Automotive Industry News – JANUARY 2020

Presented By: EY Global Services Ltd.

U.S. Car Sales Stay Above 17 Million AgainCarmakers have for the first time topped 17 million car and light-truck sales for five years in a row. They surpassed 17 million units only twice before: in 2000 and 2001.As usual, pickup trucks and SUV/crossovers carried the day, offsetting a relentless decline in consumer demand for conventional sedans. Trucks now account for about 75% of the entire U.S. market for new vehicles.The Cool-Down ContinuesStill, overall volume has been slowly shrinking since peaking at 17.55 in 2016. Last year’s volume of 17.11 million units compared with 17.32 million in 2018, according to company reports.On an annualized basis, fourth-quarter demand in 2019 dropped to 16.98 million units. Whether the market will manage to reach 17 million units again this year is anyone’s guess at …READ MORE
Car Output in Germany Slumps to 23-Year LowGermany’s auto industry, which depends heavily on exports, is in trouble.The country’s production has been slipping since mid-2017, when output dipped 2%. In 2019, assemblies plunged 9% to a mere 4.7 million units, the lowest total since 1996. This year could be worse.It’s All About ExportsGermany is the world’s third-largest vehicle producer, behind only China and the U.S. But unlike those markets, which consume most of what they make, Germany exports more than 70% of its output.Now that happy state of affairs is being shaken by cooling demand in major markets caused by slowing economic growth and rising trade disruptions. Another factor: German carmakers have been hiking production in or near markets they serve, notably in North America and China.Last  …READ MORE
Nissan Goes Light on InsulationListen up. Nissan is developing a new soundproofing material that claims to provide the same benefits as current rubber-based systems at one-fourth the weight.

The so-called “acoustic meta-material” is designed to counter wide-frequency noise vibrations (500-1200Hz). Not coincidentally, that’s the typical range generated by road and engine noises, which no one wants to hear inside their car.How it WorksThe ultra-thin insulation is comprised of a lattice structure covered in a plastic film. The construction deflects air vibrations and limits noise transmission into a vehicle. …READ MORE
GM: Another Painful Sales Year in ChinaGeneral Motors reports its sales in China skidded 15% to 3.09 million cars and trucks. The company expects further erosion in 2020.China has become GM’s largest national market for its Buick and Cadillac brands, with 2019 sales of 850,000 units (down 17%) and 213,700 units (up 4%), respectively.Outpacing the Market, in a Bad WayBut GM’s combined sales in China have been falling for two years. More importantly, they’ve outpaced the market’s overall shrinkage, which is being driven by an economic cool-down and the effects of the U.S.-China trade war.The company makes cars in China through three joint ventures. Its sales in the country peaked at 4.04 million vehicles in 2017 but fell 10% to 3.65 million in 2018.Last year’s 15% decline …READ MORE
Japan Issues Arrest Warrant for Ghosn’s WifeA court in Japan has granted an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole, two weeks after the former Nissan chairman fled the country to avoid charges of financial misdeeds.Prosecutors claim Carole gave false testimony during a court appearance in April after Ghosn, who had been arrested in November 2018, was re-arrested in Japan on additional charges.She was questioned about allegations that Ghosn had diverted Nissan funds to a company he controlled but she headed. She insisted she had no knowledge of her husband’s business dealings.That Was Then, This is NowBut all that was nine months ago, six months before Ghosn reportedly began planning his escape from Tokyo. Multiple media reports say he was accompanied in his two-hop flight from Japan to Turkey to Lebanon …READ MORE
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