While most of us have been focused on the turmoil churning up GM and Chrysler the last 9 months, there's been far less attention given to the fact almost every other auto maker is struggling right now.
From Toyota losing $7.7 Billion to BMW recently reporting a 14th consecutive month of declining sales in Europe, there is plenty of pain to go around. Today shares of Porsche are under pressure as its slumping sales have investors questioning the future of the luxury auto maker. The on-going battle over what happens at Porsche has been one of intrigue in Europe. Here in the U.S., it's received only minor attention.
It highlight an auto industry that is at a crossroads. The old guard are paying the price for decades of building more plants, and continually expanding around the world. The niche players are being squeezed by the global recession. And the upstarts are snatching up assets and talent.
Look at GAZ out of Russia. Soon, Bo Anderson will become its Chairman. Anderson spent years rising through the ranks at GM, ultimately being the head of purchasing. Yes, one of the guys behind the "American Revolution" at Chevy, is now leading a Russian auto revolution. I would bet anything Anderson never dreamed of driving the future of the Russian auto industry when he was growing.
But in this day and age, the chairs on the deck are being re-arranged. Frankly, this is a good thing for both the industry and ultimately for you the car buyer. Every company is re-thinking how it designs and builds car trucks. Every company is looking for the "breakthrough" that will propel them to the forefront. That race of innovation and design will surely give us more than a few forgettable models, but also a few that will become benchmarks for the future of the auto industry.
I can't wait to see how it shakes out.
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