The headline says it all. If the leaders of the UK and its great mate the US don’t come up with immediate financial assistance the number in the headline could be the latest addition to the job loss figures in the British motor industry. The so called big 3 Ford, GM and Chrysler will attempt to convince the US congress that a rescue plan really is the only way to save the ailing giants and so reduce the affect of a global meltdown in the trade.
The losses experienced by these companies reach into several billions of pounds and will reverberate around the world. Ford are now desperately trying to offload its Volvo brand but unless the emerging new breed of motor manufacturers in China come to the party who else will be interested or capable of taking over a brand that customers will not be flocking to support in the current economic conditions?
British car leaders will again plead with business secretary Mandelson to allow them emergency funding from the central bank, but the £4bn needed to steer them through the crisis is not likely to be met totally or maybe even partially if the performance of this government is anything to go by.
The situation has not been helped by the overheating of the car market in the last few decades with car manufacturers sacrificing everything in its relentless drive for market share, at the expense of dealer autonomy and ever increasing prices putting massive pressure on the franchised network to deliver unrealistic sales targets.
Will this crisis lead to motor trade Armageddon and will we subsequently witness a new more sensible approach to car production, with eco-cars leading the way in terms of price and development?
Will the constant drain on certain manufacturers to relentlessly quench the thirst of the market for quick changes – where almost before a customer has had his first service he discovers that his car is out of fashion and pathetically de-valued – slow to a more manageable and realistic level?
Out of the ashes will there be a new breed of car maker who will embrace genuine partnerships with their franchise businesses and will this ultimately lead to consumers finally getting a great experience which justifies the investment expected of these businesses?
Most importantly will there be enough skilled, quality people left to deliver this service?
This is a very real threat and if 28,000 people do lose their jobs the simple truth is someone will go down in history as having stood by and let the trade die.