As much as we all would like to see signs of a real economic uptick, it's too soon to crank vehicle production back to euphoric levels. Yes, consumers still are buying cars and trucks in good numbers, but the economy and consumer confidence are slipping. The seasonally adjusted annual rate is, unexpectedly, well above 17 million sales, although estimates for the year are still in the range of 16.2 million to 16.4 million. That means leaner times to come.
Plant downtime was the rule for the domestic makers in January, but production seems to be creeping back. Bloated inventories are a constant concern, so let's not get silly.