• May 20th 2010 at 2:20PM
  • 27
2009 was the single worst sales year for the auto industry in 30 years, with just 10.4 million vehicles moving off dealer lots. Consultancy A.T. Kearney feels a lot better about 2010 and beyond, though, as pent-up demand is beginning to creep into the market. A.T. Kearney predicts that by the time 2010 is in the history books, the industry will have hit between 11.4 and 12.3 million cars and trucks sold, but if you hold the company to just one number, it estimates a market of 11.7 million units.

If the economic recovery continues to gain steam, 2011 could see 14.4 million sales. That would be a huge sum for an industry that has scaled back production to meet current demand. The firm feels 2012 will bring auto sales back to pre-industry collapse, with an estimated 16.6 million cars and trucks manufactured.

It's worth noting that the A.T. Kearney forecast is quite a bit more aggressive than many we've seen, but analyst Daniel Cheng tells Reuters that the analysis closely follows what happened in the early 1980s, when demand shot right back up after a lull of a couple of years. Among the potential calamities that could derail the industry's climb back to normalcy are a double-dip recession and credit that doesn't loosen up over time.

If A.T. Kearney's industry sales forecast comes close to true, we're thinking there are going to be a lot of happy automakers in carmaking nations the world over. The industry will need to hire more workers, which won't be bad for the economy, either.

Where do you think the industry will finish in 2011? Leave your best guess in 'Comments.'

[Source: Reuters | Image: Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I doubt that will happen, sales will go up but no that much. Simply too many too deep in debt and unemployed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes and I will be contributing this year!!!!!! Plus its the American way. Once you get your debt lowered or get a new job. Go to the bank and get more money to buy items we don't need.
      • 5 Years Ago
      One of the biggest reasons for lofty car sales were the high number of leases. Something that in recent years has dried up.

      Let's also not forget about the record amount of incentives given out to consumers right now. 60-72 months same as cash for many cars with extra cash on the hood.

      As an example you can buy a 2010 Galant SE with 18" wheels and Sun&Sound for $17,500 with 0% for 72 months. $25,000 sticker for $17,500. The payment is $242 a month for a brand new car. Yes it isn't the best car in its class but you will still get ten years out of the thing if you take care of it.

      Get rid of massive incentives and watch new car sales dry up. Incentives are great for sale numbers but not for profits.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those U.S.sales numbers will never be achieved. There are too many factors working against private automobile ownership. I'm betting on a resurgence in mass-transportation and people moving back into urban enclaves. Transportation will look very different in thirty years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No way it's going to be that good. We can idle at 10-12M annually for another 2 or 3 years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So how many people do you reap off a month?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jeez, tuck in yer shirt, whydon'tya?
        • 5 Years Ago
        he should also wash his hair
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope not. I think it's time we start producing LESS cars, of better quality and longevity. Currently we overproduce so much that it drives down the value of used cars to the point where a minor repair doesn't make financial sense. That was a long sentence. But point being.... so many new cars produced = waste.

      Produce fewer, better, more interesting ones. Keep your current car well maintained and it will last a long, long time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Glock23: I think you all need some actual facts................http://green. ..."

        Sorry, you lost me at "green". These days it's hard to swallow the idea of "facts" and "green" in the same sentence let alone url...



        • 5 Years Ago
        Like in Europe, where the average buyer owns a car 3 times longer than the average American? (over 9 years)

        New cars are going to continue to be built in quantity as long as people are buying them... which I don't bellieve is going to be much longer (see above comment)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems quite optimistic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the mid term trend is 14.4M.

      The 12 months from Oct 2010 to Sep 2011 will be 15.5M then drop for 6 months to 14.0 then back to 14.4.

      You can all write how wrong I am here, but when it turns out true, you'll remember.

      She's a model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      PS; the girl in the picture is hot as fawk. How come I never get customers like that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1000
        • 5 Years Ago
        I clicked on "comments" thinking "man this thread will be filled by comments on that hot brunet. Yet, I waited till the 17th comment to catch someone bringing up that fact. With that said, congrats, you got decent taste in woman! God damn she's fine...

        Hehe
        • 5 Years Ago
        Very cute indeed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it might be optimistic.

      Definitely better than last year, but not sure if it would be that much better.

      I think it is foolish to base their analysis on what happened in the early 80's because cars are much more reliable than they were back then. If you had a 1979 model-year car and it was 1985, you pretty much HAD TO get a new one soon because the wheels were probably really to fall off the one you had. But a 2004 model year car is still considered "new" today.
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