Feature

Business columns: The myth of ‘pent-up demand’

This year, the demand isn’t pent-up; it’s just not there, said Jerry Flint in Forbes.

Jerry Flint
Forbes

Dude, where’s my revival? That’s what many auto executives are nervously asking, said Jerry Flint, as they wait for their old friend—pent-up demand—to ignite a recovery in car sales. The demand is out there, they insist—the numbers say so. Before the recession hit, carmakers sold 16.5 million new vehicles in the U.S. every year. But then sales plunged to 13.2 million in 2008 and to 10.4 million last year, for a two-year shortfall of more than 9 million cars.
“The pent-up demand is the 9 million slackers” who didn’t buy a car in the past two years. They’ll soon have to return to the showrooms, say the execs, to replace their aging vehicles.

Well, maybe not. Cars these days are better made than they used to be and don’t need replacing as often. What’s more, with “general fear in the air,” people are paying off debt, not taking out car loans. And consumers are balking at high sticker prices, which now average more than $30,000. This year, the demand isn’t pent-up. It’s just not there.

Recommended

Anthony Albanese ousts Scott Morrison in Australian election
Anthony Albanese.
in with the new

Anthony Albanese ousts Scott Morrison in Australian election

Biden concludes visit in South Korea, heads to Japan
Joe Biden.
next stop

Biden concludes visit in South Korea, heads to Japan

Russia claims to have captured Mariupol
Russian soldier in Mariupol.
big if true

Russia claims to have captured Mariupol

Group of 7 pledges almost $20B in aid for Ukraine
G7 officials discuss Ukraine aid package.
cash infusion

Group of 7 pledges almost $20B in aid for Ukraine

Most Popular

College student who delivered baby before graduation surprised at hospital
Jada Sayles receives her diploma.
major milestones

College student who delivered baby before graduation surprised at hospital

Elon Musk reportedly offered to trade a horse for an erotic massage
Elon Musk
A horse?

Elon Musk reportedly offered to trade a horse for an erotic massage

Archbishop denies Pelosi communion over abortion rights
Nancy Pelosi.
church and state

Archbishop denies Pelosi communion over abortion rights