Cars: The Love Affair Is Over
By Micheline Maynard
In January 2013, more than 5,000 journalists from 62 countries poured into Cobo Convention Center in Detroit, as they do every year, for the North American International Auto Show. They rubbed shoulders with colleagues from Car and Driver, which prints 1.2 million copies a month, shared by its nearly 10 million readers.
Spread among them were some of the 19 editors, writers, and reviewers from The New York Times’ Wheels section, and the 25 who cover the industry worldwide for Bloomberg News, including seven stationed in Detroit. Based on the media attention, it might have been 1960, when America’s Big Three automakers dominated the industry with a 90-percent market share. And four years after his administration’s $82-billion rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, President Obama is still touting the bailout as a signature economic accomplishment. “We saved the American auto industry,” Obama declared in a speech in September.
But the industry that Obama saved, and that all those journalists cover, has been shrinking from its dominant place in American life for nearly a decade, even though that reality has yet to really sink in.
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