While there are some positive signs for the economy that might help 2010 turn out to be a better year than this, Dr. Sean McAlinden, of the Center for Automotive Research, says next year is only good if you compare it to a disastrous 2009.
While the chief economist of the respected non-profit think tank says that production for the year could rise to 12.4 million units at best, the industry will likely never see the 17.4 million units of the recent, now long forgotten past.
The next peak? Maybe 16 million units by the middle of the next decade.
Moreover, McAlinden hedges his optimism with some inconvenient facts.
- No recession in recorded history has ever been this deep or this long.
- Auto sales since the 1948 recession do not rise until Gross Domestic Product reaches more than 3% growth rates.
- No one is forecasting that even 3% growth will be achieved next year.
- We are looking at the lowest sales rates since the 1970s.
His cautious outlook – and his is a relatively optimistic scenario if you look at other analysts – comes after the government pumped in more than $123 billion in support of the industry and its suppliers during the last year.