While America Slept. Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept thursday january 1 2009
A short overview of what happened in other parts of the world while you were in bed. TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or has its wheels coming off. Until Jan 4, 2009, WAS will be filed from Tokyo.

December possibly below 10m. Edmunds.com predicts the annually adjusted sales rate of light vehicles in the U.S. to come in at 9.8 million for December. J.D. Power and Associates now expects 10 million. The rate was 10.3 million in November. Sales results will be announced Monday, Jan. 5.

China expects 9.4m units for 2009: China’s total vehicle sales are expected to reach 9.41 million units for the full year of 2009, according to a State Information Center’s forecast, says Gasgoo. China’s GDP growth next year is expected to remain above 8 percent and its car market should see similar growth, says the forecast. Something is screwy about those numbers. January through November, China’s total vehicle sales were 8.63m. December is usually a strong month in China. The end of year number for 2008 (which is not out yet) is expected to be in the low 9m. If that’s true, then the forecast would not reflect increases in-line with expected GDP growth.

Japanese companies haven’t given up on BRIC: Actually, “Japanese companies remain steadfast in their belief that such emerging markets as China, India and Brazil will continue to provide opportunities for business and earnings growth in the new year,” the Nikkei (sub.) Ah! They’ve given up on Russia, reducing BRIC to BIC. The Nikkei sees an 8 percent GDP growth in China. “In Brazil, a growing middle class has helped fuel demand for Japanese autos and motorcycles.” In India, “economic growth has consistently come in at an annualized 7-8 percent,” and the Nikkei expects this to continue.” Says the Nikkei: “China, India, and Brazil have a combined population of roughly 2.7 billion, or about triple the total for Japan, the U.S. and the European Union. For many Japanese companies, the emerging markets will continue to offer attractive opportunities.” They definitely gave up on Russia.

Stick and carrots for Beijing’s emission-oinkers: Beijing will ban heavy-polluting vehicles from running on its inner-city roads starting Jan. 1, 2009. They will phase them out by the second half of next year by providing subsidies to their owners for buying low-emission new cars, reports Gasgoo. The maximum subsidy for scrapping a polluting car for a clean one will reach $3,660. Heavy polluters are issued a yellow license plate. Beijing has 353,800 yellow-plate vehicles. They account for 10 percent of the total number of motor vehicles, and for 50 percent of the emissions.

Ford Credit stops loans to Chinese dealers, consumers: Ford dealers were informed on Dec. 30 that floorplan loans to dealers and credit to consumers will be suspended, Gasgoo writes. All of the brands within the company’s portfolio, involving Volvo, are affected. Ford’s finance arm had started to offer loans to Chinese dealers and consumers through Ford Automotive Finance (China) Limited (FAFC) in mid-2005.

Join the conversation
  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Jan 01, 2009

    "China’s GDP growth next year is expected to remain above 8 percent and its car market should see similar growth, says the forecast. Something is screwy about those numbers." I am beginning to think that Bernie Madoff runs China's economic statistics department.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Jan 01, 2009

    Chinese numbers are notoriously unreliable. It's a big country with lots of people. Also note that "vehicles" in China means anything with an engine and more than two wheels, from tricycles (of which there are approximately 15m on the road) all the way to semis. There is no such thing as a "light vehicle" count.

  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?