Four weeks ago, our world was on the edge. Since then, optimists have been denying the presumed contagion from Wall Street to Main Street; pointing out that many great companies, after all, were born in a depression; and generally poking fun at the doomsayers.
It is true that we’re not hoarding potatoes in our cellars, stocking up on candles, queuing up outside food stores with black-market ration cards, and other symptoms of a wartime economy. Yes, homeless shelters and soup kitchens do have more patrons. But we, the rest of us, most of us really, haven’t entirely stopped brushing our teeth in the morning, going to work, dining out, watching a movie now and then, and generally going about our lives.
Yet, try reassuring the poor souls at Volvo’s heavy trucks division. As reported by The Economist:
Volvo wins the prize for statistic of the crunch to date. The Swedish firm said it had received a mere 115 orders for heavy trucks in Europe in the third quarter, down by 99.7% on the 41,970 order bookings during the same period of 2007.
It may be temporary, and it may be reversible: yet, if this isn’t called, at least for one industry and one company, “falling off a cliff”, I don’t know what is.