Analysts: More vehicles on the road increases tire demand.

Editors Note: This story originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 2019 issue of GSA Business Report.

Brandon Mason, automotive director and U.S. mobility leader for PwC, has been involved in the automotive industry most of his career and said "this is by far the most complex time that I've ever been involved in."

Mason made that comment at the S.C. Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Charleston during his talk about the auto industry now and in the future. He said even with growing interest in autonomous vehicles and new technologies, the kind of vehicles we drive now will still dominate.

"Privately-owned, human driven vehicles are still going to dominate our landscape for the foreseeable future," he said, adding that his forecast out to 2025 shows growth of roughly 15 million units globally between now and the end of that forecast window, "which brings us to a global vehicle production forecast of 108 million vehicles," he said.

"And I can tell you a vast majority of those are going to be combustion engine vehicles and human driven vehicles," he said.

Of the 15 million units expected to be produced between now and 2025, Mason said nearly 60% of the growth will be in the Asian-Pacific market, and most of that in China, which is the world's largest automotive market, he said.

"The U.S. sales market is down about 2% to 2.5%, so we will see a sales decline this year," he said. "We would've seen a sales decline last year if not for the few hurricanes we had down in Florida and further southeast resulting in a significant vehicle volume that needed to be replaced."

Mason said uncertainty in Europe, trade and tariff talk and the regulatory environment are creating headwinds for the industry.

"We do know something is coming at some point and we're really nearing peak auto as we see it right now," he said. "Still, we're forecasting 2019 sales of 16.8 million units. That's still a very strong number historically speaking.

"We do think those headwinds will increase into next year, so we have lowered our forecast for 2020 to around 16 million units," he said, adding that the number isn't bad news for the industry, "especially those that lived...

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