The auto downturn is not about the type of vehicles made

NY Times:

For years, Toyota City prospered along with the giant carmaker that shares its name, growing into a global automotive manufacturing center as its official sister city, Detroit, slid into decline.

Now, the current economic crisis has halted the good times in Japan’s Motor City. Toyota Motor, the city’s largest employer and dominating presence, has idled factories and slashed production amid its first annual net loss in 59 years. This has pushed Toyota City into its worst slump in memory, as jobs have vanished, tax revenues have dried up and tidy downtown shopping streets have grown eerily empty. The reversal of fortune has turned both Toyotas, the city and the car company, into grim symbols of a global downturn that has spared few, including the once seemingly unstoppable Japanese auto industry.

“In the beginning, we used to aspire to be a second Detroit,” said Tatsuya Yoshimura, who owns a camera shop in downtown Toyota City. “Now, that is what we are afraid of becoming.”

The Obama administration generally sees Toyota as the ideal that Detroit should aspire to in car design and production values, but the Priuses are not selling either right now. The Democrats have manage to scare us into a global recession and it makes very little difference whether you are making pickups or gas electric hybrids, not many of them are being sold. Obama tried to sell his stimulus package with fear itself and has not managed to sell confidence since.


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