(Google Map image of unsold cars lined up at an airfield in Oxfordshire, UK)
Toyota just announced that while three other Japanese car makers will not participate in the next Detroit Auto Show, they plan to attend, and they have two new models to display. Not surprisingly, both models are hybrids.
Then there is the news that even the world's biggest auto maker just got its credit ratings lowered to AA, notes Reuters: Toyota Motor Corp had its top-notch credit ratings cut for the first time in a decade, hitting its shares and raising borrowing costs as an unprecedented slowdown reshapes the global auto industry. This rating will boost borrowing costs at Toyota, but US rivals General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC are falling deeper into junk status. Scary, if you don't think the green economy is waiting just around the proverbial corner.
After Toyota, the next strongest global player is Honda, whose debt rating now stands two notches below that of Toyota. Even the strongest German players, such as Daimler and Volkswagen, are falling behind, according to The Times.
Back to the Google Map image. You can change the scale and have a look at the amount of shiny, new cars just standing there. I don't know what models they are, do you? Noone is saying there is no market for new cars, but the fact that all these marvels of engineering are just sitting out there to rust on an abandoned military airfield breaks my heart. What went wrong? The car industry must have known that what it has been doing is not sustainable.
According to NHK World, Toyota and Honda plan to introduce new hybrid-engine vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show. Subaru also will take part, while Nissan Motors, Mitsubishi Motors and Suzuki Motor will not participate, as car sales in the United States have declined sharply due to the financial crisis.
So-called "market-based solutions" have been the mantra of Big Business for decades. Now they are begging for bailouts from taxpayers, that would probably rather support more public transport and less pollution. Right?
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp