Asahi has a brief but good analysis of the sentiment here in Japan as General Motors went to the courts filing for bankruptcy protection. Chrysler has already been rescued by Fiat, the Italian car maker, while Ford remains stable.
1) Toyota has reached a basic agreement with GM to continue New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a joint venture in Fremont, California, established in 1984.
2) Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki said CAMI Automotive Inc., a joint venture with GM in Ontario, Canada, will play a central role in GM's reconstruction.
3) A top Isuzu executive said the company's relationship with GM would continue because the truck business had been profitable everywhere except in the United States.
Asahi: Firms brace for GM bankruptcy
A lot more is going on behind the scenes today (Monday), as you may expect. This is not just about selling automobiles to individuals who really can't afford it using no-money-down incentives: "Parts suppliers, meanwhile, are trying to secure payment owed by GM for products delivered. According to private credit research company Teikoku Databank Ltd., 133 Japanese companies do business with GM and 102 of them may not be able to recoup money owed for supplies."
Japan's car industry has depended on the U.S. market for at least a quarter of a century. So did SAAB and Volvo in Sweden, and a lot of other companies, like Opel. What is amazing is how few commentators here in Japan, at least in the major newspapers, are admitting that this is the end of an era.
There will never be another automobile industry driven economic boom. The Mainichi, for example, hopes that GM's bankruptcy will be a "quiet" affair (静かな破綻) but obviously, unemplyment and general misery will increase (unless people start to value other things that are more important to life than horse power and gas guzzling engines). What we all should prepare for is a world without cars - and I for one is looking forward to it.
Update: Wolfgang Munchau at Financial Times worries about the way the German government has been negotiating the rescue of Opel, the European subsidiary of General Motors:
Opel – or Vauxhall in the UK – has been a truly European carmaker, with plants in several European countries. But when GM got into trouble, the EU was nowhere to be seen. It should have declared any rescue of Opel illegal, a flagrant breach of state aid law, especially at a time when the industry suffers from overcapacity.
Overcapacity - wow, the taboo word in today's global economy. Consume less, not more. Finding joy where that old Pink Cadillac V8 engine just won't do the trick.
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe