auto sales

Europe’s Green Deal will transform its economy, as floods confirm urgency of tackling climate change

The floods raging in Germany and Benelux highlight the scale of the Climate Change challenge ahead.  Last week, Europe announced its roadmap towards a Net Zero economy.  It emphasised that achieving Net Zero, even by 2050, will be impossible if we don’t start now. As the Commission noted in presenting the strategy: “Climate change is

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Oil markets enter the endgame as car companies rush to electrify

Almost every day now sees a car company rushing to announce its plans to boost Electric Vehicle (EV) output. And key OPEC members – such as the UAE – are starting to recognise they have only a few years left to sell their oil, before the market disappears. Last May, the influential International Energy Agency

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Oil markets enter the endgame as car companies rush to electrify Read More

“When all the experts and forecasts agree — something else is going to happen”, Bob Farrell

At the beginning of the year, “everyone knew” that inflation was about to take off, and that the US$ was going to collapse. Last week, the great Bob Farrell’s Rule No 9 proved its worth, yet again. US interest rates fell sharply and the US$ bottomed for this cycle. The two charts above tell the

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“When all the experts and forecasts agree — something else is going to happen”, Bob Farrell Read More

Supply chains set to transform as companies start to reshore

Major new opportunities are starting to appear in today’s New Normal world, as I describe in a new analysis for the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Please click here to read the full article. We are set to enter a “New Normal” world as economies slowly reopen again with the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines. This will

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Supply chains set to transform as companies start to reshore Read More

Pandemic leads to ‘baby bust’ as births decline in most countries

A year ago, many were suggesting the lockdowns might produce a “baby boom” as couples spent more time together. But early data suggests the world is instead seeing a “baby bust”. As Nikkei Asia reports: “Births (in December/January) have fallen between 10% and 20% in such countries as Japan, France and Spain — and even

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Pandemic leads to ‘baby bust’ as births decline in most countries Read More

Americans hunker down on spending as the pandemic’s impact continues

US stock markets have been hitting new records recently, as investors swoon over the likelihood that the $1400 stimulus payments will power a major surge in consumer spending. But unfortunately, the facts show this is most unlikely. The chart from the New York Federal Reserve measures consumers’ intentions with regards to the 3 stimulus cheques

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Americans hunker down on spending as the pandemic’s impact continues Read More

Rising US interest rates, US$ and oil prices set to pressure financial markets

Everyone who has ever played the Beer Distribution Game on a training course knows what is happening in supply chains today. A small increase in underlying demand is rapidly leading to a massive increase in ‘apparent demand’. As the New York Times reports, “the pandemic has disrupted every stage of the (supply chain) journey.”  And

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Rising US interest rates, US$ and oil prices set to pressure financial markets Read More

Weak demand – and the illusion of a return to “normal”

My new interview with Real Vision focuses on the major changes underway in the economy. Our analysis of the chemical industry, auto market, and technology sector, suggests a return to the “old normal” is highly unlikely. Instead, major changes are underway in Demand Patterns, Reshoring, Energy Abundance, the Circular Economy and in Advanced Manufacturing.  For

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Weak demand – and the illusion of a return to “normal” Read More

Look for Winners and Losers in 2021

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”. Lenin’s famous insight was highly relevant to 2020. It was full of such weeks as the coronavirus pandemic became a catalyst for major paradigm shifts in the economy. Of course, some sceptics still expect a quick V-shaped return to ‘business as usual’,

Look for Winners and Losers in 2021 Read More

Businesses face “biggest imposition of red tape in 50 years” as Brexit begins

Most companies had closed when the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was finally announced on Christmas Eve. And they are only now starting to get their heads around what it all means. Essentially, it creates the biggest shake-up to the UK’s trading relationships since 1973.  As the BBC’s Economics Editor reported: “It is

Businesses face “biggest imposition of red tape in 50 years” as Brexit begins Read More

US chemical companies face ‘wake-up call’ as Biden focuses on the Climate Change agenda

I worked for many years at a world-leading chemical company, ICI. But sadly, it lost its way as senior management began to focus more on financial metrics than market developments. In 2007, it disappeared. Today, other companies including the once-mighty ExxonMobil risk making similar mistakes: EM was the world’s most valuable company just 9 years ago It 

