New Market Research Report: Morocco Autos Report Q2 2013

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon May 06 2013

Morocco has looked like an island in the storm in recent years, enjoying relative prosperity while much of the rest of North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) has become embroiled in revolution and political upheaval. As Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria all became caught up in the Arab Spring of 2011 and its aftermath, Morocco calmly elected a new government, enjoyed the support of the US and the fruits of a modest but steady period of economic growth. However, the new Islamist government of Abdelilah Benkirane that was elected in November 2011 has inherited a number of problems from its predecessor and was forced to halve its GDP growth forecast in early 2012 to 3%. Drought has since upset the country’s important agricultural sector, which is normally expected to contribute 15% of GDP through wheat and vegetable harvests largely destined for export. Tourism has also fallen as a result of more frugal spending from potential holidaymakers living in the eurozone and continued Western unease about the safety and stability of the wider MENA region.

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Despite these broader concerns, Morocco’s industrial sector has proven resilient, with over 100,000 jobs created between 2009 and 2013 and US$936.2mn coming in as foreign direct investment in 2012, according to Finance Ministry figures. The country’s auto manufacturing sector is one of the country’s biggest success stories of recent years, benefitting from outsourcing contracts with Europe’s leading car brands, notably Renault, the country profiting from its history as a former French colony. Renault opened up a major new plant in Tangier in 2012, the largest in Africa, and we expect Morocco to continue to benefit from such relationships.

We continue to expect Moroccan auto production to rise by 8.7% y-o-y and hit output of 68,907 vehicles in 2013. Following on from a 6.6% expansion in 2012, we foresee the country’s production volumes growing to 94,857 by the end of our forecast period in 2017, although BMI warns that Morocco’s economic fortunes are very much tied to those of Europe, particularly France. Pledged investments from France’s troubled automakers could be withdrawn with little ceremony to safeguard their domestic businesses, for instance, meaning that Moroccan cannot afford to gamble on uncertainties. Passenger cars will naturally account for the majority of vehicles produced, although the country is gradually developing a name for itself in the building of light commercial vehicles, with 5,183 expected to roll off the production line in 2013.

Moroccan auto sales should also grow over the same period, although at a less impressive rate. Average sales growth between 2013 and 2017 is expected to be 7.5%, compared with the 8.6% average y-o-y increase we are expecting in auto plant output. BMI expects Moroccan vehicle sales to rise from 116,587 in 2012 to 123,341 in 2013 and to 172,436 by 2017.

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