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Automakers’ Comeback Leads post-Great Recession Success Objectives

January 27th, 2014 | by Morris Beschloss | Comments

When the U.S.’s world-leading economy was hit by its worst body blow since the 1930-40′s Great Depression, its two major segments were particularly hard hit. The automotive manufacturing industry, as well as the residential, commercial and industrial construction sectors, were particularly vulnerable, due to the disproportionate role these two giants of America’s $17 trillion annual economy have comprised.

In retrospect, both the waning months of the George W. Bush Administration and the early focus by the Obama Administration played a positive role in laying the groundwork for the automotive sector’s return to pre-recession levels in 2013 and the current expansion of construction activity, is destined to show exceptional improvement in 2014.

Although currently embroiled in a misguided attempt to take over the U.S. healthcare industry (16% of the U.S.’s gross domestic product), both the Bush and Obama Administrations must be given credit for solidifying the banking sector, which together with the Federal Reserve Board’s quantitative easing, has put the nation’s major corporations, independent businesses, and financial institutions in far better shape than could have been predicted in the gloomy days of late 2008 and early 2009.

One must not forget the TARP approach to bank solvency, and the considerably competent “czars” who presided over the orderly transition that brought most of America’s business, industry, and commerce back far faster than originally expected. Certainly, no other impacted global developed nation has experienced the success of America’s business and industry rebound. The main shortfall has been the nation’s inability to absorb excess labor, much of which has become redundant due to technological advances.

While the construction industry has benefitted by a nationwide switch to short-term rental and long-term leasing, rather than the previously overwhelming asset ownership by the residential sector, commercial and industrial expansion, as well as upgrading and maintenance are looking forward to a formidable upswing, if not a monumental rebound in 2014.

But the magnificent success of America’s century-old automotive global superstar position has been the most remarkable of the nation’s economic comeback as a whole. In 2013, U.S. consumers bought close to 16 million vehicles, up 8% from 2012, according to market researcher Autodata Corporation. This is the strongest volume since 2007. But in a reversal from 2012, purchases of light trucks, including sport utility vehicles exceeded smaller cars. This is also a reversal from the U.S. Government’s plea to switch to lighter cars, utilizing reduced gas consumption. All indicators for 2014 seem to point to another 16 million unit year.

With the expectation that gasoline prices will remain at moderate levels, due to the accelerating oil production during the unfolding 2014 year, much of America’s car purchases seem to be surging back to luxury cars, SUV’s and top brand models. These had been America’s favorites before high gas prices coincided with the financial recession that cut back automotive purchases dramatically during the 2008-2009 belt-tightening.

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