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<< News >>

2013 North American International Auto Show

 

 

Trucks to make a resurgence in 2013, analysts say

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.COM

A look at the question-and-answer session during the Economist Panel at the 25th Annual SAA Automotive Outlook Conference.

 

by Gloria Rzucidlo
gloria1025@yahoo.com

 

 

DETROIT -- Anthony Pratt, SAA President, welcomed everyone to the 25th Annual Automotive Outlook Conference. "The circus is officially in town," says Pratt. We are the first event to be held in this atrium. However, they are not finished yet, it will look a lot different next year.

What is the SAA? Its mission is to provide members ongoing access to key automotive insights from a wide range of perspectives. 2012 was quite a year and we held numerous successful events. Membership increased to more than 400 members. The Thought Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship Program with Northwood University was established.

Jim Davlin, Vice President Finance and Treasurer, General Motors, was the first speaker. "This is an exciting week, not only for the SAA, but the auto industry in general. Our pickup trucks has been completely re-designed. This is going to be a great seller for us. We are looking at growth in 2013 with a whole wave of new or refreshed products and 25 new models. It's a great time for GM," says Davlin. Then there was a 15-minute question and answer session.

Michelle Krebs, Senior Analyst, Edmunds.com was the moderator and introduced the Economist Panel.

First, was Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Chief Economist, Ford Motor Company, who says the 2013 global vehicle sales are projected at 80-85 million units and that includes all trucks. The U.S. economic growth is in the 2-2.5 percent range with sales of 15-16 million units. Europe is likely to remain weak. China sales projected in the 19.5-21.5 million units--the strongest unit demand increase since 2009-2010. In 2011, emerging markets, new vehicle sales rose above 50 percent of global sales. Growth is on track for 5 percent per year during this decade.

Jeff Schuster, Executive Director, LMC Automotive, says in 2013 global light vehicles should be stable. North America should show an increase of 4 percent. Europe should show a decline of 2 percent. In the 1990's there was a five-year recovery, but now we are looking at a ten-year+ recovery. U.S. retail sales trend shows stability in 2013. We can see an increase in pick-up trucks in 2013 and a rebound of premium cars. Global capacity utilization improves but there are areas of concern that remain. U.S. light vehicles sales is poised for long-term growth.

Bob Schulz, Managing Director, Standard & Poor's, discussed corporate ratings on business risk and financial risk. There are 18 global automakers and 4 global truckmakers. There are supply chain risks such as raw material, hurricane and port strikes. Ford Motor Co.'s rating is BB+/positive. GM is BB+/stable. Chrysler is B+/stable. All three companies have returned to profitability in North America. GM and Ford ratings are up from "D" or "SD" to "BB+" in less than three years.

Itay Michaeli, Vice President, Citi Investment Research & Analysis, says U.S. auto sales is still near recessionary levels. 2012 was a good year for auto sales, but still is depressed. The average age of a vehicle going into scrap is the mid-teens. A major scrap inflection may be ahead, though more likely over the next three to five years. According to Polk, passenger car population is down seven million since 2007. We are much more bullish on U.S. pickup truck demand.

Then, there was a question-and-answer session with the panel.

Following the networking reception and dinner was Mark Phelan, Auto Critic and Columnist, Detroit Free Press. Mark announced that the new Corvette was being unveiled at the Russell Center. The car will have better fuel economy than in previous models. Another new model at the show will be the Lincoln MKC crossover. Infiniti is another car trying to make a statement. Volkswagen wonders "why don't Americans like our cars?" They will be unveiling a car hoping the Americans will like this year. The Toyota Furia is similar to the Corolla but has more room and very distinctive styling. The Hyundai Genesis changed the way people think of Hyundai. The last car introduced tomorrow is the Mazarati Quattroporte sedan. This car produces 523 hp and uses less fuel than the previous V8. It is fast and powerful.

Tuesday Ford will try to steal the spotlight from GM. Ford can steal the headlines from GM in their Ford F-150, which is what I think they will unveil. Cadillac ELR extended-range electric car is another one to watch. "Having seen the car, they did an impressive job trying to be distinctive," Phelan says. That is my quick preview of what you'll see in the next coming days.

Jacqui Dedo, Chief Strategy Officer, Dana Holding Corporation and OESA Board Chair, gave an overview of Megatrends. Our transportation industry is moving into five megatrends. One is geopolitical shift, two is changing demographics, three is sustainability, four is evolution of mobility and five is advancing technology. The implications are U.S. and Euro volatility, higher import duties and global wealth shifts. We have more than 20 cities with more than 10 million people. We are seeing more urban living and global aging population. We are also seeing more hybrids and EV's, more efficient internal combustion engines and lower ownership in urban areas. We are also seeing new industry competitors with new ideas such as sciences forming new technology. New technology includes smart paint and fibers and mobile charging.

 

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.COM

The SAA Automotive Outlook Conference was the first event to be held inside the new glass atrium at Cobo Center.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.COM

SAA President Anthony Pratt welcomed everyone.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Jim Davlin, GM's V.P. of Finance and Treasurer, was the first speaker.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Moderator Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.COM

Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Ford Motor Co.'s Chief Economist, was the next speaker.

 

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This page was last updated on Mon, January 14, 2013 8:38 PM

 

 

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