Panel examines impact of financial crisis on auto industry

The second panel in York University’s “Automobility” series, taking place today, will examine the changing political economy of the global automobile industry.

The panel, hosted by York’s Canadian Centre for German & European Studies (CCGES) and co-sponsored by the International Business Program of the Schulich School of Business, will feature Scott Paradise, VP marketing & business development, Magna International; Jim Stanford, economist for the Canadian Auto Workers Union and York University political science Professor Greg Chin, author of China’s Automotive Modernization: The Party-State and Multinational Corporations (Palgrave, 2010).

Left: The Hyundai automobile assembly line

Panellists will focus on the state of the world’s automotive and light truck manufacturers in the wake of the global financial crisis: In the United States and Canada, governments stepped in to become majority owners of General Motors, while management of Chrysler was assumed by Italian-based automaker Fiat. In Europe, governments provided incentives to keep consumer demand up and the largest German car company, Volkswagen, began producing vehicles in North America for the first time since the 1970s. Mexico continues to increase its lead over Canada in terms of vehicle production. The same period saw China grow into the world’s largest auto market, with sales of 18 million vehicles, an increase of 32 per cent over 2009. The panel will explore these and other developments, and their ramifications for the global auto manufacturing sector.

Organized by CCGES affiliates Professor Roger Keil, director of York’s City Institute and Professor Emeritus Bernie Wolf of York’s Schulich School of Business, the series aims to shed light on major shifts in the auto industry and society’s relationship to it.

Peter McIsaac, director of CCGES, noted that the centre is well-positioned to look at this important theme from a variety of angles. “The importance of the automotive industry to the economies of the industrialized world can’t be overestimated, but it’s clearly a mistake to view this sector and its prospects in a monolithic way. The panel will consider the situation in a variety of regions and jurisdictions so that a useful overview of the current situation and future prospects emerges,” he said.

The event will run from 4:30 to 6:30pm on the seventh floor of the York Research Tower, Keele campus.

A full report on the first panel in the series is available online. Panels are open to the public. Attendees are asked to register in advance at For more information, visit the CCGES website or phone ext. 40003.