23 May 2011

The Times They Are A Changin'

You better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin'.

Those words of that classic song certainly applied to the US car industry. Their 'Big Three' car makers were once at the top of the tree but poor management saw them plunge, so far in fact that two recently got government bailouts to save them and the other just avoiding that fate.

For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

On the other hand, Japanese companies were doing well and Toyota went top of the world a couple of years back, passing GM. Then the global downturn pushed up the Yen to a more realistic value. Suddenly profits were vapourising and sales were falling. Now the Tsunami has rubbed salt into the wounds by affecting production. How much is hard to tell as I get the impression some car makers are playing it up more than it is, perhaps to minimise the already existing poor situation. Whatever the case, the disruptions of the 'quake have added hurt Japanese car makers and other brands around the world who source any parts there.

There's a battle outside and it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

So who will win this battle? The US car makers will surely take back share from the strong Japanese presence within America. The Korean duo surely will pounce as will VW. In Europe, the fairly low Japanese market share will diminish. Nissan is a Japanese brand going places so how they cope will be interesting.

Overall, the main winners from Japanese decline within the industry appear to be US and Korean manufacturers. One thing is certain: the times they are a-changin'

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