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Old 11-05-08, 01:44 AM   #1
chuwa
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Auto sales down, so cycling is up?

Auto sales plunge to near 25-year lows

US auto sales
General Motors - down 45%
Toyota - down 29%
Honda - down 25%
Nissan - down 33%

European auto sales
Spain - down 40%
Italy - down 19%

GM said this is the industry's worst month since the end of World War II.

Is this the beginning of a new cycling era?
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Old 11-05-08, 02:08 AM   #2
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Probably not; we're entering an era where mass transit and associated multi-modal transit becomes more coming. Somebody walks or rides the bus to the train station and continues to work from there. Cycling as an end to itself still doesn't seem that likely to be adopted by Americans who want more efficiency in their energy use, not to cut their energy use altogether.

Both regions that I pay attention to (my hometown, and where I live) look like they've passed some pretty ambitious rail packages. California's talking about a bullet train connecting San Diego, Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento, and the Bay Area... that's ambitious, and my bet says that it pays off.
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Old 11-05-08, 07:11 AM   #3
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All those people now not buying cars don't have jobs to ride to any more.
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Old 11-05-08, 07:29 AM   #4
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There's this thing called "used cars". Sales of used cars are not reported by manufacturers.
People will now (finally) be spending within their budgets.
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Old 11-05-08, 08:51 AM   #5
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Trade four wheels for two. Between my bicycle, motorcycle, shanks mare, and car pooling---plus cheaper gas---i have some spare cash that comes in handy.

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Old 11-05-08, 09:12 AM   #6
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Is this the beginning of a new cycling era?
What makes you think automobile sales are directly linked to whether people are cycling or not?

That said, in addition to used cars - as Hobartlemagne pointed out - there is such a thing as keeping your existing vehicle. Never saw the point in the wastefulness of dumping one's car after 2/3 years of use - unless it was giving considerable trouble.

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Old 11-05-08, 09:24 AM   #7
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Then there's people like me, who always buy used (really used) and then just run em into the ground.
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Old 11-05-08, 09:38 AM   #8
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Yeah I never understood buying a brand new car. It just doesn't make any sense!
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Old 11-05-08, 10:04 AM   #9
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It makes sense that car sales are down, people are realizing that they can drive their cars for longer despite of car companies releasing new models EVERY YEAR. Instead of spitting those cars every year and pumping the public with commercials, they are gonna focus more on supply and demand and hopefully on quality and new technology. They are gonna lose some jobs in the process and some companies are gonna go under, but it's their own fault. I don't know how this effects the cycling industry but I could imagine it's better now then ever before. Personally, I started riding to save on gas but it turned out to be much more then that. Actually I have spent a lot more on a bike, parts, and accessories then I'll ever save on gas. I did use a lot less gas though.

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Old 11-05-08, 10:28 AM   #10
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It makes sense that car sales are down, people are realizing that they can drive their cars for longer despite of car companies releasing new models EVERY YEAR. Instead of spitting those cars every year and pumping the public with commercials, they are gonna focus more on supply and demand and hopefully on quality and new technology. They are gonna lose some jobs in the process and some companies are gonna go under, but it's their own fault. I don't know how this effects the cycling industry but I could imagine it's better now then ever before. Personally, I started riding to save on gas but it turned out to be much more then that. Actually I have spent a lot more on a bike, parts, and accessories then I'll ever save on gas. I did use a lot less gas though.
Well if you give up your car all together, you will definitely be coming up. Insurance, plus whatever you can sell your car for will give you wealth beyond your most favorite dreams. Well maybe not. But you will at least be able to support your cycling habit, and have some cash left over.
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Old 11-05-08, 02:42 PM   #11
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Value for your $

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Then there's people like me, who always buy used (really used) and then just run em into the ground.
New cars are for suckers. Never bought a new car, ever. The one I own now ('87 Honda Accord) cost $4500, in '96. It's not insured at the moment and, when it is, I only use it for going out of town -- usually to cycle somewhere afar.

So, yeah, that's the most I ever spent on an infernal-combustion type vehicle.

My best bike: $8000.

Got my priorities in order.

Edit: I worked in the bike biz, until recently and can report that sales are very brisk, in both new bicycles and people upgrading their neglected bicycles, as they prepare to beat high gas prices by starting to commute.
It will be interesting to see the attrition rate there, now that gas prices are moderating once more. Of course, the long term trend will inevitably rise as peak oil and lack of investment kick in.

