Different views of cars

The auto industry is a key driver for many aspects of global manufacturing, including the electronics industry. As vehicles incorporate more electronic functions, cars play a bigger role in determining the direction of some segments within the electronics industry.

The auto industry has truly become a global business, with vehicles made and marketed in many regions. Figuring out where auto sales are headed remains a challenge, partially because the market is scattered about the globe.

On Tuesday, the CEO of Renault/Nissan got a lot of attention when he predicted that the automotive market in Europe would be flat for three or four years. His best case scenario was sales growth of only one percent. That sounds pretty glum, but it’s far better than the current 15 percent decline in Europe’s auto sales, the CEO said.

That’s vastly different than the outlook in the U.S. Late in May, J.D. Power predicted that U.S. car sales would rise 13 percent over last year. Other analysts are making similar predictions, saying more than 14 million cars will be purchased this year.

Renault/Nissan’s CEO is taking a prudent course, according to news reports of his speech. He’s making some plans for the optimistic prediction, but most of his effort is focused on preparing for the worst case scenarios. There’s plenty of growth potential in automotive electronics, but there’s also a fair amount of volatility.

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