I remember when Nixon resigned, where I was when I learned of the first Space Shuffle disaster, and my shock and disbelief when I saw the pictures of the Twin Tower burning (I turned on the TV only after the 1st one had already fallen) and now we have China passing the US in auto sales (NY Times 1/08/10). OK, maybe this is not as important as some other events, but in the operations management world, it is a biggie…. or is it?
China sold 13.5 million vehicles (including 650,000 heavy trucks) whereas the US sold 10.4 million, the lowest level in 27 years. I suspect the US will be able to regain that title in the next year or two as our market rebounds to the old/normal levels, but that will only be a temporary “victory”. However, we probably will “own” the “number of autos per capita” stat for a long time, and I am sure that the total carbon emmission of our 10.4 vehicles swamps the carbon output of China’s 13.5 million. So there is hope for those who need to feel good via stats.
In the end, the most important part of this news item is that if you want to be a world player in the auto industry, then you better be a player in China.