Automotive outlook is up, but the landscape has changed


The Original Equipment Supplier Assn.'s (OESA) January 2011 Automotive Supplier Barometer Outlook index jumped to 71 from a level of 61 in the November 2010 survey. This is just two points less than the 73 Supplier Barometer Outlook index in January 2010. It appears that the outlook is always brightest in January. In fact, the see-saw pattern than plagued 2010 finally broke with the January index, as the responses shifted significantly from "unchanged" to "somewhat more optimistic," pushing the index higher, said the OESA's report.

Comments on the general 12-month outlook for suppliers feeling this optimism, while a good sign, also shows hints of caution. "Clearly, 2011 will be a recovery year, but 12 million- to 13 million-unit North American production is far less than glory years in early to mid-2000s," said one respondent. Another noted, "I do think . . . that the recovery is still a gradual one."

Supplier business failures are still on the minds of many. "Seems to be a tremendous amount of takeover sales, but most of it is coming on the heels of another supplier's failure."...
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