A weak US economy and $140 oil has already crushed Ford (F) and General Motors (GM). Now, Nissan (NSANY) CEO Carlos Ghosn says he agrees that industrywide vehicle sales in the US could crater below 15 million this year, back to the level of the early 1990s (Reuters):
If we take the trend of the market in May and June it looks like we are going to be much below 15 million…We are preparing ourselves for the worst. [unit sales peaked at 17.4 million in 2000 and stayed above 17 million for the next five years. Sales averaged just over 15 million in the 1990s]
Rising steel prices are also taking their toll on car companies and will continue to do so. Ghosn expects another round of price hikes:
And if it’s not going to happen in 2008, it’s going to come in 2009, and it’s going to be messy.
Ghosn, of course, expects Nissan’s share of the U.S. market to grow because of its many fuel-efficient cars. Also, that electric car Nissan is going to have on the road in 2010 is looking like a good investment. General Motors (GM) stock, meanwhile, is at its lowest level in at least 45 years.