Last edited by Randochap; 11-05-08 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 11-05-08, 06:41 PM   #12
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I haven't bought a new car yet. I have had tremendous success in buying 3 used cars. I don't think I will buy new only for the reason of recalls, and the nice fact that you lose 20% the second you drive that thing off the lot.
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Old 11-05-08, 09:17 PM   #13
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New cars are indeed for suckers. My car belongs to my parents, which makes it free, but they bought it used some years ago. When I buy a car of my own, it's also going to be used. Let someone else pay the Lot Tax.
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Old 11-06-08, 06:12 AM   #14
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Yeah I never understood buying a brand new car. It just doesn't make any sense!
I buy a new car. But I also pay cash, buy what is needed and with the expectation that it will last 8-12 years.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:21 AM   #15
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think people are going to keep what they have longer or buy more used. hopefully people will start living within their means more. bicycle use will probably only increase with higher gas prices. As much as I enjoy being car free at then moment, I would like to have a car for spur of the moment trips. If I buy a car I will try to get a new one (have always bought used) and plan to keep it as long as possible.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:14 AM   #16
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Right now economic times are scary. So people hold off buying big ticket items. Most of the time, if your car is well maintained, you can stretch out its life for another few months or even few years with no hardship. I doubt that more than very few people are doing something radical like ditching the personal auto and relying on bicycles for transportation.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:19 AM   #17
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did anyone else notice that the title of this thread could be compared to the statement "gun sales down, so world peace is up?" that thought just popped into my head
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Old 11-09-08, 03:07 PM   #18
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I don't think there is nothing wrong in buying a new car. My current car is still the same car I have bought new, a 99 Maxima. I see all these new cars coming out with all this new technology, makes me want to go out and get one but the thought of the big monthly payments and with the current car being in great condition doesn't make it a justified purchase. I rather buy a Trek Madone! Now thats a justified purchase. Hehe
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Old 11-09-08, 06:50 PM   #19
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Probably not; we're entering an era where mass transit and associated multi-modal transit becomes more coming. Somebody walks or rides the bus to the train station and continues to work from there. Cycling as an end to itself still doesn't seem that likely to be adopted by Americans who want more efficiency in their energy use, not to cut their energy use altogether.

Both regions that I pay attention to (my hometown, and where I live) look like they've passed some pretty ambitious rail packages. California's talking about a bullet train connecting San Diego, Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento, and the Bay Area... that's ambitious, and my bet says that it pays off.

I agree with SavingHawaii. I think that much of the reduction in the use of personal automobiles came from conservative lifestyle changes.

Of course, most of us agree that bicycle use has increased significantly with the recent rise in gasoline prices.

As far as a high speed rail for California, I believe that it passed on the California ballot last week. Good for California. If any state needs it, it is California. I drove from San Fracisco to Los Angeles - the drive from hell! The highways are crowded the whole entire way. It is flat and as boring as Dick Cheney's hair-do. On the ride back, I suggested to my colleagues that we take a train so we can do some work instead dof 6 hours strapped into a chair listening to Mexican radio stations (which sounded cool, but none of us understood). They said that it would take almost two days to go by train. Surely, a high-speed rail would be excellent for California. They have the population density to justify it.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:56 PM   #20
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GM said this is the industry's worst month since the end of World War II.

Is this the beginning of a new cycling era?
No. It the era where people realize that their 4 yo car is just fine, no need to buy a new one. I think you're going to see a lot more 8-10 yo vehicles on the road.
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Old 11-09-08, 07:38 PM   #21
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Auto sales plunge to near 25-year lows

US auto sales
General Motors - down 45%
Toyota - down 29%
Honda - down 25%
Nissan - down 33%

European auto sales
Spain - down 40%
Italy - down 19%

GM said this is the industry's worst month since the end of World War II.

Is this the beginning of a new cycling era?
Auto sales were down due to the fact many banks could not finance loans once Wall Street crashed. Now that Washington poured billions into the market, people will start buying cars again.
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Old 11-09-08, 07:46 PM   #22
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Probably not; we're entering an era where mass transit and associated multi-modal transit becomes more coming. Somebody walks or rides the bus to the train station and continues to work from there.
Agreed.

We're going to see a rebirth of transit but motorbus and rail in the next 30 years. Once gas start becoming prohibitive, you'll see only rail based towns being constructed.

However, the though of spending billions on a high speed rail line is really a dream. California does not have this money unless Washington comes to the rescue. When you think about it, this who notion of hyper-mobility has got to come to and end. We cannot replace a costly freeway with a costly railway today. There's just no money for this. Jobs that require this kind of transport will not be in existance 75 years from today.

