One of the biggest markets for vision systems is in the automotive industry, where systems are not only deployed to perform numerous quality inspection tasks on the production line, but increasingly, within the automobiles themselves to provide additional levels of security for both drivers and pedestrians.
So I was pleased to hear that this month has proved a particularly splendid one for the industry. According to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, July’s new-vehicle retail sales are expected to post the second strongest year-over-year growth rates during the past 12 months.
"Retail sales got off to a fast start in July, and while they've slowed down a bit as the month has progressed, through the first 16 selling days, they're still up 15.1 percent, compared to July 2011," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates.
All major segments are expected to show year-over-year sales gains in July, with the exception of the midsize crossover utility vehicle segment. That aside, the sub-compact conventional, midsize conventional and compact conventional segments are projected to show year-over-year increases of 28 per cent or more.
The report goes onto say that through the first half of this year, North American light-vehicle production volume increased 22 per cent, compared with the same period in 2011. More than 1.4 million additional vehicles have been built in the first six months this year, relative to the first half of 2011, with inventory replenishment and stronger demand in the first quarter being the main factor for the higher production volume.
Honda and Toyota's production in the first half this year is up 75 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively, as both manufacturers continue to recover from the impact of the Japanese tsunami. What is more, US manufacturing growth is outperforming the rest of North America, with a 26 per cent year-to-date increase. Production in Mexico has increased 13 per cent and Canadian manufacturing up 19 per cent.
While this is clearly good news for the auto makers themselves, it bodes well for many of us involved in the vision systems business who supply vision systems to them.
You can find more details of the report here.