Temas Especiales

28 de Oct de 2020


Auto business in Panama just fine

While the heads of the “Big three” U.S. automakers grovel in front of lawmakers in Washington, begging for billions of dollars to cover ...

While the heads of the “Big three” U.S. automakers grovel in front of lawmakers in Washington, begging for billions of dollars to cover their past mistakes, car dealers in Panama can rejoice in the fact that sales in the first nine months of 2008 have been UP. Of course most of the sales have been Japanese and European cars which way back showed the way to the world in producing smaller more efficient, and rust proofed vehicles.

Yes they also joined the North American addiction to bigger is better, in the last few years, with their production of gas guzzling SUVs, but the smaller models were still there, and outselling the American competition.

“Build them and they will come” was the mantra in motor city. But they overbuilt, and had to drop prices, and profitability went out of the door.

Until the end of September 32,733 cars were sold in Panama, nearly 4,000 more than in the same period in 2007. The biggest sellers were Japanese and Korean. The downside is the increasing traffic congestion and the desire of so many purchasers to show their wealth by the size of their vehicle.

But hold on, in California, keeping up with the Joneses means being one of the first on the block to sport a hybrid, or an electric car (Japanese made of course). They cost more, and are smaller, but hey, you have to give up something to stay ahead of the pack.

Look out for some SUV re-sale bargains in Panama next year, when the new status symbols hit the market.

SANTA CLAUS. Embattled President Martin Torrijos has started the month off on a good note, after a period where nothing seemed to be going right. News that the Panama-Canadian FTA (Free Trade Agreement) is moving ahead at high speed, should give him a boost in the opinion ratings. Who would have thought that Canada, lingering in the economic shadow of neighboring U.S.A., could fast track an agreement, while the deal with the U.S. that has been log jammed in Washington, and now, under the new administration, may never be revived?

Add the news that the president has told citizens that their electricity bills are going down and that gasoline prices have been cut again (enabling us to add to the Christmas traffic snarl), and it’s beginning to look like Santa Claus Torrijos. A nice coincidence as Santa’s home is said to be somewhere up there in Canada’s frozen north.

MISSING from the ex-pat scene this weekend: Joe Logan who was rushed to the ICU at the National Hospital. Joe, a former airline pilot who chose Panama over all for his retirement, is better known as “Gringo” Joe. Both the rental unit he built on Isla Grande and the boat he used to ferry building materials to the island, proudly display the name. He is known in that community for his donation of materials and labor for a new foot bridge, after the collapse of the original structure.

At the time of writing, he was awaiting transfer to the United States. The many friends of the gregarious and sometimes irascible, but always generous, icon of “The Club” are awaiting his early return.

FOOTNOTE. Eagerly anticipating Lemonaid’s views on the auto bailout.