Goldman has revised down their second quarter US real GDP growth forecast to 3.0% (annualized) from 3.5% previously.  They attribute the downward revision to the US motor vehicle sector.  

Here are the key observations from Goldman's report:

  • The hardest hit sector of the US economy, as a result of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami , will be motor vehicle production
  • Shortages in supply of key components led to production shutdowns at US facilities
  • Production in the US motor vehicle sector has fallen nearly 10% since the beginning of the quarter, reflecting the impact of supply chain disruptions in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami
  • The interruption to Japanese production should push down US imports of vehicles and parts
  • Tighter vehicle supplies will give manufacturers and dealers more pricing power
  • Vehicle prices have risen about 2% in the first four months of 2011 and could rise further over the summer
  • Combination of higher net vehicle prices and a smaller selection of vehicles on dealer lots may slow consumer spending somewhat
  • Luckily, these effects should be short lived
  • US vehicle production is expected to bottom out within the next few weeks and move higher over the summer. This will provide a small positive boost to growth to industrial production and GDP in the second half of the year.

It's interesting to note that JP Morgan also cut 2nd quarter GDP to 2.5% for similar reasons as listed above.