Wow, 2008 was a rough one. The broken connecting rod of bad loans punched a gaping hole straight through the engine block of the global economy. Across the board, carmakers’ sales plummeted by 30 to 40 percent, affecting any business even remotely connected to the auto industry.
From the bankruptcy of aftermarket companies like Trust/GReddy to the utter collapse of magazines like Sport Compact Car and Turbo, no one was left untouched. We at JNC are feeling the crunch too, as potential advertisers slash their budgets.
Detroit was hit the hardest, but Japanese companies are feeling the crunch as well. Upcoming supercars like the NSX have been killed as Honda pulled out of F1, and Subaru withdrew from WRC. Even Toyota, a long-time bellwether for the world economy, went from a $28 billion profit in 2007 to a $1.7 billion loss, causing a delay in their return to affordable, lightweight RWD cars.
But hey, look on the bright side. Japanese Nostalgic Car launched a print magazine in April. Yes, it was probably the worst time in history to launch a new magazine, but we’re still working hard to give vintage J-tin some cred in the world of classic cars.
This year was also Subaru’s 50th anniversary and Subaru USA’s 40th. Nissan USA also celebrated its 50th birthday, though it did precious little to acknowledge it. But what else is new? At least they recognized their roots when it came to the new 370Z. Honda’s Super Cub also celebrated a half century and an incredible 60 million units sold making it the best selling vehicle of all time.
Anyway, as you gaze upon fireworks exploding above Tokyo’s legendary wangan expressway, remember this: at least there’s 2009! Happy New Year!