• Jan 7, 2009
There were about three million fewer cars sold in 2008 than 2007. Based on 2007's numbers, it would be the same as if Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Lexus, MINI, Porsche, and Saab all closed their doors in 2008. In terms of pure automotive carnage, that's not the kind of damage you can just buff out. And the predictions for the future agree on two points: it's going to get worse, and it won't return to what it was for years to come.
The only difference in the predictions of gloom is exactly how long things are going to stay depressed. Everyone agrees that the vertiginous sales drop in Q4 of 2008 is going to continue at least until the middle of 2009. Some, though, think that 2009 will "look a lot like 2008, but in reverse," with a slight sales rebound possible in the latter half. That prediction depends on the size of the proposed economic stimulus package, and whether it actually stimulates the economy. After all, banks received their own stimulus packages, yet getting a loan is as hard as ever.

Others say we are "entering a prolonged period of conservation." One analyst predicts that U.S. car sales won't see the north side of 15 million in annual sales until "2012 or later," while another said that we won't see 16 million annual sales again "for the forseeable future." Naturally, with such conservation comes other cuts, like R&D budgets and model facelifts, that could mean the cars on offer won't be as interesting or as cutting edge as before. While that could be looked at as a benefit, saving manufacturers the need to put new redesigned cars in showrooms every three years, the necessary auto industry infrastructure changes (plant closers, layoffs, etc.), the certain extinction of some companies, and the uncertain future are going to hurt.

[Source: IHT]


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  • 36 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      R&D is Expensive!!!!! Japan has a better idea!! Tax gasoline! Give that revenue back to THEIR carmakers to pay for THEIR R&D!! Make the "Big Three" pay for their own R&D out of their own pockets.( Billions$$$) Then complain how it is unfair it is to give The "Big Three " a LOAN. Wake up Congress.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If the damn things didn,t cost as much as my house I might buy something new, until then I will run what I have into the ground. There lot of good used around for half the price
      • 6 Years Ago

      Also don't forget that for the most part old cars pollute more than new ones.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ha, thats funny considering my 15 year old Jeep with a well maintained engine and exhaust registers a cleaner exhaust then most modern to averagely used sedans we test.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just bought a new car last week. A Mazda. I had no trouble getting a car loan. It took about 30 minutes in their little finance office and I was done. Of course, I have a FICO score of 857 so maybe that helped.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wow! With credit like that you can buy a Mazda 6.5!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "A FICO score is between 300 and 850"...
        • 6 Years Ago
        I just burst out laughing at the reply! Then I researched it real quick and laughed even louder because it's true!

        Sorry, but it was funny!
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's been a long time coming. GOOD.

      Modern cars, REMOTELY modern cars, are capable of running 200,000 miles with VERY minimal maintenance, and much longer with BASIC maintenance. My 89 Accord has 273 THOUSAND miles, and just started giving me trouble, because it has a CARB. If it was EFI, I'm sure it'd be good for another 200,000. I've replaced the waterpump, timing belt, struts, springs, bushings, exhaust, and brakes, but that's it. It does not burn oil, it does not leak, and when warmer out, it runs fine. My point is that FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR too many people treat cars very poorly, then sell them instead of fixing them. This has to stop. I don't care what MPG your stupid hybrid gets, it is NOT better for the earth to buy new cars all the time.

      Here is the TRUTH about hybrids, SUVs, or ANY new car: The amount of pollution created for each STANDARD vehicle is insane. Thousands of people, all over the globe, extracting raw materials, refining them, shipping them, designing them, testing them, forming them, assembling them, gluing them, painting them... it's all a gigantic sham of consumerism. Cars LAST A VERY LONG TIME. My other cars all have over 150,000 miles, I have a Subaru with 197,000, a Prelude with 160, and an Acura with 155k. ALL DRIVE GREAT.

      Watch this video.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooN9INJxxy4&feature=channel_page

        • 6 Years Ago
        As long as people have enough money, they will not be sticking their wives or children behind the wheel of some old POS that could break down at any time. Sure most cars these days last 150,000 miles with no major problems but for many people, the cost and time required to upkeep an old car isn't worth it.

