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Vehicle Sales Forecast to Slip in 2022

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Global and U.S. vehicle sales will decline this year as a tight supply of semiconductors continues to hold down deliveries, consulting firm AlixPartners said today.

The industry will see “constrained sales for the next two years,” Mark Wakefield, global co-leader of the firm’s automotive and industrial practice, said on a webinar.

The consulting firm forecast U.S. vehicle sales of 14.7 million for this year, down from more than 15 million in 2021. AlixPartners expects global vehicle deliveries of 79 million for 2022, down from 80 million a year earlier.

Despite increased computer chip production, supplies for the auto industry will remain tight through 2024, Wakefield said. In turn, that means a tight supply of cars and trucks.

“Consumers are in a mindset of, ‘Can I find one?'" he said.

The situation also is leading to inefficient production of vehicles, according to the consulting firm. Automakers are bringing on extra people to maximize limited output.

“There’s strong incentive to sell every last vehicle,” Wakefield said. Automakers won’t be able to rebuild inventories until 2025 and beyond, he added.

For now, that means automakers can enjoy strong profits “despite inflation and rising interest rates weighing on consumers,” the firm said in a separate statement. However, the situation “is not sustainable in the long term,” AlixPartners said.

AlixPartners also described an industry that is making the transition from traditional internal combustion engines to electric-powered vehicles.

“We are still in the beginning of the maturity cycle,” Elmar Kades, the other global co-leader of the firm’s automotive and industrial practice, said on the webinar.

AlixPartners is forecasting that EVs will have a global market share of 33 percent by 2028 and 54 percent by 2035.

“Only the fittest will survive,” Kades said.

The shift to EVs (also known as BEVs for battery-electric vehicles) may cost automakers and suppliers $70 billion by 2030, according to the consulting firm.

For suppliers, “If you want to grow, you have to find your way into the BEV market,” Kades said.

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