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Back To The Age Of The Horse And Buggy

Even Toyota is showing deficits, calamitous deficits, as Martin Fackler reports in today's New York Times: "In the Red, Toyota Sees Losses Tripling." Two months ago, the Japanese automaker that it would lose $1.6 billion at the end of its current fiscal year. It announced today that the real loss will be $5 billion, in contrast to a record-breaking profit of $28 billion last year. Toyota's current deficit is the first since 1938. Banzai!

Italy's favorite car, the Fiat, has also been deep into deficit...and with it all of Italian industry. The government of Silvio Berlusconi has an ingenuous response to this auto disaster. Instead of subsidizing the purchases of gas-eating monster HMVs as our government did through tax abatements for several years, the Italian government, according to yesterday's FT and today's, has launched an incentive package, possibly worth 1,500 Euros, "to exchange models at least 10 years old for new relatively small cars. The government would also provide credit guarantees to banks to finance purchasers." The incentives are not limited to Italian cars. The conditions, however, insist on small capacity and least polluting. Avanti populo!