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Archive for 25. März 2009

Das Ende der Autoindustrie?!

Posted by entdinglichung - 25. März 2009

Ein interessanter Artikel, gefunden auf der Webseite des International Viewpoint:


Cars, the end of a cycle

Jean-Claude Vessillier

In the thirty five years since the first oil crisis world car production has doubled, going from 33 million in 1975 to 73 million in 2007. In most developed capitalist countries, the usual mode of management of this growth has been that of crisis with restructuring among firms, factory closures and suppression of jobs. The car industry in the oldest capitalist economy, Britain, has been profoundly reduced over this period. Detroit and Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris bear the scars of closed factories with industrial wastelands in the heart of the city.

The new crisis of the car industry, which has just exploded in the second half of 2008, is singular in its simultaneous impact on all continents, its breadth, its potential consequences for the labour force mobilised in this industry, its links with the end of oil as an abundant energy and the environmental crisis. In this sense, the crisis of the car industry concentrates all the dimensions of the crisis currently ravaging the planet. Just as the first oil crisis of 1973 initiated a new cycle in the history of the car industry, the events of the last quarter of 2008 mark the end of this cycle and prefigure a new period where, through new crises, it is very much the future of the petrol powered car and the millions of workers making it which is at stake.

The weight of the car industry in the world economy is well known. Around 8 million people are employed around the world in car construction and the manufacture of parts. The turnover of this industry was nearly 2 thousand billion euros in 2007. This industry, internationalised and concentrated in capitalist terms, is organised in factories of several thousand workers. Car factories have often been the crucible of the workers’ movement, whether in Western Europe, Detroit in the USA, Latin America with the factories of the industrial belt of Sâo Paulo in Brazil, or more recently the Renault Dacia factory in Romania. As a consumer good whose use fashions and disfigures the urban space of the megalopolises of the entire world, the car has an impact on social relations as a whole.

The crisis of 2009

The fall in car sales has been general in most countries. This exceptional synchronicity is the consequence of the global character of the economic crisis. The rapidity of the development of the crisis has also been exceptional. For a decade up until the autumn of 2008, the level of car sales varied with the conjuncture: stagnation in Western Europe, North America and Japan, growth in the rest of the word. The generalised fall only began in September 2008 and has spread to all continents in less than three months [1]. China has also been affected with a strong slowing up of the growth of previous years.

Country USA Germany France Italy Spain Japan China
Oct-Dec 2008 -35 % -10 % -15 % -13 % 40 % -20 % 2 %
Total 2008 -18 % -7 % -0.7 % -13 % -28 % -6 % +6.7 %

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