Cartoon

Political Prisoner

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

(Cartoonist - Nick Anderson)

In other news, new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Greece, Norway, Germany, Brazil and here in the United States, among other countries. A large number of people (700) in New York are currently under quarantine. Moody’s Investor Services says the outbreak will contribute to a 2.5 percent drop in car sales this year and treasury yields have dropped to another record low.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan's asset management business, which manages $2 trillion in assets, is joining the list of other banks requiring clients to disclose their climate change-related risks, among other things.

Finally, Ford Motor's new chief operating officer says the current situation looks a lot like 2009 when the industry nearly collapsed.

“Everyone at Ford knows the situation we’re in,” Jim Farley, who becomes COO on March 1, said Wednesday at a Wolfe Research conference in New York. “I can see it on the faces of my colleagues and it takes me back to about 10 years ago. I’ve seen the look before.

Ford lost $14.8 billion in 2008, the most in its then 105-year history, but was the only automaker in Detroit to avoid the bailouts and bankruptcies that befell General Motors and Chrysler a year later. The tables have turned recently as Ford let its product lineup lapse, posted a string of dismal earnings results and botched the launch of its redesigned Explorer sport utility vehicle. Its stock closed Tuesday at the lowest in more than a decade.

That's a yikes.

Maybe, at some point in our lifetimes, American automakers will finally learn that they can't sustain their entire business on nothing but gaudy trucks for more than a few years at a time. I feel like this just keeps happening. This is at least the third time in my life that American automakers decided they would stop making cars and only make trucks and SUVs -- and then regretted it. And this is while the economy is still relatively healthy! No one is buying a $70,000 truck when things turn bad.