy standardswill lead to the average vehicle
weighing 5 percent less in 2017 than it does today, Schuster