US: Detroit’s three are worried by global unrest image

Even as sales in the world’s largest auto market – China – advance steadily, in the US deliveries move at a brisk pace and in Europe they signal the region’s recovery, the big three in Detroit still grow restless.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are worried that the sales accounted in the three big regions could be in the end overcome by the decreases brought by political problems, economic uncertainty and local “wars” in places like South America, Russia, Thailand and the Middle East. The executives seem to be kept awake at night because they worry how to sell cars, avoid losing money, protect workers and bring in new suppliers in the troubled regions.

“For those OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that have operations there, it’s an issue,” says Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive. “It creates nervousness around these spots and some reluctance to commit long-term until there’s stability.”

GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all have sales networks, and even plants, in all of these regions. LMC forecasts that except for the Middle East, all other regions are expected to see delivery slumps: an 8% dip in South America, a 10% one in Russia and the biggest, 27%, in Thailand. The Middle East, where the Troy-based forecasting firm only counts Egypt and Iran, should rise 18% especially because of restrictions lifted in the latter country.

Photo courtesy of LMC Automotive, The Detroit News