17 Nisan 2011 Pazar
After Tsunami, American Automakers Looking for Home Turf Sales Boost
According to CNN’s Fortune and simple, cold-hearted business logic, now is the prime time for American manufacturers to take advantage of recent catastrophic events and pounce on their home market's consumers. A lack of Japanese parts (or entire vehicles), in conjunction with a strong yen and ever-improving American small cars, has given Ford, GM, and Chrysler a potential sales pick-me-up as we stroll into the summer months.
Two of the three factors which will help American manufacturers' sales stem directly from the tsunami in Japan a month ago: factory shutdowns have limited parts/vehicle availability, while the yen gained value as the Japanese are expected to repurchase some currency for disaster mitigation.
Bottom line: there are no parts, and moving product to the states has gotten more expensive and less profitable. This is expected to drop supplies of some brands by up to 50% while also increasing prices on the units that are available, pushing potential customers into the open arms of the competition.
The third major factor is simply that the United States' auto manufacturers have started paying attention to the market and planning. With small car sales set to increase with the price of oil in the coming months, the Big Two-And-A-Half will be pushing their own version of efficient Japanese compacts: the Ford Focus and Fiesta, and the Chevrolet Cruze and upcoming Sonic. Chrysler technically has the Caliber and Fiat 500, but neither has made as big a splash as Ford and GM's offerings yet.
That's not to say we'll see American manufacturers absolutely crushing the competition, but expect them to regain some more their lost market share. Consumers looking for hybrids will likely continue cross-shopping the usual suspects, while people in the market for electrics and plug-ins will be stuck with the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf. That is, until Ford's electric Focus arrives in late 2011 and Toyota's plug-in Prius shows up in 2012.
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