Automakers Must Hate This Chart

There are a lot of disruptions taking place in the auto industry. Uber, Lyft and many smaller regional competitors are driving taxi drivers crazy and have made it easier than ever to get around without owning a vehicle. Companies like Car2Go, Zipcar, (and BMW?) give consumers the freedom to drive while not having to worry about having car insurance or a car payment. Turo even makes it easy to rent out your car Airbnb-style which helps many owners make some money from their depreciating asset that usually goes unused 95% of the time. And on top of this a driverless revolution is seemingly on its way. This dire news (at least from the prospective of an auto company) leads us to our chart of the day which shows the amount of of money spent on motor vehicles as a percentage of disposable income and as a percentage of GDP. The good news is that in both cases these series are above 2008 lows. The bad news, however, is that the cyclical rebound looks like it may be over and spending on cars is topping out below prior cyclical lows in in 1970, 1974, 1980 and 2005. Whenever the next recession hits, its not hard to imagine 2008 lows being taken out.

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