DETROIT, Nov. 1 – October, which is the start of the new model year, used to be a month for the auto industry to celebrate. This year, it was a month for Detroit to forget.
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler held their lowest shares of the American market ever last month. Sales fell in the wake of high gasoline prices, fears about the economy and consumer resistance to buying cars without the big discounts the companies offered this summer.
General Motors and Ford were hurt the most, with G.M. sales dropping 25.6 percent compared with October 2004 and Ford sales down 26.1 percent.
Big sport utility vehicles, on which Detroit based much of its resurgence in the 1990’s, did even worse, with sales of some of the largest S.U.V.’s, the Ford Expedition and the Cadillac Escalade XLT among them, falling by half or more.
Asian auto-makers, with their more “compact” (=small) models, meanwhile, recorded “their biggest share of the American market ever.”
Maybe Detroit’s seemingly endemic myopia is related to America’s general denial of evolution. GM and Ford don’t seem to remember how those small, brainy mammals out-competed the big, lumbering dinosaurs, lo 100 million years ago. Well, if the backward-looking rednecks who run the schools in Kansas get their way, we’ll all be that stupid before too long.
See our last post on the global oil shock.