        I assume you're still in or just out of school. Try coming back in 10-15 years when you work through the entire day, past the time a repair shop is open and try to tell me how you're going to deal with repairing your vehicle twice a month. You gonna call in sick and fix it in your garage or show up late to work to get it to a shop? What if it breaks down on you on the way to work or your wife breaks down dropping the kids off at school? Now you have to deal with it or at least instruct her on where to go to get it towed and/or fixed.

        Not to mention that 99 out of 100 people couldn't change a frickin tire without AAA, so they are now going to learn enough about their car to maintain it themselves or pay someone to fix it all the time?

        Reality sucks and I do agree that it has gotten out of control when people are upside down on payments because they have to have the newest car every year, but the truth is that at about 8-10 years, if you don't want hastle, you'll be trading your car in. As someone else pointed out, at 15 mil cars a year, the average driver would only be trading in every 15 years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Luxuries are choices, not requirements. If that is where you like to spend your money then you should go for it. But it certainly isn't necessary for anyone to replace cars like wardrobes. It's a personal choice for those who can afford to make that choice.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I bought my first new car two years ago and the peace of mind of having something I know is not going to break down and that I have babied and maintained perfectly is a great thing. I'd love to keep it for ten years. They key to that for me is not driving it much. Right now I'm at 11,000 miles which means I'm putting about 5300 miles per year on it. I'm hoping to move into a new position at work which will mean only commuting two days per week, so I should be able to drop to about 3700 miles per year. So at ten years I would want to be at 40,000 to 45,000 miles on the car. Maybe I could keep it for twelve years/50,000 miles. If I kept it until it had 273,000 miles, at these rates of mileage, it would last, what, 73 years??

        If I drove enough to have over 200,000 miles in some reasonable number of years, first of all I'd move my residence or my company so I didn't bash in my own skull dealing with a long commute. But second of all I'd probably want to trade it in after six to eight years. Mike has a great point about the real costs of repairs. I do not have the time to worry about the car not starting or not making it to my destination. In that sense, I look at my new car as an INVESTMENT (fully paid for, btw). I know that it's a depreciating asset with required expenses, but getting a new, reliable vehicle to replace a long string of used vehicles with their accompanying doubts and problems was key for me. I no longer worry about not being able to show up for work or to meet my girlfriend or family or being stranded somewhere or having to pay unexpected repair expenses and press my luck with time out of work, etc.

        Peace of mind and reliability is worth paying for. And like I said, two years, 11,000 miles...
        • 6 Years Ago
        " I remember changing my alternator on my old Buick myself in the parking lot of the wreckers in 5 mins wearing heels and a miniskirt and I didn't even break a nail."

        Now, THAT




        is hot.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I drive my American cars to 200,000 miles and beyond with no major problems. They've been reliable and have required minimal upkeep and repair. They never leave me stranded and they've maintained their safe integrity. For me personally, the only reason to replace my daily car is when it has gotten to that point where upkeep may become a bit of a hassle and I run into a great deal on a good used American car. That is not to say that buying a new car is cheaper than repairing an older car because that's just a lie in so many cases. Even a $1,000 repair every year is cheaper than paying for a brand new car every year or every other year. If I were to purchase another second car, if I could afford to do so, I would probably go for something "fun to drive" but the fact is most people just want to get from point A to point B safely and comfortably. Most of us don't need fancy handling, exciting performance or the latest "ooh look at me" styling.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Rob the SVX guy

        You seem pretty damn offended that people buy new cars. It's not like anyone is forced to buy new or used. If you want used cars, fine, good for you. I want and will always buy new. I work hard every day, so in return I like a nice new car every 3 years. New cars and used cars both have advantages and disadvantages. I have a '54 Chevy pickup with god knows how many miles. It still runs decently.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's because most people are fickle idiots who are too lazy to properly care for anything, and just want to throw it away and get something new and shiny. And it's not being a cheapskate or anti consumerist, it's called BEING EFFICIENT. And green. Want better handling? Modify your car with better struts, springs, bigger swaybars, and bushings. Want to be safer? Drive safer. Need a bigger car? Buy a different used car. There is ZERO need to buy a new car, especially considering the huge financial hit you take over the first few years of ownership. It's stupid.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I enjoy looking at cars, being in them, driving them, and even racing them. You may pay $XX/mo for cable television, coffee, wine, and other luxuries. I pay $XX/mo for my car.

