'Car Bubble' Blows Up on Automakers

Sales were artificially high in boom years; rebound unlikely
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Apr 3, 2009 10:01 AM CDT
An empty lot is shown at Fremont Pontiac GMC in Newark, Calif., Tuesday, March 3, 2009. The dealership closed due to economic conditions earlier this year.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – The housing boom brought a car bubble along for the ride, and now that one has burst, so has the other, reports the Washington Post. Thousands of cars are sitting on lots and likely to stay there. “You had a huge number of cars being sold," says Steven Rattner, the head of President Obama’s auto industry team. “So I don't think it is prudent to assume the sale levels are going back to those levels.”

Annual car sales in the US recently topped 16 million. This year they’re likely to fall below 10 million. A main task in restructuring the industry is figuring what would be a sustainable level of annual sales. In the meantime, Toyota has leased a cargo ship to hold 2,500 unsold cars that it needs to park somewhere.