订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 汽车

经济持续疲软,车市反弹无期

Doron Levin 2011年09月08日

汽车业似乎刚要迎来翘首以待的反弹,谁知又再次撞上南墙。

    全球汽车业似乎刚要迎来翘首以待的反弹,谁知又再次撞上南墙。分析人士最近纷纷调低了今年和明年的汽车销售预期。看来,倒闭潮、经济衰退和日本3月地震所带来的后遗症还远没有到痊愈的时候。

    一旦对于销售低迷的担忧变成现实,汽车厂家将被迫减产裁员,而进口商将减少日本车、欧洲车和韩国车的进口量。与此同时,为了节约开支,消费者将在2011年和2012年继续使用现有的座驾。经季节调整之后的汽车销售量从7月份的1,220万辆下降到了8月份的1,210万辆。

    但是日本的汽车供应是个例外。日本3月11日发生了地震和海啸,生产停顿,目前正处于恢复期。

    在美国,“工作很难找”,资讯公司HIS汽车部高级汽车经济师乔治•麦格里亚诺说道。他的这番话描述了整个美国失业状况而不仅仅是底特律就业机会的锐减。目前,美国失业率仍然徘徊在9%的高位。“谁都想买新车,但是现在他们连住的地方都没有。人们的股票投资组合也受到了经济疲软的侵蚀。”

    麦格里亚诺说如今美国路面上行使的车辆平均使用年限已经超过了10年,创下历史之最。目前美国本土老化的车辆共有约2.37亿辆,与以往经济衰退期间出产的车相比,这些车更耐用,也更易于修理。

    换句话说,汽车厂家多年来对汽车质量的不断改进如今反而成了汽车业发展的绊脚石。

    两周前,HIS公司将今年的销售预期由先前的1,270万辆下调至1,250万辆。麦格里亚诺还说,经济复苏伊始,该公司对2011年汽车销售的预期高达1,340万辆。过去10年,美国汽车的年销售量最高为1,700万辆,平均每年达到了1,600万辆。

    市场资讯公司J.D. Power & Associates北美市场预测部的高级经理大卫•卡廷说:“要恢复到1,700万辆的销售水平需要一段时间。”与此同时,他还认为,即使经济重新步入正轨,1,500-1,600万的年销量也会成为“新的常态”。

    两周前,J.D. Power公司也将2011年的销售预期由先前的1,290万辆下调至1,260万辆,同时也将2012年的1,470万辆的汽车和卡车的销售预期下调至1,410万辆。

    “显然,必须进一步改善就业状况,”卡廷说,“同时还需要解决政府的僵局。”汽车租赁商赫兹(Hertz,)以及National公司曾经都是汽车制造商旗下的公司,也是汽车制造商销售汽车的渠道。以前,这些租赁公司的车在使用不久后就会按“九成新”汽车出售给消费者。而现在,租赁公司延长了汽车使用时限,因此公司更新车辆的周期也相应延长。“根据我自己的经验,现在很多租赁公司车都已经跑了35,000-40,000英里”,卡廷说,“以前只有几千英里而已”。

    某些车型的销售好于整体车市的行情,这包括部分紧凑车及跨界车例如通用雪佛兰(Chevrolet)的Equinox,福特(Ford)的Escape。部分日本车,特别是本田(Honda)和丰田(Toyota)的车型往往供不应求。由于油价一直居高不下,福特的Taurus和克莱斯勒(Chrysler)300等大型车的销量则逐年下降。面包车的销量例如克莱斯勒的Town and Country以及本田的奥德赛(Odyssey)也遭受了重创。

    租赁领域一直是美国市场的亮点之一,这一领域又新增了两个百分点上升到20%。宽松的借贷和低廉的利率刺激了租赁服务的发展。

    作为消费者的第二大消费领域,汽车是财富的象征,而汽车业则是解决就业的重要部门,同时也是刺激经济发展的重要因素。遭受重创的汽车业迫切需要喘息之机,因此,面对低于预期的销售量,失望的不仅仅是汽车厂商,同时也包括它们的衣食父母——手头拮据的美国消费者。

    Just when automakers appeared to be gaining some much-needed momentum, they hit another wall. Weak economic conditions have prompted analysts to lower their vehicles sales forecasts for this year and next. Now, the hangover of bankruptcy, recession and the Japanese earthquake in March appears far from over.

    If fears of weaker sales become reality, auto plants will produce fewer vehicles and employ fewer workers, while importers could cut shipments from Japan, Europe and South Korea. Consumers, meanwhile, will continue to try and save money in 2011 and 2012 by driving their old cars a little while longer. The seasonally-adjusted annual rate of vehicle sales fell to 12.1 million in August from a 12.2 million rate in July.

    An exception to the forecast could be the supply of cars from Japan, which was disrupted by the March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami. Japanese factories are recovering from the disaster.

    In the U.S. "the jobs just aren't there," says George Magliano, senior auto economist for IHS Automotive. He's not talking about a decimated Detroit, but the current overall U.S. unemployment rate, which hovers over 9%. "People would like to buy new cars, but they're being pushed out of their homes. Economic weakness is leaching into their stock portfolios."

    Magliano says the average age of a car on U.S. roads has risen above 10 years, the highest in history. The aging of the domestic fleet of about 237 million vehicles has been made possible by cars that are more durable and can be repaired more easily than in past recessions.

    In other words, years of striving to improve quality are coming back to bite auto manufacturers.

    Two weeks ago, IHS lowered its sales forecast for this year to 12.5 million vehicles, down from 12.7 million. In the early stage of the economic recovery, its forecast for 2011 was as high as 13.4 million vehicles, Magliano says. In the last decade U.S. sales were as high as 17 million vehicles and averaged about 16 million annually.

    "It will take a while to get back to that [17 million] level,'' says Dave Cutting, senior manager of North American forecasting for J.D. Power & Associates. In the meantime, he said, sales of 15 million to 16 million vehicles will be the "new normal" for a healthy economy.

    J.D. Power two weeks ago cut its 2011 vehicle sales forecast to 12.6 million, down from 12.9 million. For 2012 the company cut its forecast to 14.1 million cars and trucks from an earlier 14.7 million.

    "Obviously job creation has to improve," Cutting says, "as well as the gridlock that engulfs Washington."

    Rental car companies like Hertz (HTZ (HTZ, Fortune 500)) and National, once owned by automakers and used as a way to distribute vehicles that later were sold to consumers as "almost new," are also operating vehicles much longer before trading for new. "My own experience is that lots of rental cars have 35,000 or 40,000 miles on the odometer," Cutting says. "They used to have only a couple thousand."

    Certain segments have outperformed the overall market, noticeably compact cars as well as crossover utility vehicles like the Chevrolet (GM (GM, Fortune 500)) Equinox and Ford (F (F, Fortune 500)) Escape. And some Japanese vehicles, especially those from Honda (HMC (HMC)) and Toyota (TM (TM)), have been in short supply. Large cars like the Ford Taurus and Chrysler 300 are down in sales on a year-over-year basis, partly because of high gasoline prices. Minivans like Chrysler's Town and Country and Honda's Odyssey have been disproportionately hurt as well.

    One bright spot in the U.S. market has been leasing, which is up about 2 percentage points to 20%. The availability of credit and low interest costs have spurred lease deals.

    As the second-largest investment for consumers, cars are a sign of prosperity as well as a major employer and stimulant to the overall economy. Slower than expected sales, therefore, will be disappointing not only for a battered auto industry dying for a break -- but also for the strapped American consumers they're counting on.

我来点评

相关稿件

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