New data out this afternoon says the U.S. auto industry suffered its worst month of car sales in more than 17 years last month.
“This is clearly a severe, severe recession for the U.S. automotive industry and something we really can’t sustain,” said Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Corp.’s executive director of global market and industry analysis who said the government should speed up actions to thaw out frozen credit.
Tucked in the analysis, however, is a factoid contributing to the problem: The cars being built these days are too good.
Emily Kolinski Morris, Ford’s senior economist, told a conference call with reporters that because automobiles are more durable than in the past, people can wait without buying a new vehicle until they feel more confident in the economy.
In the past, perhaps, the auto industry could pull the economy out of a slump if people had no choice but to buy cars. Those days are gone.