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Global Perspective on the Fate of Automotive Industry in 2010

SpecialChem / May 11, 2010

While it has not been a case of "business as usual" in the first quarter of 2010, it was a case of "business as expected". Thus far, none of the major automotive markets have sprung any surprises sufficient to derail prior assumptions. Moving into Q2, the focus will shift to the strength and sustainability of the economic recovery as stimuli are scaled back or removed.

The 57.2 million light vehicles built in 2009 mark the lowest global total since 2002 and represents a near 9 million unit fall (-13%) from 2008. Remarkably, this global decline occurred despite the fact that China built some 9 million vehicles more in 2009 than 2002, thus highlighting the severity of the downturn in most other major markets. It could therefore be argued that China, significantly helped by government intervention, played as great a role in underpinning global output as the impact of intervention did in many other countries. As most major developed markets recover in 2010, China is expected to remain the powerhouse, still supported by government stimulus. However, questions around the duration and extent of support bring as much uncertainty to the Chinese outlook as is the case for a host of world markets this year.

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