Beyond European borders
Across the pond, industry analysts predict a slight dip in annual new-vehicle sales in North America, but overall sales are expected to continue at a relatively strong pace throughout the coming year.
The overall strength in the US market was apparent last month, with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Detroit motor show (NAIAS) both taking place. CES continues to grow in importance as a major event for automotive news, with autonomous and electric cars dominating trade media coverage.
Further south, 2017 was a record year for the Mexican automotive industry. This arose despite US President Donald Trump demanding that Mexico-based US OEMs relocate back to the United States as part of his “America First” drive to create more US jobs. Output was up 9% in 2017 compared to 2016 and exports increased by 12%. Out of all vehicles sold in America, 14% are made in Mexico.
In Brazil, the automotive industry has made some progress, though continues to struggle. As a result of policies introduced back in the 1950s, 90% of vehicles sold in Brazil are made in the country and subject to an innovation-dampening requirement that requires content along the entire value chain to be locally sourced. Many believe the sector is in desperate need of a new vision, based on specialisation to fit into the global value chain instead of attempting to replicate the whole industry within its own borders. This shift will require opening the domestic market for imports, and make finished vehicles and auto parts competitive through increased exports on the international market.
The good news is that the Brazilian automotive sector was on its way to recovery in 2017. It was the first year of growth in light vehicle demand following a four-year decline that halved sales. Vehicle manufacturing in January 2018 was up 23% compared to January last year, and truck production was up 56% in the same period.
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This story was written by automotive PR specialists Torque Agency Group.