Despite the contractions it has suffered in recent years, the auto industry is still a hugely important economic engine (pun intended). I have many friends who work both inside the industry and in other related industries. The first thing I learned when I moved here was the enormous degree to which Motown’s main industry impacts other areas of the economy both here and abroad. Check out Research and Markets “Who Supplies Whom in the Auto Industry” www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c71562
It’s a pay-to-use site, but even the very brief and free market samples alone provide an insight into the auto industry’s incredible economic reach.
Which means that, conversely, other areas of the global economy have a huge impact on the auto industry. A prime example is oil prices, which are practically a local issue here in Detroit. So much so that the first thing I thought when I read Tuesday morning that oil had topped $87 a barrel, was the impact that this bad news was going to have on The Big Three.
The weird thing about covering this industry is that it always leaves me feeling like I need to take an anti-depressant to feel better…or a tranquilizer to sedate my euphoria.
Just when I begin feeling optimistic about the industry’s future, some buzz kill always rears its ugly head. Just when I start feeling depressed, some good news bubbles to the surface.
Take the past month for example. When General Motors, Chrysler and the UAW announced historic labor agreements after short strikes, I was buoyed by reports of how the deals would be a sorely-needed shot of adrenaline for the home team in its slugfest with Toyota. So I start mulling about ideas for cartoons on how the auto industry has begun to turn the corner.
But wait! Kurds and Turks begin rattling sabers on the other side of the globe and people start talking about the prospects of oil reaching $100 a barrel. So I draw my auto-industry-gets-more-bad-news cartoon.
BY MIKE THOMPSON