US chemical companies face ‘wake-up call’ as Biden focuses on the Climate Change agenda Read More

OPEC set to lose out as Biden, EU and China focus on Climate Change opportunities

OPEC used to dominate global oil markets. In the early 1980s, there was even talk of another OPEC cartel to control gas prices. But those days are long gone.  Instead OPEC members such as the UAE are increasingly aware they have only a limited time left to monetise their vast reserves of fossil fuels. This is

OPEC set to lose out as Biden, EU and China focus on Climate Change opportunities Read More

Plastics producers face a ‘wake-up call’ from both ends of the value chain

Plastics producers have had a great run over the past 60 years, as demand took off for their products. But now globalisation is being replaced by sustainability, and they risk being left with an out-of-date business model, and falling revenues. Upstream, refinery closures are gathering pace as electric vehicle sales accelerate Downstream, brand owners and

Plastics producers face a ‘wake-up call’ from both ends of the value chain Read More

Chemical industry has key role in helping to create a more sustainable world

The chemical industry has a critical role to play in enabling the world to “build back better” after the pandemic. That is the conclusion of the World Economic Forum’s Chemical and Advanced Materials Industry Action Group, for which I had the privilege of acting as an Expert Adviser. Its conclusions are as follows: “Where next?

Chemical industry has key role in helping to create a more sustainable world Read More

The New Normal for global industry

The global chemical industry is the third largest sector in the world behind agriculture and energy, and its outputs find their way into everything we consume. Paul Hodges, chairman of the pH Report, analyzes the chemical industry to give a unique perspective on the global economy to investors and corporations. In this timely discussion, he

The New Normal for global industry Read More

“They may ring their bells now, before long they will be wringing their hands”

The wisdom of Sir Robert Walpole, the UK’s first premier, seems the only possible response to this weekend’s headline from the Wall Street Journal. How can a National Emergency ever be the basis for a major rise in stock markets? Of course, we all know that stock markets have become addicted to stimulus. But the

“They may ring their bells now, before long they will be wringing their hands” Read More

Chain’s smartphone and auto sales tumble as coronavirus hits demand

China is the world’s largest market for smartphones and autos – responsible for c30% of global sales for both.  Yet as Reuters notes: “Most western policymakers and journalists view the world economy through a framework that is 10-15 years out of date, failing to account fully for the enormous shift in activity towards China and

Chain’s smartphone and auto sales tumble as coronavirus hits demand Read More

China’s lockdown makes global debt crisis now almost certain

Beijing has a population of 21.5 million, but you wouldn’t know it from this BBC video from last Thursday.  Normally busy streets and transport systems are eerily empty, with food deliveries often the main traffic on the roads. It’s the same picture in industry, with the Baidu Migration Index reporting only 26% of migrant workers

China’s lockdown makes global debt crisis now almost certain Read More

Contingency planning is essential in 2020 as “synchronised slowdown” continues

The IMF has now confirmed that the world economy has moved into the synchronised slowdown that I forecast here a year ago. Its analysis also confirms the importance of the issues highlighted then, including “rising trade barriers and increasing geopolitical tensions”, a sharp decline in manufacturing, contraction in the auto industry and structural forces such

Contingency planning is essential in 2020 as “synchronised slowdown” continues Read More

Auto markets set for major disruption as Electric Vehicle sales reach tipping point

Major disruption is starting to occur in the world’s largest manufacturing industry.  Hundreds of thousands of jobs will likely be lost in the next few years in auto manufacturing and its supply chains, as consumers move over to Electric Vehicles (EVs). As the chart from Idaho National Laboratory confirms, EVs have relatively few parts –

Auto markets set for major disruption as Electric Vehicle sales reach tipping point Read More

Europe’s auto sector suffers as Dieselgate and China’s downturn hit sales

Trade wars, Dieselgate and recession risk are having a major impact on the European auto industry, as I describe in my new video interview with ICIS Chemical Business deputy editor, Will Beacham. One key pressure point is created by the downturn in China’s auto industry. As the chart shows, it has been a fabulous growth

