The New York Times reports that Toyota expects its first loss in 70 years:
On Monday, Toyota said it expected an operating loss in its auto operations of 150 billion yen, or $1.7 billion, for the fiscal year ending March 31. That would be the company’s first annual operating loss since 1938, a year after the company was founded, and a huge reversal from the 2.3 trillion yen, or $28 billion, in operating profit earned last year.
Analysts said Toyota’s downward revision, its second in two months, showed that the worst financial crisis since the Depression was threatening not just the Big Three but also even relatively healthy automakers in Japan, South Korea and Europe. Many other companies will also soon be reporting losses.
. . . “It is just a matter of time before all major automakers are losing money,” an auto analyst in Tokyo for Credit Suisse Securities, Koji Endo, said. “And things will just get worse next year, when companies start losing money for the second consecutive year.”
. . . “The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years,” Toyota’s president, Katsuaki Watanabe, told a news conference in Nagoya, Japan, near the company’s Toyota City headquarters. “We are facing an unprecedented emergency.”
. . . The biggest drops have come in the United States, traditionally the Japanese companies’ most profitable market. After years of increasing market share at Detroit’s expense, sales at Japanese companies are sharply lower. In November, Toyota’s sales dropped 33.9 percent and Honda Motor’s 31.6 percent, both faring slightly better than G.M., which had a 41 percent decline.
The Big Three are in much worse shape than Toyota, and that's on them, but the current economic crisis is a force majeure. This is no time to base policy on ideology or antipathy for the UAW.