Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As Sammy Hagar said "I can't drive 55!"

It's all cars all the time right now in my household so I'm a little obsessed with the issue of cars at the moment (disclosure: I've got an old Suburban that will be put out to pasture and replaced by a new vehicle getting 30mpg+ thanks to the cash for clunker program).

Consider this chart via Bloomberg that shows the discrepancy between unit sales of cars in the US and China in recent years. This is not an entirely accurate representation of the markets because almost half of all vehicle sales in the US are light trucks but the trend is clear - China's market has seen explosive growth while the US has spun it's wheels. Admittedly, the cash for clunkers might provide a small, short term boost but 250k cars is a small piece of a market that buys 10 million to 16 million cars. If I were running GM I'd try to figure out ways to build more cars that appeal to the Chinese market (GM's actually pretty successful in China already but they should try to gain market share).

Just in case you thought that the cash for clunkers might program might save the domestic car manufacturers consider the top 10 most researched vehicles at

Most Popular
1. Honda Civic
2. Honda Accord
3. Honda CR-V
4. Mazda MAZDA3
5. Toyota Prius
6. Volkswagen Jetta
7. Chevrolet Camaro
8. Toyota Camry
9. Honda Odyssey
10. Toyota RAV4


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