        Luxuries are a part of a developed economy. New cars are a luxury, and I can afford that luxury, so I indulge myself in it. If you are suggesting that luxuries have no place in the world, you are an idiot.

        Go pinch your pennies and die with no life experiences. I'll "squander" mine and tell my grandchildren all of my experiences and adventures.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, SOMEONE has to buy new cars or eventually there will be no used cars left to buy.

        You have some good points except for the zero need for new cars part.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So you are going to get stability control, better headlights and more airbags retrofitted to your car as well as all new suspension, upgraded brakes, new engine, etc etc.
        Will cost you more in the end that getting a new one, especially with the prices at the moment
        • 6 Years Ago
        I work hard, and in return I like to buy a new car every 3 years. There's nothing wrong with that. It stimulates the economy, plus I get a new car that I enjoy. Someone else buys my old, well maintained car, at a heavy discount. Everyone wins.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I am sorry you people know complete dick about maintaining your own vehicle, and I am sorry you have to take it to the shop for everything. I am sorry for you because that must suck. With a simple set of sockets, ratchets, and screwdrivers you are able to do many, many things. You can do brakes, suspensions, enginework and routine maintenance. The only thing that I don't really do myself is exhaust work, because it's so rusty and I don't weld.

        But seriously. Mileage. Does. Not. Make. A car. Unreliable.

        Let me read that to you again. Mileage doesn't make a well maintained modern car into a car that 'breaks every 2 weeks'. In order for that to happen, I think you'd need to be driving an italian car from the 1970s or something. My subaru has never left me stranded, nor caused me to be late for work. My 273,000 mile 20 year old honda has, until last week, never caused me to be stranded, nor caused me to be late for work. Wrenching on your own vehicles is fun, rewarding, you learn a lot, and you save a boatload of cash. Does anybody really NEED a new car? No. Not really, they don't. It's a "luxury" as many of you pointed out. It's a great way to lose thousands of dollars, and for those of you stupid enough to do so, wow. Good for you, but a lot of people aren't that dumb. It's also a luxury that EVERYONE is paying for. Watch the video. It shows how much pollution is created by producing just ONE new car. This cannot be maintained, it is not sustainable, and it IS NOT NEEDED. "wah wah but somebody needs to buy new cars!!!" Sure. Some. Rich people. Let them do it, they're dumb enough to waste money. But technically, again, we don't NEED new cars. Look at Cuba. Or better yet, I challenge you to take a stroll through a junkyard in your area. I cannot tell you the number of times I've seen pretty decent vehicles being scrapped for stupid, easily fixable problems, like a blown headgasket. Sometimes, if they have over 150k miles and they get towed, they'll just be scrapped, even though they're running and driving fine. It's simply amazing just how wasteful our society is. It's not about money. It's about being efficient.

        Also, you people think that just because a car is new it is free of problems. Uh, what? Read autoblog a while, count the recalls. First year runs of anything usually have a lot of problems, regardless of the year it was made, whereas older vehicles, if maintained well, generally have all their issues worked out. All of my cars are very reliable, and haven't left my wife, or myself, stranded anywhere. We do not take them in for service every few weeks. You people who know NOTHING about cars have the stupidest misconceptions about older cars, and you waste a ton of YOUR money, and a ton of the planet's resources on your own ignorance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        >>>"With a simple set of sockets, ratchets, and screwdrivers you are able to do many, many things."

        Well, in an apartment parking lot you are able to do precisely nothing. I had years and years of getting screwed over by used cars. NO MORE.

        >>>"Mileage. Does. Not. Make. A car. Unreliable."

        Oldness, poor prior owner maintenance, things spontaneously failing -- these are the things that stranded me, lost me TWO different jobs, got me mugged, cost my many thousands of dollars I didn't have, etc.

        >>>"My subaru has never left me stranded, nor caused me to be late for work."

        Is this your version of a pissing contest? My new car has never left me stranded and I don't expect it to in the 10-12 years/40K-50K miles I own it. My used cars? Uggghghh.

