Traverse City, Mich. — Remember BRICs?
Those were the countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — that were supposed to be the key to a global economy.
Maybe Brazil has run into some rough patches politically and economically, but there's no doubt that China, and increasingly India, are global players.
Now get ready for N-11. That stands for the "Next 11," and were named by economist Jim O'Neill of investment group Goldman Sachs as the sites with a high potential of becoming among the largest economies in the 21st century.
Those 11 are a mix of established economies that increase their roar and developing regions showing a stable base for more growth: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea and Vietnam.
Maybe you doubt their potential but planners in the auto industry are not, according to some speakers at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars, an annual C-suite conference of automakers and suppliers in Traverse City.
"These are where the smart people predict the majority of growth will be in emerging markets in cars," Bo Andersson, president and CEO of auto supplier Yazaki Corp.'s North and Central America and Europe group.
Yazaki, a maker of wires, wire harnesses, power distribution systems and other key auto parts, has been looking at where it plays in the N-11 countries, Andersson said. The company currently has a presence in seven of those 11 countries.
And if you don't like N-11, perhaps you prefer the outlook by another economist: CIVETS. CIVETS was coined by Robert Ward, global director of the global forecasting team of the Economist Intelligence Unit for countries considered promising because they have sophisticated financial systems, controlled inflation and a soaring young population base. Some of those countries — Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa — overlap with the N-11.
Ignoring either group has its perils, Andersson said.
"Ask yourself if this is something for you, but remember, it's very clear that global OEMs prefer to produce where they sell," he said.
And it's not just about selling.
With all the focus on electric and hybrid cars, new attention will be going to developing countries that are home to the rare materials used in batteries and electric systems, said Venkat Sumantran, chairman of consulting group Celeris Technologies.
"If electrification happens [as forecast] we're all going to be signing contracts with the Republic of Congo for cobalt," he said.