North American light-vehicle output seen to reach 17.24 million units this year thanks to Mexico

Article by Andrew Christian, on December 30, 2014

Light-vehicle production in North America this year is expected to surge 7 percent to 17.24 million units, according to estimates from the Automotive News Data Center. That will be around 53,000 vehicles below the record set in 2000 at 17,297,498 units, which means that production in the United States, Mexico and Canada could be on the highest next year.

LMC Automotive expects light-vehicle production in North America to reach 17.4 million light vehicles next year, as low fuel prices and robust job growth is seen to boost auto demand. Carmakers are producing an average of 352,000 vehicles weekly in over 49 working weeks – a reflection of five consecutive years of solid sales surges in North America.

Likewise, Mexico has free-trade agreements with a number of countries, thus making it a viable base for exports. But such increase in production poses a problem with some suppliers. According to a study by consulting firm IRN, 42 percent of surveyed parts makers would have some difficulty keeping with demand as vehicle production are expected to further surge in 2015.

In fact, some suppliers are not so keen on making investments amid worries that the growth curve may soon flatten. IHS Automotive forecaster Mike Jackson remarked that growth is “all in light trucks, especially pickups and crossovers."

Leading that growth are Nissan North America (up 19 percent) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (up 16 percent). Nissan and FCA added almost 700,000 vehicles in additional output in North America. Mexico, meanwhile, saw auto production grew 12 percent to over 3 million. Production in the US and Canada, meanwhile, surged 5 percent. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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