Toyota Idling

Toyota’s planning to let its plants go idle for a while in February and March in recognition of the fact that worldwide demand for cars has fallen through the floor.

This is the conceptual problem with efforts to “save” the car industry through bailouts or union busting or whatever you like. One assumes demand for cars will get higher than it is right now, but the industry has a whole just has more capacity to build cars than there is demand for new cars. Which is fine. When you look across the developed world and try to take stock of the medium- and long-run problems facing the OECD nations there’s just no way you’re going to reach the conclusion that an automobile shortage is a big concern. But obviously it’s not fine for the companies that make cars. There’s going to be a need for some shrinkage.