The blog is always grateful for good news, no matter the reason. Thus it welcomes March's rise in US auto sales to 850k from February's 615k (black line).
The driver for the rise was Toyota's (red line) record level of price discounts, as it aimed to overcome its disastrous sales slump after the quality problems. Its "incentive spending jumped 44%, or nearly $700 a vehicle, to $2,256". In addition, all returning customers (60% of its sales) "were given two years of free maintenance".
Other manufacturers were forced to respond, taking the average level of discount to $2800 per auto. GM offered the highest incentive of $3500.
But even so, the annualised sales rate was still only 11.8m, well below the 15m-17m range seen between 1995-2007. With each auto using $2973 of chemicals, according to the American Chemistry Council, this meant the market is currently worth just $35bn, versus its peak of over $50bn.