California should focus more on expanding freight railroad/Intermodal, Trolley and Lightrail service.
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Old 11-09-08, 10:22 PM   #23
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No. It the era where people realize that their 4 yo car is just fine, no need to buy a new one. I think you're going to see a lot more 8-10 yo vehicles on the road.

I agree with this post AND the posts that suggest people are buying imported cars with better mileage.

We bought a new car for the wife this summer when gas had exceeded $4.00/gallon. My wife would not even consider a USA made car. We didn't even bother to look at USA made cars on the lots, sadly.

My (USA made) car is ten years old. Tonight, my son said, "Dad, it might be time for you to buy a new car". I told him that as long as it is still running and reliable, we will continue to use it - especially since I only use it once every two weeks at the most.

Maybe other buyers have come to the same opinion as me that I am no longer going to buy a car for the simple fuzzy pleasure of buying a new car. Cars are just too damned expensive. I am in the mind-set now that an automobile is for function rather than fashion. I would rather save my money and get the warm and fuzzy feeling by putting my toes in warm sand somewhere.

Now that I have a bicycle trailer, I see myself using the bicycle even MORE for hauling stuff that I previously used the car to haul. 99% of what I carry (besides myself) is 100 lbs or less and can be carried in the bicycle trailer.

Last edited by mike; 11-09-08 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 11-09-08, 10:28 PM   #24
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Agreed.

We're going to see a rebirth of transit but motorbus and rail in the next 30 years. Once gas start becoming prohibitive, you'll see only rail based towns being constructed.

However, the though of spending billions on a high speed rail line is really a dream. California does not have this money unless Washington comes to the rescue. When you think about it, this who notion of hyper-mobility has got to come to and end. We cannot replace a costly freeway with a costly railway today. There's just no money for this. Jobs that require this kind of transport will not be in existance 75 years from today.

California should focus more on expanding freight railroad/Intermodal, Trolley and Lightrail service.
Well thought-out response, Dahon.Steve. I think that high speed rail could/should be used for both freight and passenger transport as it is in other countries (and the USA). There is no reason it can't be used for both.

I was on Hwy 5 last week which runs north/south in California. The right hand lane was one solid line of trucks for literally hundreds of miles; as far as the eye could see front and back. If you could have connected them bumper to bumper, you could have pulled them like a train. The left lane was passenger vehicles mostly with single drivers and no passengers. I bet I wasn't the only one wishing I could be on a train reading or doing work rather than driving.
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Old 11-15-08, 01:16 AM   #25
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Just pick up another related news form Financial Times :

Back in the saddle
Published: November 14 2008 09:19 | Last updated: November 14 2008 19:06
Four wheels bad, two wheels good. While carmakers have endured a month from hell – falling sales, no cash in the till – manufacturers of bicycles have their foot on the pedal. Share price charts display the sort of precipitous gradients that would have Lance Armstrong pausing for breath. Taiwan’s Giant Manufacturing, the world’s biggest bike manufacturer, has rallied 33 per cent from its month-ago low point. Merida, also from Taiwan, is up 24 per cent over a similar period.

Perhaps fittingly, bike and part makers are exhibiting some pretty old-fashioned behaviour. They are making more bikes – 130m last year, according to the Earth Policy Institute, compared with 52m cars – and doing so profitably. Japan’s Shimano, which exports nearly 90 per cent of its goods, lifted sales 12 per cent year on year in the first nine months of 2008 to $1.7bn, and operating profits 27 per cent. That is in spite of the strong yen, which has hammered Japanese carmakers’ profitability. Giant raised operating profits by almost half as much again, year on year, in the same period.

Nor is momentum running out. Lower metal prices should help eke out margins on mass-market bikes, while innovations are helping manufacturers stay ahead at the high end. Battery-powered bikes, for example, are proliferating on the streets of Japan and China, where more than 20m were sold in 2006.

Even though oil prices are falling, grotty public transport, tax breaks and political support for the green agenda are sustaining growth: David Cameron, the leader of the UK’s Conservative party is hardly the only opposition leader to make a great to-do of his two-wheeled commute. (Leaders of countries that actually make bikes seldom bother: when Chen Shui-bian, then Taiwanese president, tried cycling to work in 2001, the disruption left thousands of motorists fuming.) Indeed, Giant feels sufficiently confident to forecast order books into 2009. How many other industries offer that visibility?
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