Vehicle production is expected to rise over the next six months as automakers bounce back from the steep cuts of early 2009.
North American plants will turn out about 2,921,100 cars and trucks in the second quarter, a 64 percent increase from the bleak second quarter of 2009, according to a new production forecast from CSM Worldwide, of suburban Detroit.
In the third quarter, CSM forecasts, North American production will reach 2,855,245. That would be up 21 percent from the year-earlier level, when automakers were rebuilding inventories depleted by last summer's cash-for-clunkers program.
Chrysler Group is expected to be the standout performer of the second quarter. CSM forecasts Chrysler production of 345,600 vehicles, nearly quadruple the year-earlier level. In the second quarter of 2009, the automaker built only 87,896 cars and trucks because it halted most of its factory lines during its bankruptcy.
Dealers saw brisk sales of Dodge Chargers and Avengers last month, along with Jeep Grand Cherokees and Patriots.
Output at General Motors Co., which also declared bankruptcy during the second quarter of 2009, should surge 82 percent in the second quarter to 716,100 from 394,251 a year earlier, the CSM forecast says.
GM anticipates an increase in truck sales this spring, as well as additional demand from fleet customers through the summer. Fleet sales were down for most of the industry last year.
While other companies won't show the steep year-on-year gains of Chrysler and GM, all major automakers will crank up production, CSM predicts. Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. each will boost North American output by 36 to 38 percent. Nissan Motor Co. will raise output 50 percent from year-earlier levels.