Ed Driscoll

Toyota Topples Ford--GM Next?

Flip Pidot notes a huge milestone in the automotive industry:

For the first time since the Great Depression, Ford Motor Company (F) is not the second-largest automaker in the country.

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In 2007, Toyota (TM) sold roughly 2.62 million cars in the U.S., compared to Ford’s 2.54 million. The company is also poised to snatch the dominant global share from long-time global share dominator General Motors (GM).

Coincidentally, Toyota is unburdened by the crippling legacy costs wrought by decades of powerful union influence on America’s shrinking, unprofitable auto industry. You’d be losing share to Toyota too if you were saddled with a $1,500 per car union handicap (slightly less than Toyota’s profit per car).

The good news is that as the domestic auto industry bleeds out and is forced (despite threats of massive strikes) to trim its bloated health care and pension payouts, Congress will likely step in and force the Big 3 into keeping the veins open. As additional losses force additional layoffs and the ratio of employees to pensioners continues to decline, the industry’s ensuing death spiral should be mercifully swift.

In Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg writes, “There’s a reason liberal economists joke that General Motors is a health care provider that makes cars as an industrial byproduct.”

Evidently, Toyota hasn’t forgotten what business it’s in.