        >>>"Wrenching on your own vehicles is fun, rewarding, you learn a lot, and you save a boatload of cash."

        Some people might not think it's fun. Some people might see it as a colossal waste of time when it can be brought to someone trained to do it. Just because you find lying on the floor of your garage sweating for hours working on your car rewarding, and I'm not disparaging your enjoyment, doesn't mean it's for everyone! Some people would find it extremely distasteful.

        >>>"Does anybody really NEED a new car? No. Not really, they don't. It's a "luxury" as many of you pointed out. It's a great way to lose thousands of dollars..."

        After some horrendous used cars, I got a good job that I enjoy and that pays relatively well. I decided to spend money on the "luxury" of a brand new car with ZERO miles. And I haven't regretted it for a single second.

        >>>"Rich people. Let them do it, they're dumb enough to waste money."

        Huh? Rich people buy Subarus and Hondas? Hey, in ten or twelve years I'll be selling a black 2007 Honda Civic Si Coupe with under 50,000 miles, well-maintained, with Fujita SRI, HFP suspension, Axis widetrack wheels for 235/40-18s, HFP aero parts, and Hondata reflash. Maybe you'll be in the market. A rich person wouldn't buy this vehicle. It was barely over $21K.

        >>>"Also, you people think that just because a car is new it is free of problems."

        Laughable. A recall for a bolt, for instance, is hardly in the same league as any of five hundred different parts catastrophically failing due to old age and wear and tear.

        Now, why don't we address the huge number of miles you seem to put on each year? How efficient is that? I'm configuring my life to have a 7.5 mile (each way) commute twice per week.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well not everyone is a cheapskate or anti-consumerist. Most people have no desire to run a car into the ground before getting a new one. You get a new car for the improved safety, styling, comfort, peformance, or to meet changing needs (family, etc).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Matt, if you NEED stability control you must be a completely awful driver. And again, I'm fine for one or two airbags, but current cars are getting ridiculous. We don't need the entire car lined with explosive sacks pointed every which direction. I'd rather have a lighter, leaner vehicle with fewer things to go wrong, and better performance.

        Also, I might ad you CAN improve your headlights, VERY cheaply, and easily! Especially if you have projectors like my Subaru!

        http://www.bmwe34.net/Wiki/tiki-index.php?page=9005+Conversion

        You can also buy other bulbs, but beware of blue glass, it filters the light giving you less lumens. Xtrabright is another good choice, also, plug and play HID kits now cost only around $120.
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM, the worlds largest corporation, has already collapsed. The Fed is keeping the lights on with subsidies from their printing press. Wake up from your dream world. The American empire has collapsed. The world is no longer going to finance your folly.

        • 6 Years Ago
        That's a laugh, you ignorant c*nt. Piss off before we stop sending billions in aid to whatever third world sh*thole you come from.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I need a sporty, fun new car. My 16 year old car is getting old. Where can I get the best deal possible??
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, what were the analysts saying a year or two ago?
      • 6 Years Ago
      maybe ford will still be around, if we are lucky gm, buy buy chrysler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      2009=10.5 million sales, 2010 to 2013 will be in the range of 10.5 to 12.2 m. The industry in general has brought so many sales forward it will be years before we even break 14 million again.........all the big 3 need to go BK to get a handle on the crazy cost structure .....and please, please, GM GET RID OF RICK!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      One thing I've been thinking about lately is what's going to happen to all the cars sitting unsold in Long Beach and other ports. It's going to be some time before those cars even make it to dealers, much less into the hands of owners.

      Toyota announced they are stopping production in Japan for a total of 11 days, so far, in the coming months. If things continue as they are I don't see how that doesn't get extended and other foreign carmakers follow suit.

      What if we wind up with a significantly abbreviated 2009 or 2010 model year just so they can sell all the '08's clogging the pipeline.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I believe some manufactures actually have a reduced inventory this year vs. the same period last year. Toyota likely isn't one of them.

        Some great deals could be just around the corner on some fine Toyotas.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Interesting. The US population is about 300,000,000, 75% of whom are of driving age. At 15 million new cars per year, each of us can get a new car every 15 years or so, on average. I better get an oil change.
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