By on April 29, 2012

Forbes predicts that the U.S. will bypass China this year as the world’s largest auto market. Forbes does that because it employs as its China expert one of the lousiest forecasters in the business.  Regular Forbes columnist Gordon G. Chang published a book in 2001, titled “The Coming Collapse of China.” In it, he predicted that China would implode by 2006, if not earlier, due to the mass of non-performing loans. China did not implode. Instead, non-performing loans brought the U.S. banking system and the world to the brink in 2008. In 2006, Chang wrote the book “Nuclear Showdown.” In it, he predicted that North Korea would rain nuclear missiles on Japan. Has not happened either. Now, Chang predicts that China will no longer be the world’s largest auto market when the year is over, and that the title will go back to the U.S.

By making this prediction, Chang shows that America is a land of opportunity: People who can’t count and aren’t really bright can become famous columnists at Forbes.

Says Chang:

“Last year, 14.5 million passenger cars were sold in China, outpacing America’s 12.8 million. In the first quarter of this year, however, the U.S. car market grew by an impressive 19.5% year-on-year, while the Chinese one, as noted, got smaller.

In fact, American car sales are projected to reach 13.9 million this year. If they hit that mark—likely, given the amazing first quarter—China at the end of this year may have to give back the crown of largest auto market to the recovering U.S.”

In 2009, Chang said that Chinese auto sales are a fraud and that the Chinese government stored cars in parking lots across the country. Now, Chang either commits fraud himself. Or, he is simply incompetent.

The 12.8 million automobiles sold last year in the U.S. were not “passenger vehicles.” They were “light vehicles,” comprised of 6.38 million passenger cars and 6.40 million light trucks (data according to Automotive News .)

The corresponding Chinese light vehicle number is not 14.5 million. According to Jenny Gu of J.D. Power, “China’s light vehicle market finished 2011 with 18 million new vehicles sold.”

If American car sales, well, light vehicle sales, reach 13.9 million this year, then they will be some 4 million short of taking the crown from China.

A competent columnist would either compare 6.38 million American passenger cars with 14.5 million Chinese passenger cars. Or more precisely, 12.8 million American light vehicles with 18 million Chinese light vehicles.

Chang does not do that, because he is an incompetent columnist.


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9 Comments on “At Forbes, Gordon Chang Lacks Adult Supervision...”

  • avatar

    Gordon Chang tells people what they want to hear, not what they need to know. He should have a long and prosperous career.

    • 0 avatar

      And this is different from any other prognosticator how? They’re all selling visions of the future, and when they occasionally get it right it is impossible to know whether it was due to intelligence or just dumb luck.

      I wouldn’t rely upon a successful prognosticator any more than I would rely on Mr. Chang.

  • avatar

    Forbes: the magazine that noted Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and 150th anniversary of the publication of “the Origin of Species” by inviting an idiot young earth creationist to submit a column on-line. What can you expect?

  • avatar

    Sounds like Mr. Change is eminently predictable, and dependable. If he says its so, assume that it is not.

  • avatar

    What does Taiwan’s National Affairs Council (in the photo) have to do with this article?

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely nothing… from the background, it does not appear to be the Taiwan National Affairs Council… it is a symposium advocating Taiwanese independence.

      Makes perfect sense as Mr. Chang supports that political cause fully. Basically, he falls into what is termed the “Pro-Green” camp in Taiwanese politics, being decidedly pro-independence, pro-Japan, and anti-everything (mainland) Chinese.

      His constant rants about China reveal his political leanings, and should not be taken as anything that is remotely close to be an objective assessment of the facts, something by the way, which is quite liberal with.

  • avatar

    Eh, par for the course. not just for Gordan Chang, but for Forbes Magazine in general. It’s a conservative publication, and its thinking tends to be flawed or incomplete. Oops, that last sentence was redundant.

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