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Main article: "Automotive industry in Russia

Russia's automotive industry was hit hard by the "Late 2000s recession, which started from "United States. Production of passenger cars dropped from 1,470,000 units in 2008 to just 597,000 units in 2009. Lorry production fell from 256,000 to 91,000 in the same period.[42]

In late 2008, the Russian government introduced protectionistic measures, worth $5 billion, to improve the situation in the industry. This included $2 billion's worth of "bailouts for troubled companies and $3 billion credits to buyers of Russian cars.[43] Prime minister "Vladimir Putin described the move as vital in order to save jobs.[44] The tariffs for imported foreign cars and trucks were increased to a minimum 50% and 100%, respectively. The tariffs are linked to engine size of the vehicle. The increased duties led to protests in Russian cities, most notably in "Vladivostok, as the import of Japanese cars is an important sector of the city's economy.[45]

The most efficient anti-crisis measure executed by the Russian government was the introduction of a "car scrappage scheme in March 2010. Under the scheme, buyers of new cars can receive a subsidy which is 600,000 rubles ($20,000) at maximum.[46] Sales of Russia's largest carmaker "Avtovaz sales doubled in the second quarter of 2010 as a result, and the company returned to profit.[47][48]


Spanish automobile manufacturer "SEAT (a subsidiary of the "Volkswagen Group) cut production at its "Martorell plant by 5% on 7 October 2008, due to a fall in general sales. This affected 750 employees and continued until July 2009.[49] SEAT is still continuing to install solar panels in its Martorell plant near "Barcelona.[50]


On December 11, 2008, the "Swedish government provided its troubled auto makers, "Volvo and "Saab, with support amounting to "SEK 28 billion (3.5 billion USD). The two companies had requested assistance, faced with the financial difficulties of their U.S. owners Ford and General Motors. The plan consists of a maximum of SEK 20 billion in credit guarantees, and up to SEK 5 billion in rescue loans.[51] On 18 February 2009 General Motors warned "Saab may fail within ten days, should the Swedish government not intervene.[52] On 20 February, an administrator was appointed to restructure Saab and assist in it becoming independent of its troubled parent General Motors. General Motors have confirmed their intention to sell their Swedish subsidiary, Saab.[53] Of Sweden's 9 million population, 140,000 work in the car industry and they account for 15% of exports.[52]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the "United Kingdom, "Jaguar Land Rover, now owned by "Tata Motors, was seeking a $1.5 billion loan from the government to cope with the credit crisis.[54]

On 22 December 2008, Tata declared that it would inject "tens of millions" of pounds into the company it had acquired from "Ford Motor Corporation in early 2008. British Prime Minister "Gordon Brown also stated the intention to help out car industry in U.K.[55]

On 8 January 2009, "Nissan UK announced it was to shed 1200 jobs from its "Washington, Tyne and Wear factory in "North East England.[56] This announcement was made, despite the plant recently being hailed as the most efficient in Europe.[57][58]

General Motors UK subsidiary "Vauxhall Motors, whose brand is the second most popular in the UK["citation needed] has two bases in the UK, a factory in "Ellesmere Port, "Cheshire and their headquarters and design and development centre in "Luton, "Bedfordshire. It is as yet unknown whether these plants will be affected by the GM cutbacks. The group along with their sister subsidiary, "Opel of "Germany, was supposed to be sold in their majority to "Magna International, an "Austro-"Canadian company who supply many parts to large car companies, but General Motors cancelled the transaction.

UK bus manufacturer "Optare received an order from "Arriva in November 2008 for the manufacture of 53 buses in a contract worth over £6million, securing 500 jobs at the company's Assembly factory in "Cross Gates, "Leeds, "West Yorkshire and the parts centre in "Cumbernauld, "North Lanarkshire.[59]

UK Van and commercial vehicle manufacturer "LDV Group asked the UK government for a £30 million bridging loan to facilitate a management buyout of the group. On the same day this was refused.[60] LDV has since said it has a viable future and intends to become the first volume producer of electric vans should the management buyout take place. Production at LDV's factory in "Birmingham, "West Midlands (where it employed 850 staff) has been suspended since December 2008 due to falling demand.[61] Eventually, no buyout materialised and LDV was declared defunct on 15 October 2009.

Along with several other countries, the UK government launched a "scrappage incentive scheme in order to support the crisis stricken industry. Cars registered prior to 31 July 1999, later extended to 29 February 2000, were eligible to be scrap in exchange for a discount of £2000 on a new car, half of which was provided by the government and the other half by the dealer. The scheme came to an end on 31 March 2010.

North America[edit]


Effects of the 2008–2010 automotive industry crisis on Canada

The Canadian auto industry is closely linked to the U.S., due to the "Automotive Products Trade Agreement and later the "North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and is in similar trouble.

