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Q2 Output Trimmed; First-Half Third-Best

Q2 Output Trimmed; First-Half Third-Best

First-half 2015 output to be third-best ever, despite 20,000-unit Q2 cut.

The latest fine-tuning of second-quarter North American production has 4,628,100 cars and trucks slated for completion, down from the 4,648,100 targeted a month ago, but still 2.4% ahead of like-2014’s 8,805,600 completions.

What’s more, at 9,010,200 units, January-June output will trump that of any similar period in history, except for the record 9,634,837 vehicles built in first-half 2000 and 9,138,075 units completed in like-1999.

Although this year’s Q2 slate was pared by 20,000 units, the cuts focused mainly on Ford, where the automaker’s reported April-June output plan came in 22,500 units lower than what had been previously forecast.

Even then, a comparison of Ford’s Q2 plan to the prior forecast is mixed, with a 29,200-unit shortfall in trucks partially offset by an additional 6,700 car assemblies.

The bulk of the Ford cut is centered in June, including 16,200 trucks and 10,900 cars.

However, while Ford truck plans also include a downward revision of an estimated 5,000 units in April and 8,000 in May, car assemblies in April are expected to conclude at an estimated 1,200 units above forecast, with May up by 16,400

The only other significant cut came from FCA, where an 8,000-unit June cutback is partially offset by a 2,000-unit gain in April-May. Unlike Ford, most the Chrysler action is on the car side, where U.S. output has been pared back by 7,500 units, offset by a modest 500 increase in Mexico.

On the positive side, Honda is boosting output for the quarter by 4,000 cars and 2,500 trucks, while Mazda adds 1,000 units to its Mexico car production plan.

To some degree, the latest Q2 cuts reflect automakers pulling some production forward into the first quarter to boost dealer inventory. That was particularly evident in March, where final output rolled in 38,300 units above plan.

That coupled with a 1,100-unit gain in revised January output and a 4,000 increase in the final February count brings first-quarter 2015 to a close at 43,400, or 2.7%, above plan, and 2.3% ahead of like-2014.

All of that gain was in trucks, where production bested plan by 46,900 units, offset to a minor degree by a 2,500-unit shortfall in cars.

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