Europe’s auto sector suffers as Dieselgate and China’s downturn hit sales Read More

The End of “Business as Usual”

In my interview for Real Vision earlier this month, (where the world’s most successful investors share their thoughts on the markets and the biggest investment themes), I look at what data from the global chemical industry is telling us about the outlook for the global economy and suggest it could be set for a downturn. “We look at

The End of “Business as Usual” Read More

Chart of the Year – China’s shadow banking collapse means deflation may be round the corner

Last year it was Bitcoin, in 2016 it was the near-doubling in US 10-year interest rates, and in 2015 was the oil price fall.  This year, once again, there is really only one candidate for ‘Chart of the Year’ – it has to be the collapse of China’s shadow banking bubble: It averaged around $20bn/month

Chart of the Year – China’s shadow banking collapse means deflation may be round the corner Read More

BASF’s second profit warning highlights scale of the downturn now underway

The chemical industry is easily the best leading indicator for the global economy.  And thanks to Kevin Swift and his team at the American Chemistry Council, we already have data showing developments up to October, as the chart shows. It confirms that consensus hopes for a “synchronised global recovery” at the beginning of the year

BASF’s second profit warning highlights scale of the downturn now underway Read More

Hurricane Harvey: lack of insurance will hit Houston’s recovery

“By Monday, the third straight day of flooding, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey had left much of the region underwater, and the city of Houston looked like a sea dotted by small islands.  ’This event is unprecedented,’ the National Weather Service tweeted. ‘All impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced.’” This summary from the New […]

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Auto sales confirm critical flaws in the BRIC concept

, It is 15 years since Goldman Sachs coined the word BRIC to highlight their argument that growth in the global economy would, in future, be led by the major emerging economies rather than the developed world.  The core concept was that China and India would become the dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, whilst Brazil […]

Auto sales confirm critical flaws in the BRIC concept Read More

China’s slowdown continues as Xi “takes the pain” of reform

“What a difference a day makes“. Dinah Washington’s famous song could well be applied, with a longer timescale, to developments in China’s economy. The shape of the above chart has changed completely since it was last featured here in January 2015, as volatility has increased in China’s economy.  It shows the relationship between bank lending and […]

China’s slowdown continues as Xi “takes the pain” of reform Read More

Americans drive less as auto market demand patterns change

34m Americans will be driving at least 50 miles this Memorial Day weekend, which marks the start of the summer ”driving season”.  But contrary to popular belief, the average American is driving less these days. The total number of miles driven is still increasing due to the rising US population.  But on an individual basis, people are driving 6% less […]

Americans drive less as auto market demand patterns change Read More

India’s car market plateaus as motorbike sales dominate

Motorbikes continue to dominate India’s motor vehicle market, as the chart above shows based on new data from the industry association (India’s year runs from April – March): 16.5m 2-wheelers were sold in the year, up 2% versus 2014-15, and took 2/3rds of the market 2.8m passenger cars were also sold, with volume up 7%, and had a 12% […]

India’s car market plateaus as motorbike sales dominate Read More

Brazil’s PE market shifts from import to export as recession bites

4 years ago, Brazil’s polyethylene market flagged up the first warning signs that its GDP was hitting headwinds, as China’s stimulus programme begin to slow.  Today, sadly, the economy is in major recesssion, with the impeachment process against President Rousseff adding further pressure: World Bank data shows GDP fell 3.7% last year: they forecast “only” […]

Brazil’s PE market shifts from import to export as recession bites Read More

BRIC auto sales stall as Brazil and Russia recessions worsen

Clouds are gathering over the auto industry, as the impact of the post-2008 stimulus programmes fades into history. It is hard to believe that back in 2013, only 3 years ago, analysts were confidently predicting that Russia would have become the world’s 5th largest market by 2020.  And they were similarly forecasting great things for Brazil, which […]

BRIC auto sales stall as Brazil and Russia recessions worsen Read More

US auto sales head towards price war as subprime loans rise

The warnings keep coming about the underlying health of the US auto market.  But, as with the subprime housing crisis, nobody wants to listen: Last October, the US Comptroller of the Currency warned that some activity “in auto loans reminds me of what happened in mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the crisis“ Yet auto […]

