The economists who get paid to predict have some pretty grim - yet not surprising - numerical projections for U.S. auto sales in 2009: negative 13 percent. J.D. Power and Associates predicts a drop to 11.4 million units for light vehicles sales in '09, while Deutsche Bank predicts sales of 11.5 million. An analyst at J.D. Power predicts that global auto sales will fall 8.2 percent in 2009. These woeful conditions were discussed today at a Society of Automotive Analysts roundtable.
The prediction at least shows a slowing of the precipitous drop in auto sales; it seems that 2008's dismal 18 percent drop in U.S. light vehicle sales might be the worst of it. Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache feels that the probability of at least one automaker going bankrupt during a long, slow recovery is "greater than not."
Just like an addict, the market must hit bottom before it can recover. What seemed like a black hole months ago is, thankfully, showing signs of not being an interminable vacuum; J.D. Power's president Finbarr O'Neill said, in Automotive News, "We believe we're near the bottom, or at the bottom." But O'Neill warns that when the market does rebound, it won't return to its pre-recession levels.--Colin Mathews
[source: Automotive News]