How quickly things can change. It wasn't long ago that Toyota
On Thursday, Toyota announced that its earnings for the most recent quarter had slumped by 28.1%, to $3.23 billion. At the same time, with activity retreating rapidly in the U.S. and Europe, its sales were down 4.7% in the quarter. And with U.S. sales falling by an additional 11.9% in July, the prospects for a pickup in this country don't appear good.
In fact, the term "pickup" could be the major culprit here. In recent years, the company has pushed its progressively larger Tundra pickup, which in retrospect wasn't wise. I was wandering aimlessly in my local Toyota dealer's showroom earlier this week, and came upon a bright red, full-throated Tundra with a sticker promising that the vehicle would not drink more than a gallon of gasoline for every 13 miles I drove it. Only recently has the company decided to slash the production of Tundras in the U.S. in favor of initiating the manufacture of the hybrid Prius here.
But things could be worse for Toyota. Unlike Ford
While Toyota is tooling up for increased Prius production, its Japanese neighbor Nissan
So the world is changing rapidly Fools, and our vaunted "wheels" are likely to become radically different in the years ahead. For now, things are generally in disarray, and that's a good reason not to pick up automaker shares for now.
Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He does welcome your comments or questions. Nissan is a Motley Fool Global Gains stock recommendation. The Motley Fool has a well-tuned disclosure policy.