Market Report, "United States Autos Report Q3 2013", published

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Wed Jul 31 2013

Following US light vehicle sales growth of 13.8% in 2012, BMI's view that the industry is in a good position to continue its recovery, is playing out well in 2013. As we expected, the certainty created by the deal to avoid the 'fiscal cliff' is supporting sales, although we note that this does not yet seem to be the case in the big truck market. We have made some revisions to our forecasts, both to the upside for light vehicles and downward for heavy truck sales. However, the total industry volume and growth projections remain broadly the same with a 5.2% increase in sales (heavy trucks included).

BMI's view that the recovering housing market and accessible credit would contribute to growth in the light truck segment in 2013 is playing out, as truck sales ended 5M13 up 11.2% year-on-year (y-o-y). With the supportive conditions expected to be sustainable, we are now expecting truck sales to grow 8.0%. However, we also expect the weaker growth in the passenger car segment to continue and have revised our growth forecast accordingly. That said, the 3.0% we are forecasting is still relatively high compared with the precrisis rate of growth and in volume terms; our projection of 7.64mn units only brings the market to just below the 7.66mn of 2005. This suggests there is still a way to go for the segment to fully recover and we do expect positive growth looking forward.

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This also means the competitive landscape is shifting, as those companies with the bigger truck offerings benefit from growth in the segment. Ford Motor enjoyed the strongest growth of the Detroit Three in the first five months, as its F-Series retained its position as the country's best-selling model and achieved a 31% y-o-y increase in sales in May alone. All three of the domestic brands made a strong showing in the truck market in May, however, as General Motors (GM) reported growth of 25% for the Chevrolet Silverado and Chrysler's Ram brand posted 22% growth. On the other hand, the brands that were growing on the back of a swing toward passenger cars are now feeling the pinch. Hyundai's sales were just 1% higher for 5M13, while affiliate Kia was the only brand in the top 10 to report a decline in sales (-4.5%).

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