Interpreting what an auto show has to say about the state of the car industry isn’t always easy. Though there’s enough groupthink in the industry to regularly produce obvious trends (current example, “Shooting Brake” three-door sportscar hatchbacks), these are mostly just the superficial fluctuations of any fashion-oriented business. Looking deeper, however, connecting a show’s trends with the broader market context, is often quite difficult. Not so for this year’s Detroit Auto Show, however. Simply scanning through the new debuts, the lack of mass-market or utilitarian offerings was immediately noticeable. More to the point, the glut of luxury products was inescapable. [Continue Reading]
For many years, Detroit has blamed Japan for Detroit’s insipid sales in the island nation. Detroit, and its mouth pieces in Washington, claim this is because the Japanese market is closed. A look on the customs charts and into sales statistics would unmask this as blatant lies. In an overall flat Japanese auto market, sales of Imports rose 9.5 percent in 2013. Japan’s tariff on cars is zero. But then, who reads sales statistics and customs charts? Hopefully, more people read Reuters.
10: Has it become any better to cover? Are the WiFi hotspots still overloaded? Does your phone still switch to an international roaming plan if you stand in the wrong corner of Cobo? Has the free everything been great? Is the weather halfway decent? Just kidding, everyone knows the answer to those questions. And since each of these ten “questions” is really more of a series of questions, let’s just get on with it, shall we?
The EU and the U.S. are both negotiating a trade pact with Japan. It could light a fire under international commerce while putting China in a box. Detroit wants it to fail. The style of the negotiations can’t be more different. In the U.S., the Detroit 3 regurgitate trite and untrue rhetoric. Meanwhile in Europe, shrewd dealmakers could alter Japan’s automotive landscape. [Continue Reading]
Of all the issues broached in the presidential campaign, the auto-industry rescue of 2008-09 stands out as an example of the triumph of spin over facts.
Keying off the New York Times’s headline for Mitt Romney’s 2008 op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” President Obama has argued that the only alternative to his “bold” rescue of General Motors and Chrysler would have been a disorderly liquidation of the entire U.S. auto industry. Yet a close reading of Mr. Romney’s op-ed reveals that his proposal was actually quite similar to the course of action the president took, right down to government funding of the bankruptcy reorganization process and warranty backstops. [Continue Reading]