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Toyota catches Detroit’s cold
The car slump isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon
 

Toyota says it will lose $1.7 billion this year, said Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic online, which is “not only the biggest loss since the company’s founding in 1938—it’s the only one.” If you count investment dividends, Toyota as a whole will actually make a small profit, and the car unit is clearly not in “the same fragile state of America’s automakers.” But this is a good “reminder of why Detroit is on the verge of collapse: Nobody is buying cars.”

If Toyota, “by all accounts one of the world’s best-managed automakers,” is in trouble, said Frank James in the Chicago Tribune online, maybe the critics of the Detroit bailout will change their tune. After all, their opposition is “premised on the notion that the U.S. automakers did themselves in through decades of bad management and greedy unions.”

That premise still holds, said Mark Steyn in National Review Online. General Motors, “like the other two geezers of the Old Three, is a vast retirement home with a small loss-making auto subsidiary.” And its market capitalization is puny compared with Toyota’s—two billion versus “one hundred billion and change (the change being bigger than the whole of GM).”

Toyota is still beating Detroit because in Japan’s “lost decade” of the 1990s, it didn’t lose focus, said Leo Lewis in The Times of London. Constantly punished by “deflation, tough credit conditions, and domestic stagnation, they made themselves everything that the Detroit ‘Big Three’ are not.” The thing is, Toyota is still that company—and the fact that it's losing money should be “a red flag for the globe.”

 

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