United States[edit]

Effects of the 2008–2010 automotive industry crisis on the United States

The crisis in the United States is mainly defined by the government rescue of both "General Motors and "Chrysler. "Ford secured a line of credit in case they require a bridging loan in the near future. Car sales declined in the United States, affecting both US based and foreign car manufacturers. The bridging loans led to greater scrutiny of the U.S. automotive industry in addition to criticism of their product range, product quality, high labour wages, job bank programs. The government-backed rescue of the American auto industry gained the support of 37% of Americans in 2009 according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, and it gained the support of 56% of Americans in 2012 according to a Pew Research Center poll.[62] Chrysler was forced into "bankruptcy in April 2009 and GM in May.[63][64]

While the ""Big Three" U.S. market share declined from 70% in 1998 to 53% in 2008, global volume increased particularly in Asia and Europe.[65] The U.S. auto industry was profitable in every year since 1955, except those years following U.S. recessions and involvement in wars. U.S. auto industry profits suffered from 1971-73 during the "Vietnam War, during the recession in the late 1970s which impacted auto industry profits from 1981–83, during and after the Gulf War when industry profits declined from 1991–93, and during the Iraq War from 2001–03 and 2006-09. During these periods the companies incurred much legacy debt.[66]

Facing financial losses, the Big Three have "idled many factories and drastically reduced employment levels. GM "spun off many of its employees in certain divisions into independent companies, including "American Axle in 1994 and "Delphi in 1999. Ford spun off "Visteon in 2000. The spin-offs and other parts makers have shared "Detroit's downturns, as have the U.S.-owned plants in Canada. Altogether the parts makers employ 416,000 people in the U.S. and Canada. General Motors alone is estimated to have lost $51 billion in the three years before the 2008 financial crisis began. GM is set to reacquire factories from its Delphi subsidiary during its Chapter 11 restructuring.[67]

The 2005 Harbour Report estimated that Toyota's lead in benefits cost advantage amounted to $350 US to $500 US per vehicle over North American manufacturers. The "United Auto Workers agreed to a two-tier wage in recent 2007 negotiations, something which the "Canadian Auto Workers has so far refused.[68] "Jared Bernstein, the chief economist of Vice President "Joe Biden, noted in an interview with WWJ-AM in Detroit that most of the 2007 contract concessions apply only to new hires, while older workers "still benefit from contracts that were signed a long time ago."[69] However, only 30% of parts used by the Big Three employ union labor, with 70% sourced from non-union labor.

"Delphi, which was spun off from GM in 1999, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the UAW refused to cut their wages and GM is expected to be liable for a $7 billion shortfall.[70][71][72]

In order to improve profits, the "Detroit automakers made agreements with unions to reduce wages while making pension and health care commitments. GM, for instance, at one time picked up the entire cost of funding health insurance premiums of its employees, their survivors and GM retirees, as the U.S. did not have a universal health care system.[73] With most of these plans chronically underfunded in the late 1990s, the companies have tried to provide retirement packages to older workers, and made agreements with the UAW to transfer pension obligations to an independent trust.[74] Nonetheless, non-unionized Japanese automakers, with their younger American workforces (and far fewer American retirees) will continue to enjoy a cost advantage.[75][76][77]

A "Chevrolet TrailBlazer, one of General Motors' SUVs

Despite the history of their "marques, many long running cars have been discontinued or relegated to fleet sales,[78][79][80] as "GM, "Ford and "DaimlerChrysler shifted away resources from midsize and compact cars to lead the "SUV Craze". Since the late 1990s, over half of their profits have come from "light trucks and SUVs, while they often could not break even on compact cars unless the buyer chose options.[81] Ron Harbour, in releasing the Oliver Wyman’s 2008 Harbour Report, stated that many small “"econoboxes” of the past acted as loss leaders, but were designed to bring customers to the brand in the hopes they would stay loyal and move up to more profitable models. The report estimated that an automaker needed to sell ten small cars to make the same profit as one big vehicle, and that they had to produce small and mid-size cars profitably to succeed, something that the Detroit three have not yet done.[82] SUV sales peaked in 1999 but have not returned to that level ever since, due to higher gas prices.

In the case of "Chrysler Corporation, compact and mid-sized vehicles such as the "Dodge Neon, "Dodge Stratus and "Chrysler Cirrus were produced profitably during the 1990s concurrently with more profitable larger vehicles. However, following the "DaimlerChrysler merger in 1998, there was a major cost-cutting operation at the company. The result was the lowering of benchmarked standards for Chrysler to aim at. This directly led to the following in Chrysler's case. There was realignment of the Chrysler Group model range with those of GM and Ford (i.e. a skew towards larger vehicles).

