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North American vehicle output will continue rising to new records over the next two years as non-Detroit 3 automakers localize more production, a chief industry forecaster…

N.A. output will hit new records to meet sales, export demands, forecaster says



Lindsay Chappell

Automotive News

August 3, 2015 - 2:33 pm ET

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- North American vehicle output will continue rising to new records over the next two years as non-Detroit 3 automakers localize more production, a chief industry forecaster says.

New North American factory lines are under construction for the Lexus, Honda, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Infiniti brands. Other additions are likely to come from Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen, predicts Mike Jackson, director of North American vehicle production forecasts for IHS Automotive.

Jackson forecasts that North American production will reach an all-time record level in 2015 of 17.5 million light vehicles, topping the previous high-water production mark in 2000 of 17.2 million. But he predicts that production will continue rising to 19 million in 2020.

“Localization is going to be the driving force for North American volume levels,” said Jackson, while attending the 2015 Management Briefing Seminars here today.

“Currency is the big issue there, and the Japanese yen is at an advantageous position at the moment to continue sourcing vehicles from Japan -- but that’s only at this moment. The currency situation will change again.



Nissan Motor Co. recently announced that it will build 100,000 Rogue crossovers a year in Japan for the U.S., supplementing Rogue production in Tennessee. It previously moved Rogue production out of Japan to remove it from a disadvantageous yen.

Meanwhile, the industry posted healthy U.S. sales gains for July

.

With a 5 percent increase, Ford more than doubled the pace of its first-half advance. Honda and GM had their biggest jumps since January. Nissan set July records for the company and its namesake brand. FCA US extended its streak of monthly sales gains to 64.

FCA today projected the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for July…

“The second half of 2015 is off to a great start, with industry sales above expectations,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of sales operations.

Jackson forecast that U.S. sales will reach an all-time record level in 2015, topping the previous high-water sales mark of 17.4 million in 2000. But he predicts that sales will continue rising by another 200,000 vehicles between 2015 and 2017.

That’s only part of the motivation for more U.S. production volume, however, Jackson says.

“North America is becoming a global export base,” he said. “Audi’s Q5 will go into production in Mexico for export around the world. That’s a new approach to building vehicles here, and it translates to bigger volumes over time.” by Lindsay Chappell
 
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