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Auto Industry's Future

February 6, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 5
Can energy-efficient vehicles revive the Big Three?
By Thomas J. Billitteri

Introduction

As U.S. automakers post steep declines in profits amid a global credit crisis and a worldwide slowdown in vehicle sales, policy experts are debating their long-term prospects. General Motors and Chrysler received billions of dollars in emergency federal loans and are under intense government pressure to find a path toward profitability. Ford lost a record amount last year but insists it can survive without federal help. Management and the United Auto Workers union argue that letting even one automobile giant fail would have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. economy. Skeptics say, however, that automakers have had years to reform themselves and that without steep cost reductions, more union concessions and major sacrifices by dealers and suppliers, the industry's future is dim. Both domestic and foreign automakers are pouring resources into a new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles they hope will revive the industry.

Bad news is battering Detroit-based General Motors as well as the other Big Three U.S. automakers. GM reported that its January 2009 sales fell 49 percent, and Chrysler's dropped 55 percent. Toyota now outranks GM as the world's biggest carmaker.  (AFP/Getty Images/Jeff Haynes)
Bad news is battering Detroit-based General Motors as well as the other Big Three U.S. automakers. GM reported that its January 2009 sales fell 49 percent, and Chrysler's dropped 55 percent. Toyota now outranks GM as the world's biggest carmaker. (AFP/Getty Images/Jeff Haynes)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Automobiles
Jul. 25, 2014  Future of Cars
Feb. 06, 2009  Auto Industry's FutureUpdated
May 16, 2003  SUV Debate
Oct. 26, 2001  Auto Safety
Jan. 21, 2000  Auto Industry's Future
Jul. 25, 1997  Aggressive Driving
Oct. 16, 1992  U.S. Auto Industry
Apr. 27, 1990  Curbing Auto-Insurance Premiums
Jul. 14, 1989  Automakers Face Trouble Down the Road
Aug. 31, 1984  U.S. Auto Industry: Strategies for Survival
Feb. 23, 1979  Auto Research and Regulation
Apr. 28, 1978  Automotive Safety
May 10, 1974  Auto Industry in Flux
Apr. 18, 1973  Auto Emission Controls
Jan. 13, 1971  Auto Insurance Reform
Jul. 27, 1966  Fortunes of Auto Industry
Jun. 04, 1965  Automobile Safety
Jul. 10, 1964  Automobile Insurance and Traffic Safety
Nov. 19, 1958  Small Cars
Apr. 17, 1957  Better Driving
Jul. 01, 1954  Competition in Automobiles
Mar. 23, 1954  Automobile Liability Insurance
Dec. 24, 1952  Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies
Aug. 21, 1945  Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
Sep. 02, 1938  The Market for Automobiles
Oct. 26, 1932  Outlook for the Automobile Industry
Dec. 10, 1929  Condition of the Automobile Industry
Jan. 30, 1928  Automobile Fatalities and Compulsory Insurance
Dec. 10, 1927  The Status of the Automobile Trade
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Motor Vehicle Industry
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