North America car production to benefit from import replacements in 2014 image

WardsAuto estimates overseas-based carmakers will continue to shift more sourcing to North American factories.

In its latest North American Light Vehicle Production Forecast, WardsAuto sees the outlook for 2014 increasing by 123,000 units and lifting the year to 16.2 million.

That would make 2014 3.9 percent above the 15.6 million light vehicles forecast for 2013, unchanged from a month ago. According to WardsAuto, carmakers, particularly those based overseas, have been increasing North American sourcing for several years. But 2014 will see a big leap, especially because many of the models being added currently are supplied solely from abroad.

In 2014, WardsAuto expects Toyota to add production of a Lexus model at its Georgetown, KY, plant and a Toyota car at Blue Springs, Massachusetts. Volkswagen is seen adding a currently imported vehicle to the mix at its Puebla, Mexico, plant.

A new cross/utility vehicle will come from Mazda’s greenfield site in Salamanca, Mexico, in 2014. However, because the CUV is an all-new product, it mostly is displacing production, not creating a big net gain. There will also be five all-new models imported by Daimler, Honda, Nissan and Mazda. WardsAuto forecasts 331,000 units in 2014 will come from these first-timers.