Detroit – actually, it must be fun these days to steer a car company in the u.S. Unlike in europe, where sales are down, americans continue to have an appetite for buying a new car. The whole year has been going like clockwork – despite all the uncertainties in the global economy. The "big three" in the us auto industry are benefiting most from this: general motors, ford and chrysler.
In 2009, when president barack obama was fresh in office, the picture was much different: excessive debt, unproductive plants, outdated models and high costs for pensions and employee health care burdened manufacturers. Slumping sales figures eventually love general motors and chrysler slide into insolvency. Ford could only hold on with difficulty.
The government pumped $80 billion into the industry to save it. Otherwise, they worry, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, down to the smallest supplier. The car region around detroit, which had already been shaken by the mass delays of the previous years, would probably be finally destroyed. The action was successful – and could prove to be a trump card for president barack obama today in the race for his re-election. Manufacturers reduced debt, closed unprofitable plants, cut personnel costs and developed new models. They also broadened their international base. Gm and ford in particular pushed deeper into the booming chinese market.
After once posting high losses, general motors earned $3.2 billion in the first half of the year, ford $2.4 billion and chrysler $909 million. If the european car market were not so weak, the us manufacturers would be doing even better. Gm is burning money at its opel subsidiary; the same is true for ford’s european business. Chrysler, on the other hand, is a support for its italian parent fiat. The backbone of the u.S. Auto industry is currently proving to be the domestic car market, of all things, which had collapsed so brutally during the recession. In 2009, all manufacturers in the u.S. Sold just 10.4 million cars, compared with 16 or 17 million at peak times a few years earlier. This year, according to the experts at the car portal edmunds.Com, it could be 14.4 million. Their colleagues from the market researcher j.D. Power ame 14.3 million.
There are "more signs than ever that buyers are returning to the market," noted edmunds analyst jessica caldwell. John humphrey from j.D. Power spoke of a "healthy market". Both expect 15 million vehicles to be sold in the u.S. Next year. Because many americans just have to buy – their cars are slowly falling apart.