The automotive industry is one of the hardest hit sectors in this time of global recession. American car makers were literally thrown into bankruptcy because of the firms inability to address what the market needed. For years, auto giants like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler churned out gas guzzlers that fed the Americans lust for horsepower and performance. With the increasing price of oil, the war on terror and the undeniable friction between the United States of America and the members of the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries), this dependence on foreign fuel made the high-performance sports utility vehicles impractical and unsavory for middle-income Americans. This has caused a strain on the American economy in terms of employment statistics and the actual bottom line for these giant multi-national companies.
If you're thinking of investing in the car market with the stock prices of many car firms on record lows, you may want to check the trends in car sales nowadays.
- It's always local. Or in this case, regional. Sure, the US firms may be struggling to stay afloat and requiring government dollars to keep jobs, but in other countries like China, car sales are booming. Despite the financial downturn, millions of cars are still being sold in the formerly communist republic and the growth rate is still going strong. Unlike US cars, Chinese cars are affordable sedan-types that can appeal to the middle class market. They're also relatively fuel-efficient compared to the other cars from overseas.
- Know the trends. Companies are very transparent when they declare their quarterly earnings to the media. These figures on growth, sales and profit should always be compared to the projected values that economists have pegged for each company. Despite the downturn, Asian car giants like Honda, Toyota and Kia have latched on to the US market by putting up factories in the South and Midwest. It is not quite clear if Middle America is ready for the sleek and under-powered machines that the Japanese and Koreans are used to driving, though. But the mere fact that these firms have remained standing while their American counterparts have struggled and declared bankruptcy is a testament to their tenacity to stay in the game.
- Go Green. This is the single most obvious trend that the market is telling us at this point. Stock prices for green technology are definitely on the upswing. Despite the price, the potential savings from using a hybrid car or an electric car outweigh the dependence on the unstable price of fuel. There is also some degree of altruism involved as the proponents of global warming have already pushed their agenda front and center to the international stage through documentaries and media coverage of events that can be suggested as effects of climate change. Most people want to feel responsible consumers of energy so the wave towards buying green seems to be the getting stronger as months go by.
Just like in any investment, research is key. Trends in the automotive industry are an important piece of information, whether you are out to invest in an auto company, or are just planning on your next car purchase.