U.S. auto sales are likely to remain flat in 2010, former General Motors Co GM.UL director Jerry York told Reuters on Monday.
While many analysts and industry observers are expecting a modest rebound from this year’s forecast 10 million to 10.5 million sales of cars and light trucks, York said that view underestimates the severity of the economic downturn.
“It’s a whole new ballgame, and I just can’t fathom anything that’s going to cause a material increase in auto sales in this country in 2010 compared to 2009,” York told the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit.
GM is likely to lose a percentage point or two of market share from its shift to just four brands, York told Reuters, adding that discussion about a future initial public offering of the company — in which the U.S. government holds a large stake — is the “dumbest thing in the world to be talking about … right now.”
York, an advisor to billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, also said that Ford Motor Co’s debt load is “very manageable” but warned that he believes Italian automaker Fiat SpA has a less than 50 percent chance of turning around Chrysler.
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