The Detroit Big Three had been slower to bring new vehicles to the market compared with foreign competitors. The Big Three have battled initial quality perceptions in spite of reports showing improvements.[83]

Falling sales resulted in the Big Three's plants operating below capacity. GM's plants were operating at 85% in November 2005, well below the plants of its Asian competitors, and was only maintained by relying on cash incentives and subsidized leases.[84] Rebates, employee pricing, and 0% financing boosted sales but drained the automaker's cash reserves. The "subprime mortgage crisis and high oil prices of 2008 caused the popularity of once best-selling trucks and SUVs to plummet. Automakers were forced to continue offering heavy incentives to help clear excess inventory.[85] Due to the declining residual value of their vehicles, Chrysler and GM stopped offering leases on most of their vehicles in 2008.[86]

In September 2008, the "Big Three asked for $50 billion to pay for health care expenses and avoid bankruptcy and ensuing layoffs, and Congress worked out a $25 billion loan.[87] By December, President Bush had agreed to an emergency bailout of $17.4 billion to be distributed by the next administration in January and February.[88] In early 2009, the prospect of avoiding bankruptcy by General Motors and Chrysler continued to wane as new financial information about the scale of the 2008 losses came in. Ultimately, poor management and business practices forced Chrysler and General Motors into bankruptcy. Chrysler filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 1, 2009[89] followed by General Motors a month later.[90]

On June 2, GM Motors announced the sale of the "Hummer brand of "off-road vehicles to "Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd., a machinery company in western China, a deal which later fell through.[91][92][93]

Effects of environmental expectations and changing product demand[edit]

Environmental politics and related concerns regarding carbon emissions have heightened sensitivity to gas mileage standards and environmental protection worldwide. In a 2007 edition of his book "An Inconvenient Truth, "Al Gore criticized the Big Three. "They keep trying to sell large, inefficient gas-guzzlers even though fewer and fewer people are buying them." For example, Japan requires autos to achieve 45 miles per US gallon (5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg‑imp) of gasoline and China requires 35 mpg‑US (6.7 L/100 km; 42 mpg‑imp). The "European Union requires 47 mpg‑US (5.0 L/100 km; 56 mpg‑imp) by 2012. By comparison, U.S. autos are required to achieve only 25 mpg‑US (9.4 L/100 km; 30 mpg‑imp) presently. Other nations have adopted standards that are increasing mpg requirements in the future. When "California raised its own standards, the auto companies sued.[94][95]

The Big Three received funding for a $25 billion government loan during October 2008 to help them re-tool their factories to meet new fuel-efficiency standards of at least 35 mpg‑US (6.7 L/100 km; 42 mpg‑imp) by 2020. The $25 billion in loans from the Department of Energy to the auto manufacturers were actually authorized by Congress early this year but not funded. Automakers could use these loans to "equip or establish facilities to produce ‘advanced technology vehicles’ that would meet certain emissions and fuel economy standards; component suppliers could borrow funds to retool or build facilities to produce parts for such vehicles."[96]

Effect of 2008 oil price shock and economic crisis[edit]

Medium term "crude oil prices 1987-present.

In 2008, a series of damaging blows drove the Big Three to the verge of bankruptcy. The Big Three had in recent years manufactured "SUVs and large "pickups, which were much more profitable than smaller, fuel-efficient cars. Manufacturers made 15% to 20% profit margin on an SUV, compared to 3% or less on a car.[97] When gasoline prices rose above $4 per gallon in 2008, Americans stopped buying the big vehicles and Big Three sales and profitability plummeted.

The "financial crisis played a role, as GM was unable to obtain credit to buy Chrysler.["citation needed] Sales fell further as "consumer credit tightened and it became much harder for people with average or poor credit to obtain a bank loan to buy a car. During 2007, nearly 2 million new U.S. cars were purchased with funds from home equity loans. Such funding was considerably less available in 2008.[98] In addition, stock prices fell as shareholders worried about bankruptcy; GM's shares fell below 1946 levels. Furthermore, the instability of the job market and individual consumers' finances discourages consumers who already have a working vehicle from taking on a new loan and payments, which affected almost all major manufacturers.

The annual capacity of the industry is 17 million cars; sales in 2008 dropped to an annual rate of only 10 million vehicles made in the U.S. and Canada. All the automakers and their vast supplier network account for 2.3% of the U.S. economic output, down from 3.1% in 2006 and as much as 5% in the 1990s. Some 20% of the entire national manufacturing sector is still tied to the automobile industry. The transplants can make a profit when sales are at least 12 million; the Big Three when sales are at least 15 million.[99]

By December 19, 2008, oil prices had fallen to $33.87 per barrel, but the automobile crisis continued.[100]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

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