The U.S. will widen its share of world auto sales this year even as its economy cools down, according to the estimates from most analysts and executives. It’s believed that U.S. light vehicle sales will go up by 4 to 7% with prices staying strong. This would surpass the 2.6% global expansion predicted by consulting firm LMC Automotive.
This is a positive trend for European brands that are struggling due to the financial crisis and for Japanese automakers, which felt the impact of a territorial dispute in China. Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said that even if China beat the U.S. to be its biggest-volume market, the U.S. is and will stay as its second-most important market after Germany. In an interview, Mueller said that Europe will be “lucky” if it makes a recovery before 2015.
He believes that the situation continues to be critical. European carmakers have decided to make an excellent impression at the Detroit auto show, which opens to the public on January 19, by introducing these models: Audi’s SQ5 high-performance crossover, BMW's M6 Gran Coupe, and the redesigned Maserati Quattroporte. LMC predicts that the European market, which is almost near a 20-year low, will fall by 1.7% more this year to 17.8 million light vehicles.
Meanwhile, LMC predicts that the U.S. will grow by 4.2% to 15.1 million. To put this in perspective, U.S. auto sales averaged almost 17 million vehicles annually in the decade before 2008 when the recession made an impact in the car industry.
The pace for this year is expected to be more sedate than the 13.4% increase last year. It’s predicted that U.S. deliveries will make up 18.2% of the 82.7 million global total. In comparison, it made up around 17.9% of the total in 2012. John Casesa, senior managing director with Guggenheim Securities, said that currently, the US has the “healthiest auto market in the world." He said that sales growth will near to zero in Brazil and will be at around 3.4% in Russia. Meanwhile, China's expansion climbs to 10.2% from 5.9%.