Chrysler posted a profit of $116 million for the first three months of 2011, its first quarter in the black since 2006. That means that the Big 3 American car companies are all making money following their restructurings, say Jeff Bennett and Neal E. Boudette in The Wall Street Journal. And in a surprising reversal of fortunes, Japan's big three — Toyota, Honda, and Nissan — "are slipping into a crisis of their own," as a result of a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. All three Japanese companies are expected to post significant losses for the current quarter, say Bennett and Boudette, with analysts forecasting a $2 billion loss for Toyota. Here, an excerpt:
That Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler are making money while gasoline costs Americans nearly $4 a gallon underscores how dramatically the landscape has shifted. In 2008, they ran up billions of dollars in losses when gas prices spiked, while sales soared for the Japanese car companies.
Since then, Ford has slimmed down on its own, and GM and Chrysler were ushered in and out of bankruptcy. All three emerged stronger just as the U.S. economy began its recovery. Ford and GM also beefed up their offerings of small cars and now are less vulnerable to higher gas prices. ...
U.S. car makers still face many challenges. ... But right now, the Detroit auto makers are looking stronger than they have in decades.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
Subscribe to the Week