The downturn in the economy isn't only affecting the Big 3 as some may wish to believe. The credit crunch coupled with massive job losses has led to a serious downturn in car sales as well. While the Big 3 have definitely been hit the hardest, even industry stalwarts like Toyota and Honda are finding that they can't be as aggressive as they have been in the past with their development/production cycle.
In the case of Toyota, the company has put the brakes on its eighth North American automobile plant. "Due to the uncertainty of the market, it is impossible to say at this time when production will begin," noted the company in a press statement. "Toyota continues to evaluate its operations globally and reduce production as necessary to match the weak market."
Workers at the new $300M Mississippi assembly plant -- which currently stands at 90% complete -- were to build current and future versions of the Prius hybrid. However, even Toyota's fuel-efficient Prius hasn't been able to escape lagging sales numbers. According to Reuters, Prius sales were down 48% for November year-over-year.
The steep drop in Prius sales, along with a 34% decline in automobile sales altogether for Toyota in November, and a 92-day car inventory are all cited as reasons for slowing down its expansion plans.
Reuters adds that Toyota will still complete the outer structure of the Mississippi assembly plant, but will instead wait to install the production machinery at a later date.
Toyota's next generation Prius will makes its official debut next year at the Detroit Auto Show. The vehicle, however, was first leaked on the internet in October.
quote: Nah, I look at another milestone in smugness... election of Obama. There is now a new status symbol for these people instead of driving a Prius and its a "I voted for Obama" pin.
quote: At least that's how I read his post. Then again what do I know... when I see a Prius I think of Jeff Dunham.
quote: So a Prius brings thoughts of bad comedy? That must suck.
quote: I'm proud to say that I voted against Obama.
quote: Prius drivers are smokers and Obama is a smoker. Would think with the interest in "greeness" and smugness, these people wouldn't be so dumb to be hooked on tobacco.
quote: Most of the bad mortgages we're dealing with now were the result of Clinton Administration policies mandating weaker requirements for lending as well as more diversified lending, regardless of individual qualifications.
quote: You can't blame Clinton for the greedy, predatory lending.
quote: When did individual responsibility become illegal?
quote: Regardless of policy, if you give some one a variable interest loan based upon their income, then jack up the rate so there is no way they are able to pay, there is going to be a problem.
quote: We have the infrastructure with the internet to have a noncoercive libertarian democracy yet we have what amounts to a Wall Street / Washington Financial Dictatorship.
quote: Thus I encourage any and all economic lessons to be taught. Only when this veil of ignorance and creep towards full on National Socialism will stop.
quote: NEVER underestimate the collective ignorance of the people. They vote democrat do they not? You know...the party that has not had a single new idea since 1930!
quote: Actually, it's not news, because Toyota isn't crawling on their knees begging for a handout from the Gov't now are they?
quote: No see, what they do is CUT PRODUCTION when demand slows - something the UAW will not allow the "not-so-big-anymore" 3 to do.
quote: GM is still the largest car manufacturer in the world. We get it, you don't like the american car companies, just don't go spewing untruths.
quote: The major problem here would be you would own a Ford.
quote: Toyotas are also more expensive to fix, meanwhile a monkey could fix most Ford models.
quote: From all I've heard, Ford is in no danger of going belly up, with or without the bailout.
quote: but the sky is not falling.
quote: Regardless of the cost of gasoline, most Americans are fed up with the fact that thousands have died
quote: [The Big Three] need to declare bankruptcy. That way they're free of their obligations.