There isn’t much to be happy about in 2009 if you are looking at the Great Recession year from an automaker or wider United States economy perspective.
- Unemployment reached levels not seen since the Great Depression despite taxpayers spending almost three-quarters of a trillion dollars on a government “stimulus” program.
- Consumer confidence was badly shaken, and remains at dismal levels.
- The credit markets stayed frozen as banks took the taxpayer stimulus money or Federal Reserve loans at zero percent interest and reinvested the funds in U.S. Treasury bills, not by lending the money out as lawmakers intended.
- And the only effective “stimulus” program in our view – CARS, aka Cash for Clunkers – took more than six months of congressional squabbling and posturing before going into effect, and then was stopped almost as soon as it began.
The real sales and share gainers in the auto market were all offshore-based companies, whose home markets are protected and all but closed to exports from U.S.-based companies.
Here are the Top Ten companies by sales: GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, VW, and BMW.
Chart follows. (more…)