October automobile sales for the U.S. light-vehicle segment will likely increase 11% from October 2011, J.D. Power and Associates said last week. This continues the healthy growth seen in September, and for most of this year.
Total light-vehicle sales are now expected to reach 14.4 million units, up from the previous forecast of 14.3 million units. North American light-vehicle production is also up; compared to the first three quarters of 2011, car manufacturing has grown 20% this year. This reflects the need for higher production volume for the fourth quarter in order to maintain current inventory levels.
According to Jeff Schuster, a senior vice president at LMC Automotive, “production levels have crossed the psychological barrier of 15 million units, and now there’s no looking back.”
No looking back, but much to look the heck out for, America.
All is not rosy, unfortunately, when Europe is taken into consideration. Ford is reducing production capacity in Europe by 18% and cutting 6,200 jobs. Three facilities will be closed; two in the U.K. and another in Genk, Belgium.
Current losses for the year are forecasted to reach $1.5 billion, prompting the action. Ford expects the measures will eventually lead to a return to European profitability, but don’t expect the soon-to-be introduced Mustang to contribute to revenue numbers in the area surrounding the closed plants.
But enough with that gloom! Back to America’s winning ways.
In yet another sign of the robust American automotive market, the segment of the industry that is only affordable to about twenty people is HUMMING along here in October. Neiman Marcus, that luxury retailer that hawks exorbitantly overpriced and not cool stuff, was able to sell a full dozen of the $354,000 Neiman Marcus Edition McLaren 12C Spiders for the truly obnoxiously well-off.
But you’re crazy if you think that all you get for your $354,000 is a car this sexy. You also get a first-class trip to the U.K. and two nights in a five-star hotel and spa, a tour of the McLaren Technology Center, and a fancy dinner with company chairman and longtime racing-team boss Ron Dennis.
(Which HAS to be a really awkward dinner. “Billionaires and Ron.”)
The 12C Spiders usually go fast, as they’re only offered through the Neiman Marcus 2012 Christmas Book. This year was no different; the V8, 616 horse-powered McLarens sold out in 2 hours.
Yes, this is completely and totally absurdly ridiculous. I’d like to see what would happen to these proud owners trying to drive their pretty little spiders through the towns where Ford is shutting down their UK facilities. $4 million might save a lot of those jobs that way and preserve the holiday season.
(Why are we buying cars for Christmas presents in October?!?!?!)