Russia has long been included under the "emerging markets" umbrella that carmakers have been saying would lead to future industry growth. The economic fallout put an end to those predictions, with Russia suffering just as badly – and if you include the oil sector, some would say even worse – as any other economy. But even though sales are down, Frost & Sullivan predicts that Russia could rebound to be the world's 3rd largest auto market by 2012, behind the U.S. and China.
The US auto industry has hit a serious slump in 2008, with overall sales estimated drop by two million vehicles compared to 2007. Even the mighty Toyota has seen sales slip by 7.8%, which is better than the industry average, but a far cry from annual increases of 10%. And times may not improve in 2009 either, as the credit crunch and mortgage crisis have conspired to kick the auto industry in the pants. Toyota sales boss Jim Lentz says the mortgage crisis is the main culprit of tough sledding fo