The CSM Automotive Production Barometer for January 2006 and 2006 release schedule is currently available via the CSM Worldwide website: http://www.csmauto.com/auto-production-barometer .
Sales in the United States continued their weakness in December, falling 4.0% over last year's results with sales for the year ending up 0.7% at 16.93 million units in 2005. Production slowed in the United States following recent strong year-end build-out, falling to a seasonally adjusted rate of 10.89M units in December, the lowest since October 2001. For 2005, total U.S. production fell 0.6% to 11.57M units compared to 2004 results with output on a seasonally adjusted basis falling 1.1% to 11.58M in 2005 versus 11.71M in 2004.
With the last quarter pull-ahead of light vehicle output, North American output managed to equal last year's 15.78M units. In December, North American production slipped 2.1% to 15.93M units produced on a seasonally adjusted rate over the same period in 2004. The production pull-ahead caused by the inventory-depleting employee pricing programs and the desire to book revenue will adversely affect 1Q 2006 output as the Traditional Big 3 plan downtime at numerous facilities across their North American operations. Combined, both GM and Ford will idle three plants in 1Q 2006, with Ford projected to nearly double the amount of downtime employed in 1Q 2005. Following a 4.5% production increase in 2005, DaimlerChrysler relinquishes volume as output slows on several key, high volume vehicles in 1Q 2006.
The New Domestics, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, experienced production gains in North America at the expense of the Traditional Big 3 automakers. Toyota, Honda and Nissan posted increases of 7.1%, 10.8% and 11.5% respectively over last year producing a combined 4.17M units. New and fresh products continue to drive their growth with more of the product-driven focus planned in 2006. Additional capacity increases follow in 2006 as the Big 3 contract further and realign to true demand.
Total North American production of the "New 6" manufacturers totaled 15.06M units or 95.4% of the total 15.78M units produced in the region. Production at the Traditional Big 3 automakers fell 4.3% to 10.89M units accounting for 72.3% of total "New 6" output in 2005, which is down from 75% last year. The New Domestics increased their share to 27.7% or 4.17M units, up from 3.80M units last year. This trend is expected to continue to 2006 with the Traditional Big 3 losing share to the New Domestics while overall "New 6" volume also decreases as Hyundai continues to ramp up production in the region.
With 2005 behind us, total North American production in 2006 is expected to remain flat at 15.8M units. The underlining composition of that figure will change in favor of the import manufacturers. U.S. output in January is expected to remain weak, down approximately 2% on a seasonally adjusted basis, in the wake of planned downtime activity. The New Year is already shaping up to be as interesting as the last.
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