The only auto stock I own is Nissan Motor (NSANY) and that has been relatively flat for a while and so far I have never commented on the auto industry. 2006 was a not a great year for Nissan (US sales down 5.3% compared to 2005), while both Toyota and Honda managed gains. However December was a good month as Nissan launched several redesigned models and managed US sales gains of 4.4% over 2005 against analyst estimtes of a drop in sales. I think 2007 will show a continuation in this trend as the Hybrid Altima should hit any time soon and the sexy new 2008 Altima coupe will be launched mid year. I hope to see the NSANY ADR hit atleast 27$ this year.
Toyota sales crossed Chrysler for 2006 and narrowly missed crossing Ford. In 2007 Toyota is widely expected to leap over both Ford and GM to become the number 1 automaker in the world. Worldwide auto demand seems to be increasing as US demand reduces and you probably can’t go wrong investing in Toyota, Honda or Nissan. I picked NSANY because it sported a lower P/E, has a good dividend growth plan and I like their cars!
Just as a side note, the strongest growth in 2006 % US sales was from Suzuki, worlds no 7 auto maker after (GM, Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan). Also Suzuki was the no 3. automaker by sales in the Japanese market in 2006 (after Toyota and Nissan) and sold more vehicles than Honda. Suzuki has done well otherwise too and it would be nice to have a Suzuki ADR on the US exchanges.