US auto sales head towards price war as subprime loans rise Read More

Auto sales slump in Japan, Brazil and Russia as China slows

China’s slowdown is continuing to reverberate around the world.  One way of measuring this is to look at auto sales in countries closely linked to China’s market such as Japan, Russia and Brazil.  As the chart shows, they did well during China’s stimulus period, but they are struggling now.  By comparison, more self-sufficient India has […]

Auto sales slump in Japan, Brazil and Russia as China slows Read More

Renault’s success with Dacia highlights changes underway in European auto markets

You never meet a shy and retiring car salesman.  They are always bursting with confidence, about to sell you a tremendous deal.  So we have to expect that the companies are always going to be confident about the future – even when it looks unpromising to everyone else.  2008 is close enough, that we can […]

Renault’s success with Dacia highlights changes underway in European auto markets Read More

China’s car market: triple shock ahead

Auto manufacturers, their suppliers and investors need to prepare themselves for a triple shock from China’s slowing economy, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog The first shock is already under way. As the chart shows, China’s slowdown has caused passenger car volumes to decline in the Bric economies – […]

China’s car market: triple shock ahead Read More

China’s auto slowdown to push spare capacity into export markets

Where would the world’s auto industry, and its suppliers, have been without China in recent years?  And how will they manage now China’s demand for new cars is slowing fast?  These are the question troubling companies and investors as Q3 sales are analysed. The chart above shows the recent history of sales in the Top […]

China’s auto slowdown to push spare capacity into export markets Read More

“If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold”: China’s New Normal policies require companies to undertake radical strategy reviews

Wishful thinking can be terribly dangerous for company profits.  Taken to extremes, it can lead them into bankruptcy. Recent developments in China thus make it essential for every company to immediately review its strategy for doing business in/with the country, against a realistic outlook for 2016-2018 GDP growth will likely be zero, and could well […]

“If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold”: China’s New Normal policies require companies to undertake radical strategy reviews Read More

GM says owning a car in a city “is the last thing you should do”

Something strange is happening in the European auto market, as the above chart from the industry association shows: Normally there are seasonal patterns, with March seeing the highest sales of the year But the trend of increase or decline is normally fairly stable in either direction This year, however, both March and now June have […]

GM says owning a car in a city “is the last thing you should do” Read More

China’s new car market goes ex-growth as used car sales take off

My latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below |Jun 30 17:45 By Paul Hodges of International eChem Major structural change is under way in China’s passenger car market. New car sales grew just 1.2 per cent in May, as the country develops a used car market for the first time in its history. […]

China’s new car market goes ex-growth as used car sales take off Read More

Average US auto loan term hits record 68 months in May

May was “another fantastic month for US auto sales”.  Or, it took the industry “one month closer to an inevitable downturn”.  All depends on which analyst you talk to: Ward’s Autos called May’s sales the best since July 2005 LMC Automotive suggested growth rates were slowing, and could possibly even contract next year It also depends […]

Average US auto loan term hits record 68 months in May Read More

Brazilian, Russian, Japanese auto markets continue to struggle

Bill White’s important critique of the policies being followed by his former central bank colleagues echoes his warnings before the 2008 Crisis.  One of his key points is that they have focused on manipulating the value of financial assets, ratehr than on developments in the real economy: “The price of financial assets, just think of Bunds […]

Brazilian, Russian, Japanese auto markets continue to struggle Read More

BRIJ auto markets continue to struggle

Q1 showed little sign of improvement in the world’s second-tier auto markets – Brazil, Russia, India, Japan. In total, their sales used to equal those of the EU, the world’s 3rd largest market.  But Q1 volumes saw a 16% decline versus 2014 levels, as the chart shows: Japan’s sales were boosted in 2014 (blue column) by buying ahead […]

BRIJ auto markets continue to struggle Read More

China’s used car market set to drive future auto sales growth

China’s auto market is going through major change.  Tier 1 cities have imposed limits on car ownership, and car use by government officials is being severely restricted.  In addition, the lending bubble that drove major growth in recent years is coming to an end. Perhaps even more importantly for the medium term, a used car market is now developing […]

