Consistent with many of the forecasts out there, IRN, Inc. is forecasting a 4.5% jump in North American Light Vehicle Production in 2014. If accurate, almost 17 million light vehicles would be sold in 2014 in North America. IRN sees the Detroit 3 up over 6.5% and Nissan continuing to gain on its Japanese rivals.
Of course, not all the news is good. Almost 30% of suppliers said that they do not have the capacity to meet this demand. This is consistent with the concerns over whether North America has enough tooling capacity to meet demand pursuant to a recent Harbour Results Inc. study. Thus, the tooling and capacity issues are not far off in the future – but immediate, current, and troubling.
Could the North American light vehicle market be hitting a perfect storm of unprecedented demand, inadequate tooling, and a lack of human capital? What if people want to buy cars in North America, and there are no vehicles? Those who can invest in capital, hire and retain the best (or only) employees available, and increase their capacity in 2014 could be in for banner years. Those who cannot might find themselves on the outside looking in.