The automotive analysts at consulting firm PricewaterCoopers (PwC) are but the most recent group of industry experts to jump upon the light vehicle bandwagon – and they are forecasting some positive trends in terms of both global demand and production for the next few years.
Now, while PwC’s Autofactsshop does not foresee a bed of roses for the global light vehicle market – the European Union, for example, is a market that’s still expected to experience a downturn in demand this year – on the whole, things are shaping up pretty nicely.
[Car commercials are getting more fun to watch as well; perhaps an unexpected benefit of the more positive light being shined on the market. Here’s a recent favorite of mine concerning the new Dodge Dart sedan.]
Overall, Autofacts expects global light vehicle assembly operations in 2013 to produce in excess of 83 million units, an increase of 5.1% from the total in 2012 – again, with expectations that the global market for light vehicles to remain in positive overall, even though the European Union and Japan will continue to be areas of concern.
Here’s a region-by-region breakdown:
"Automotive companies remain cautious about economic conditions in Europe," said Rick Hanna, global automotive leader, PwC. "However, overall we estimate that the global automotive industry will prosper in 2013 from emerging market growth and remaining pent-up demand in the U.S."
[One reason that pent-up demand may be let loose in 2013 on the light truck side of things is that a host of new iron featuring all sorts of improvements hits the market this year. Take General Motor’s the 2014 model Chevrolet Silverado as but one example.]
Autofacts also made note of two other big trends that will impact the light vehicle market this year:
That being said, OEMs are responding to the positive indicators by expanding.Motor Co. for one said it plans to hire 2,200 salaried workers in the U.S. this year – the largest increase in new salaried workers in more than a decade – on top of the more than 8,100 combined hourly and salaried jobs it added in the U.S. in 2012.
It’s also worthy of note that some 1,000 of those positions Ford added in the U.S. last year were brought back from other locations, including suppliers in Japan and Mexico.
[One reason for the ramp up is the success of new Ford designs, such as the EcoBoost engine powering its F-150 pickup and other models. You can view a very cool teardown test of the truck-version of the EcoBoost compiled by Ford last year below.]
Ford added that it’s also planning to spend some $773 million on new equipment and capacity expansions across six manufacturing facilities in southeast Michigan as it delivers on a commitment to invest $6.2 billion in U.S. plants by 2015 – investments that should create 2,350 new hourly jobs and allow the company to retain an additional 3,240 hourly jobs.
Very good stuff, I say; let’s hope it continues.