NEW YORK -- Two leading U.S. economists predicted a return to more normal economic conditions by the end of 2010.
As a result, they forecast U.S. light-vehicle sales will reach 14 million units in 2011 and grow to old levels of 17 million and above by middecade. However, market share among automakers will remain extremely fluid.
“It's a recovery, but it sure doesn't feel like one,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for consultancy IHS Global Insight. “Unemployment is still a big factor, but consumers are spending. First-quarter growth was the best in about three years.”
Driving the recovery will be strong growth in exports as well as capital spending on equipment and high-tech. The main drag is lackluster capital spending on nonresidential construction, and there are worries about short-term commercial real estate exposure, Behravesh said at the NADA/IHS Global Insight Automotive Forum in New York.