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New Normal in Terms of Car Use

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As General Motors files for bankruptcy today, New York Times reporter Micheline Maynard is working on a bigger piece on the future of the car industry for the paper, and talks a little about her story (it's the audio link of the left, halfway down page). On the future of the auto companies: "There are two different schools of thought," she says. On the one hand, there are people in Detroit and elsewhere who think while the economy may have knocked out demand for cars, when the jobs return, so will the car customers. But there's another school of thought: "The market is changing...people came to the realization that it might not be a good idea to have three cars in their household....also, this whole issue of re-urbanization is very important..Toyota has identified 60 communities where people are moving from the suburbs back into the cities...so you may not need a car." Citing car-sharing company Zipcar as a model, she quote statistics from the company: For every three Zipcar customers, one Zipcar customer is opting to use the service rather than buy a car. In short, the auto industry will have to look at where they sell, what they sell, and how they sell, according to Maynard. Also, SUVs as suburban mom wagon? It's over. [NY Times]