China’s used car market set to drive future auto sales growth Read More

Atlanta Fed Q1 GDP indicator at 0.2%, as US housing, auto sales remain below previous trends

US housing starts are slowing so far this year, with February’s starts just below the million level again on an annualised basis.  This follows the steadily declining rate of home ownership, which is now back at 1995′s level of 64%.  And yesterday’s Case-Shiller report on home prices suggests the 10-City Index may well have peaked back in […]

Atlanta Fed Q1 GDP indicator at 0.2%, as US housing, auto sales remain below previous trends Read More

Discounts support EU auto sales as Paris plans diesel car ban

A mild winter, combined with 20% price discounts, has kept EU auto sales in growth mode.  Latest data from ACEA shows January sales at 999k were the best for the month since 2011′s 1.042m.  The chart above shows the 12-month trend line since 2005, to avoid seasonal fluctuations with the monthly data (blue line): Sales were […]

Discounts support EU auto sales as Paris plans diesel car ban Read More

BMW says China’s auto sales are heading into a New Normal

Its amazing what a lending bubble can do in the short-term, as the above chart shows.  It updates my August post for the Financial Times, and highlights the astonishing rise in China’s bank lending since 2008 on the x-axis, and the remarkable rise in auto sales on the y-axis. Official data shows average disposable income last […]

BMW says China’s auto sales are heading into a New Normal Read More

Chart of the Year – China’s auto sales bubble begins to burst

‘How China fooled the world’ was the subject of an excellent BBC documentary early in 2014 by senior editor, Robert Peston.  The BBC headline was as follows: “Now, Peston reveals what has actually happened inside China since the economic collapse in the west in 2008. It is a story of spending and investment on a scale never […]

Chart of the Year – China’s auto sales bubble begins to burst Read More

Russian downturn causes GM, Ford U-turn; EU slows despite discounts

August is a holiday month for Europe’s statisticians.  So we had to wait until yesterday for a combined summary of July and August’s EU auto sales.  As the chart shows, they indicate a new slowdown is underway after the more encouraging volumes at the start of the year: Sales were up only 5.6% in July and 2.1% in August (red square), […]

Russian downturn causes GM, Ford U-turn; EU slows despite discounts Read More

US reaches ‘peak car’ moment as incentives, inventories rise, whilst fewer Americans carry driving licenses

The blog’s suggestion back in March that now would be a good time for US readers to buy a new car is looking more and more prescient.  As the head of American Honda explained to investors last month: “In addition to a heavy reliance on fleet sales to boost volumes, we are seeing some of our […]

US reaches ‘peak car’ moment as incentives, inventories rise, whilst fewer Americans carry driving licenses Read More

China’s waning stimulus spells trouble for the world’s biggest car market

The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below. By Paul Hodges of International eChem China’s July lending level of just Rmb 385bn ($62.6bn) has surprised financial markets, which were expecting an increase in stimulus. But bigger surprises may lie ahead. The strong link between lending and passenger car sales […]

China’s waning stimulus spells trouble for the world’s biggest car market Read More

China condom sales droop 1 million/day on anti-graft campaign

Condom sales have dropped by 1 million/day in China according to The Economist magazine.  It highlights how: Across China, luxury retailers and fancy restaurants are suffering from an edict against wasteful government spending. A chill has crept into karaoke parlours and brothels; mistresses also face a hard time. The reason is the new leadership’s anti-corruption […]

China condom sales droop 1 million/day on anti-graft campaign Read More

Indian auto sales decline as the middle class myth disappears

India’s stock market has hit new records this week, as investors anticipate radical policy changes after election results are announced today.  And the chart above highlights a key area behind the need for change, namely the problems of the important auto market: Indian auto sales dipped in April to just 183k (red square) This is […]

Indian auto sales decline as the middle class myth disappears Read More

India’s car buyers remain cautious despite pre-election tax cut

Its pre-election time in India, as the world’s largest democracy prepares to go to the polls next month.  And so auto sales are receiving special attention from the politicians in advance of the vote. Thus the Finance Minister cut taxes last month on all models, to 8% from 12% for small cars, 2-wheelers and commercial vehicles; to […]

