It's a depressing time for the car companies

THE announcement of the December sales figures of cars in the United States have sent shivers down the spine of the automobile industry. For some time analysts have been saying that there are too many car companies producing too many cars but the industry has seemed to be unaffected. But the December figures reveal that General Motors sales dropped 15.3% not long after the Ford Motor Company revealed that its vehicle sales had dropped 14.1%.

There is increasing talk of a recession in the United States and if this occurs there will inevitably be an effect on the supply of Formula 1 sponsorship income as firms will be less keen to invest in the sport in case the money is needed elsewhere.

In Europe Toyota is to increase production by 30% at its Burnaston factory in England in an effort to cut losses by maximizing production. Toyota is trying to minimize losses from the plant but is hobbled by Britain's refusal to switch to the European currency. Continuing refusal by the British to switch to the Euro has already led to closures of British automobile factories. In France, however, where consumer confidence is higher Citroen has just reported record sales for 2000 with a 13.2% increase over 1999, despite a declining European car market. The news came the day after Renault announced that its new cars sales were down in 2000.

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