This week, Michael Robinet, Vice President, Global Vehicle Forecasts for CSM Worldwide, discussed his views on the auto industry “After this Crisis,” at the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership Annual Breakfast during SAE 2009.

Robinet forecasted continued growth in both sales and production in emerging markets and said this growth is a critical element for global automotive industry recovery. However, if nations respond to the current economic downturn - and their financial support for local auto manufacturers - with protectionist policies, they risk slowing that growth. Robinet underscored the significance of free trade agreements in the recovery, noting that they have not slowed the growth of domestic production by foreign manufacturers.

As reported in today’sDetroit Free Press, Robinet indicated that global production for light vehicles is expected to be down 20% in 2009, with some improvement in 2010. Production is expected to rebound in the United States to historical levels within three to four years, although the same will not be true in other markets, such as Western Europe, Japan and Korea. Driven by stricter CAFÉ Standards, the C-Segment Market will likely experience the most growth between now and 2015.

Following the crisis, Robinet predicts the global theme will be “more with less,” wherein “capacity utilization and flexibility become critical,” “global platform is constant focus,” and “OEM and supplier consolidation is inevitable.”