Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors, expects to see flat industry-wide U.S. automotive sales in 2012. However, he also stated that the company may still be successful due to a low breakeven point, maintained partly by the new agreement with the UAW. Akerson's market outlook for 2012 is gloomier compared to those of various analysts.
However, he does not buy the forecasts of a sales-boosting incentive spree as Japanese competitors attempt to get back market share, which was lost during months of supply shortages. Akerson told Automotive News last week that the automaker anticipates industry-wide U.S. light-vehicle sales to be "flattish" in 2012 -- and that is only if the U.S. economy stays away from being affected by Europe's debt crisis, which he sees as the largest danger to vehicle sales and to the worldwide economy.
Akerson further stated that as they go into 2012, they are looking for some "kind of a repeat" of this year. For 2011, GM forecasts U.S. light-vehicle sales will be about 12.7 million or 12.8 million. He refused to estimate GM's share, but mentioned the carmaker has expanded its share this year. Even if industry sales next year are flat, Akerson stated that the company should continue to be solidly profitable and is situated to acquire more U.S. market share.
The company's share of the U.S. market increased to 20 percent from 19 percent through the first nine months of the year. Toyota's share dropped from 15.2 percent to 12.5 percent. Honda's share has gone down from 10.6 percent to 9 percent.
The new four-year deal that GM has reached with the UAW, which will increase around 1 percent annually to GM's labor costs, "preserved our breakeven point, which is critically important," the CEO said. GM has informed analysts it can make money even at a 10.5 million-unit U.S. sales pace, which is no less than 16 percent below the sales volume Akerson anticipates in 2012. [source: Autonews]