Våras det för bilindustrin – i alla fall i USA? Financial Times rapporterar idag den 21/3 att analytiker i USA är ”försiktigt optimistiska” om den amerikanska bilindustrin. Deras utgångspunkt är börsens egenskap att fungera som en framåtblickande indikator, att GMs aktiekurs mer än fördubblats de gångna två veckorna och att Fords kurs har gått upp 50 procent. Även underleverantörerna har dragit till sig investerare.
Någon gång ska botten ha nåtts. Kanske det är nu, och i USA?
Wall Street hints worst is over for carmakers
By Bernard Simon and John Reed
Published: March 21 2009 02:00 | Last updated: March 21 2009 02:00
The worst could soon be over for the embattled global motor industry if the stock market lives up to its reputation as a reliable leading indicator.
General Motors' shares have more than doubled in the past two weeks from their seven-decade low.
Ford's stock is up 50 per cent to $2.70 and Colin Langan, analyst at UBS, expects it to advance to $5. Investors have also flocked to the carmakers' suppliers.
The rally coincides with glimmers of light that have begun to punctuate the relentlessly bad news coming out of the automotive sector.
"The majority of the world light vehicle market is probably bottoming out," said Pete Kelly, a forecaster with JD Power and Associates. "The question is how long until we get an improvement."
Brian Johnson, analyst at Barclays Capital, echoed the cautious optimism - with the emphasis on cautious - telling clients that "at least a few positives appear to be bolstering confidence in a mid-term recovery".
Over the past week, Ford Credit, Ford's vehicle -financing arm, has raised $3bn and Nissan $1.5bn through the US Federal Reserve's new term asset-backed securities loan (Talf) scheme.
Aimed at easing the credit crunch that has helped choke off vehicle sales, Talf allows investors to use pools of asset-backed securities - such as prime vehicle loans - as collateral for Fed loans. "It helps us provide loans and leases to Ford dealers and customers," Ford Credit said.
Mr Johnson estimates that Talf could generate sales of 300,000-500,000 vehicles, equal to about 4 per cent of this year's projected total.
Meanwhile, the US government has moved to alleviate suppliers' distress with a $5bn lifeline that guarantees receivables from their carmaker customers and provides immediate liquidity through sales of receivables to the Treasury at a discount.
"This is the first piece of our efforts to assist this important industry," a -member of President Obama's automotive industry taskforce said, foreshadowing a series of other announcements over the next week or two.
Further government aid for GM and Chrysler could boost their sales, which have dropped more sharply than most of their competitors, partly because of concern over their future.
Yesterday, Steve Rattner, a senior member of the automotive taskforce, said that GM and Chrysler may need much more than the $21.6bn they have requested.
"It could be considerably higher, I won't deny that," he told Bloomberg TV.
Consumer reluctance to buy new cars and trucks remains the crux of the industry's problems.
US sales in March so far show no improvement from the severely depressed levels seen in the first two months of the year. In western Europe, new-car registrations were 22 per cent lower in January and February than a year earlier.
Experian Automotive, a data analysis group, estimates that the proportion of car loans more than 60 days overdue has climbed to 1.04 per cent from 0.89 per cent in late 2007. Loans totalling $29bn are now more than 30 days overdue.
According to Patrick Archambault, an analyst at Goldman Sachs: "We still see scant evidence to suggest the steep fall in retail vehicle demand has concluded."
Mr Archambault has lowered his forecast of US light vehicle sales this year and next by 1m units each to 10m and 12m units, respectively, compared with 16.1m in 2007.
Even so, some developments suggest the market may be at, or near, a bottom.
Edmunds.com published a lengthy list this week of new models - ranging from the Honda Civic to the BMW 6-Series - that are now cheaper than their one-year-old used counterparts.
Used car prices have bounced up markedly recently, while carmakers have piled discounts and other incentives on new models.
George Pipas, Ford's sales analyst, says consumer confidence is the key to recovery. "People are waiting to understand how the cornucopia of fiscal and monetary actions are going to shake out," he says.
"When they understand the benefits, we have the potential for a second half (of the year) stronger than we think."
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009
Här följer artikeln: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0b35d202-15b9-11de-b9a9-0000779fd2ac.html .