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The Automobile Industry in and Beyond the Crisis

  • David Haugh
  • Annabelle Mourougane
  • Olivier Chatal

This paper considers the role of the automobile industry in the current cycle. It shows that the industry is economically important and its cycle is intertwined with business cycles. After casting some light on the sources of the collapse in car sales at the start of the crisis, the policy measures, in particular car scrapping programmes, put in place to support the automobile industry are discussed. The paper also derives short and medium term projections of car sales. While a rebound in car sales is likely in North America, Japan and the United Kingdom, car sales in Germany have been pushed significantly above trend and may weaken going forward. Over the medium term, in mature markets such as Europe and North America, trend sales are likely to remain stagnant. By contrast, rapid increases are foreseen in China and to a lesser extent in India. Medium-term projections suggest that capacity exceeds trend sales by around 20% in the five largest Western European markets considered as a whole. Without an adjustment in capacity, these countries would need to ensure an ongoing strong export performance. By contrast, automakers in the NAFTA area would need to halt their decline in domestic market share or to rely increasingly on exports in order to avoid excess capacity. In order to maintain their high levels of capacity utilisation, Korean and Japanese manufacturers will need to keep up their strong export performance. L'industrie automobile dans et après la crise Ce document examine le rôle de l’industrie automobile dans le cycle économique en cours. Il montre que l’industrie a une importance économique certaine et est interconnectée avec le cycle économique. Après avoir quelque peu détaillé l’origine de l’effondrement des ventes automobiles en début de crise, les mesures publiques mises en œuvre pour soutenir l’industrie automobile, et notamment celles concernant les dispositifs de prime à la casse sont détaillées. Ce document présente également des perspectives à court et moyen terme pour les ventes de voitures. Alors que l’on peut s’attendre à un rebond en Amérique du Nord, au Japon et au Royaume-Uni, les ventes d’automobiles en Allemagne sont nettement supérieures à la tendance, et pourraient de ce fait marquer un fléchissement à l’avenir. À moyen terme sur les marchés parvenus à maturité tels que l’Europe et l’Amérique du Nord, les ventes tendancielles devraient rester étales. À l’inverse, des hausses rapides sont attendues en Chine et dans une moindre mesure en Inde. Selon les projections à moyen terme, les capacités productives du bloc dépassent les ventes tendancielles de quelque 20 % sur l’ensemble des cinq plus grands marchés d’Europe occidentale. À défaut d’ajustement des capacités, il faudrait que ces pays affichent de solides performances continues à l’exportation. À l’opposé, pour éviter les surcapacités, les constructeurs de la zone ALENA devraient mettre un terme au recul qu’ils connaissent sur leur marché intérieur ou s’appuyer de plus en plus sur les exportations. Dans la mesure où les constructeurs coréens et japonais exportent une large part de leur production, leur destin est étroitement lié aux marchés mondiaux. Conserver des taux d’utilisation élevés en Corée et au Japon nécessitera que ces pays continuent de bénéficier de fortes performances à l’exportation.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 745.

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Date of creation: 26 Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:745-en
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