While the initial “Cash for clunkers” program was not very well run, billionaire financier Wilbur Ross thinks the U.S. economy definitely would benefit from a new government stimulus program that would encourage consumers to buy cars or Cash For Clunkers Two.
“A lot of the old stimulus is going to be running out and I don’t think the consumer has been rehabilitated yet,” he said in his “state of the auto industry” speech at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.
“In my book, 2011 will be the big year for cars, not 2010,” Ross said. “I view that as kind of a transition from the depths of where we were to what we hope will be something like the new normal.”
A normal rate of annual U.S. auto sales should be in the 13.5 million to 14 million-unit range, according to Ross.
Ross also described his foray into the automobile industry as an adventure after his hugely successful foray into the steel business where he bought assets at the bottom of the market and sold a few years later as demand for steel soared.
However, the IAC group, his principle venture into the auto industry, lost money last year. But should be profitable this year and he is considering additional acquisitions.