India’s car buyers remain cautious despite pre-election tax cut Read More

Lanxess CEO departs as auto markets enter the New Normal

The blog, like most people, doesn’t like change.  Change creates uncertainty, and makes us all nervous.  Therefore in recent years, it has secretly hoped that its forecasts about the inevitability of the subprime crisis, and the arrival of the New Normal, would prove wrong.  Life would be so much easier if everything could simply continue as it […]

Lanxess CEO departs as auto markets enter the New Normal Read More

Global auto industry sales growth depends on China

Autos remain the world’s largest manufacturing industry, and the single biggest source of demand for chemicals and plastics.  According to detailed analysis by the American Chemistry Council, each new US auto is worth $3,539 in terms of sales – and involves a wide range of products including antifreeze, plastic dashboards, bumpers and windows, as well as upholstery […]

Global auto industry sales growth depends on China Read More

China auto sales jump to meet pollution quota deadline

China’s auto sales moved past Europe’s in 2010, and are now close to US levels.  But even China is not expected to maintain this surge in 2014.  As the chart above shows, sales soared in the past few months (red line) versus 2012 (green).  But as the automotive association explains, this was mainly because: “Panic consumption over […]

China auto sales jump to meet pollution quota deadline Read More

Brazil, Russia, India car sales fall for first time in 10 years

Since 2009, the 4 BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have been the focus of every car manufacturers’ dreams.  Whilst the West worried about ageing populations and its financial crisis, the BRICs seemed to have moved into a new dimension. Today, however, reality is beginning to set in: Auto sales in Brazil (the world’s […]

Brazil, Russia, India car sales fall for first time in 10 years Read More

China auto sales could drop if lending squeeze continues

Imagine for a moment that you had become president or premier of China following the leadership transition in March.  You know that the country’s economic model has to change.  But you also know that you have to carefully develop your powerbase, whilst also putting in place new policies. Probably you would take things cautiously at […]

China auto sales could drop if lending squeeze continues Read More

BMW says “pay to use” models will challenge US auto industry

Major change seems underway in the auto industry, as BMW joins the list of those entering the car-sharing market with its DriveNow electric vehicles.  As BMW’s Tony Douglas noted at their launch: “Our core business in the ’70s was selling cars; in the ’80s, late ’70s came the great innovation of leasing and financing. Now […]

BMW says “pay to use” models will challenge US auto industry Read More

India’s onion harvest boosts auto sales: Japan’s sales gently decline

The blog’s pre-Budget Outlook review of the major auto markets concludes today with Japan and India.  Together they are 10% of the global market.  But their development is an excellent example of how reality can overtake the wishful thinking of policymakers: Japan (red line) is the larger market.  It has lived through countless government stimulus […]

India’s onion harvest boosts auto sales: Japan’s sales gently decline Read More

European auto markets head in a new direction

The European auto market continues at 20-year lows, with sales down 4% in January – September.  Whilst September’s sales appeared stronger, up 5% versus 2012, this was only due to Spain and the UK.  Spain boosted volume by 10k due to a €2.7k ($3.7k) government hand-out for people trading in an older vehicle.  Whilst UK volumes were up 40k due to a credit […]

European auto markets head in a new direction Read More

EU auto sales fall again

April was another bad month for EU auto sales.

As the chart shows, based on ACEA data, sales were down 7% in April (red square) and down 8% versus 2011 (green line) in January – April.

The only bright spot remains Germany, were sales were up 2% in t…

EU auto sales fall again Read More

EU auto sales hit new lows

Autos are now the single biggest market for petchem sales. They are also reported very quickly. So October’s EU auto sales provide the best real-time picture of the downturn now underway. As the chart shows:

• October’s sales (red square) were th…

EU auto sales hit new lows Read More

US auto sales remain flat

The good news about US auto sales last month was that they were the highest September sales since 2007. The bad news was that they were still below the 1.1 million level, which was the minimum monthly sale from 2005 – August 2008.

The reasons for the …

US auto sales remain flat Read More