Every automaker in the world was going to grow in Asia. As the OEMs invested in Asian plants, the suppliers followed. Some followed enthusiastically, some followed in fear.
Then much of Asia went bad, followed by trouble in Latin America. The automakers who had boldly predicted their great growth along with Asia suddenly had to come up with a new strategy.
That new strategy: growth in Asia.
It's just like the old strategy, but slower. 'We've got to be there,' say the automakers.
What choice do they have? Not much if they want to grow. They take Asia on faith.
Automakers are reducing their aggressive Asian investment plans in the short term. But for the long run, they continue to make brave statements about their commitment to Asia.
Since Southeast Asia is down, companies are putting even more emphasis on China and India. Meanwhile, American and European suppliers are buying out their joint-venture partners in Korea and elsewhere in Asia. The big are getting bigger.
Still, global growth is a risky business. Globally, automotive sales in 1997 grew 2.2 percent to 53.4 million units.
But it was the old, mature, no-growth markets of North America and Europe that were up. Japan and Asia/Pacific were down.
But if you want to grow, you're stuck with adding to the overcapacity in Asia.
A new magazine
The global growth of the automotive industry demands global information and knowledge. You hold in your hands the most global of automotive industry magazines.
This is the first issue of Automotive International since the publication was bought by Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc., publisher of Automotive News and Automotive News Europe. This great international title becomes even more global, with increased circulation in Asia/Pacific and Latin America, and a more global editorial vision. It will be published six times a year.
Automotive International vows to be the insightful magazine for the internationally minded automotive executive.
Yes, global growth is risky business. But armed with the best information and analysis from the best editorial team, you can help reduce that risk. That's our goal at Automotive International. Please let us know how we can serve your needs.
Peter Brown is executive editor and associate publisher of Automotive International. You can reach him at [email protected]