The 2008 Paris Auto Show kicked off today amid highly publicized financial turmoil in the auto industry and rather than attempt to make the best of an admittedly dismal situation, many auto makers chose to take the Al Gore approach. Lest anyone think the future looks brighter illuminated by the news of government bailouts, GM Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson assured Paris Auto Show press that not only is the North American market weak, but the European market is likely to flounder in the next few months as well. Not to be outdone, Ford CEO Alan Mullay conservatively estimated that the global car market won’t even begin to recover until 2010. “2009 is not going to be better than 2008,” said Mullay, “We won’t see a recovery until 2010.”
Europe’s leading auto manufacturer, Volkswagen AG, isn’t nearly as fatalistic as the boys back home. At a press event, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn told reporters that VW expects to be able to generate sales gain, turning at least a modest profit. Part of VW’s optimistic goals stem from the recent bill past by the U.S. government guaranteeing a $25 billion dollar bailout to the auto industry – which VW and its Tennessee-based manufacturing facility plan to stake a partial claim to.
Ironically enough, the auto supplier demonstrating more fortitude then Ford, GM, and VW combined is French manufacturer, Peugeot. At the show, Peugeot CEO Christian Streiff told reporters that Peugeot had managed to trim $2.79 billion dollars off production costs in the past 18 months and plans to continue doing so in great increments in the future. Streiff went on to say that despite the market turmoil, Peugeot has no immediate intention of modifying its sales or production objectives for 2010.
I say: Detroit, I’ve grown weary of listening to you wallow in a state of woe. You’ve exhibited a complete lack of foresight and completely failed at demonstrating grace under pressure. You’ve got $25 billion more dollar, 25-year loan now, you should have all the tools necessary for turning this market on it’s ear – so do it. I mean for crying out loud Detroit, man up.
[News Source: AutoNews.com]