The automotive industry isn't back on the upswing yet. 2007 may prove to be a nine-year low for sales at 16.2 million units, with Detroit automakers taking the biggest hit. CSM Worldwide, leading auto industry analysts, released a report recently indicating that U.S. light-vehicle sales would drop 1.2 percent from the 16.4 million units expected to leave dealer showrooms by the end of this year.

The leading reason -- surprise, surprise -- is that folks have bought their new cars already, or as CSM says, the industry has "depleted pent-up demand." Contributing to the problem is the soft housing market and vehicle devaluation, but efforts to eliminate incentives and raise the value of vehicles should help out. Despite efforts to raise the values of its vehicles, however, the situation poses major challenges for Ford and General Motors in their restructuring efforts.

Asian automakers, on the other hand, are poised to do well despite the market contraction, with Toyota actually gaining a full point of market share.

[Source: Automotive News]