TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—The automotive industry may not be sure what is coming next, but looming disruptors definitely will have an impact on its future.
That was the universal message from the Center for Automotive Research's Sales Forecast Workshop, part of its Management Briefing Seminars held Aug. 1-4 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City, Mich.
The panel included moderator Sean McAlinden, CAR Group's chief economist and vice president for strategic studies; G. Mustafa Mohatarem, General Motor's chief economist; Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association; Michael Robinet, IHS Markit managing director; Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting, LMC Automotive; and Itay Michaeli, director, U.S. autos and auto parts, for Citi Investment Research and Analysis.
Each shared similarities and differences in opinions, but three core themes emerged—low fuel prices and their impact on future fuel-related regulation; the impact of Millennial buyers; and autonomous technology.
“The politicians might not believe it, but the U.S. really is an island of stability in a pretty turbulent world,” Mohatarem said. “We've seen Brexit, we've seen turmoil in the Middle East, we've seen the South China Sea issues, we're seeing deep recessions in Brazil and Russia. Compared to anybody else, the U.S., and particularity North America, is doing very well, and we're really a very stable economy.”