Monday, January 19, 2009


Auto Industry Hits the Skids

The auto industry is a major component of modern industrial civilization, and when the brakes are applied, the effects relentlessly ripple through the world economy. Apparently the latest Detroit Motor Show was a very quiet affair, with some major automakers not even putting in an appearance. Similarly, the Big Three will not participate in the Tokyo Motor Show. As as you might expect, unsold vehicle inventories are piling up all over the world.

The main reason, of course, is the industrial economy’s death spiral, but that’s not all. In Japan, for example, city people who don’t often need or use cars are getting sick of the expense. Some who want to occasionally use a car join car sharing groups, which have been enjoying fast growth recently. But another factor is that many young Japanese men do not lust after cars, which is an indication of Japan’s dying car culture.

It’s likely that the industry will survive for a while yet, although it will be in a considerably downsized and consolidated form. Millions of auto-related jobs are yet to be lost worldwide.

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