The book Two Billion Cars arrives in stores at the close of a quarter that has seen auto sales plummet 30, 40, even 50 percent, depending on the manufacturer. The Big Three went to Washington to plead for a handout (and Toyota has passed GM as the world’s biggest automaker, even though its sales are also in steep decline). One imagines that auto executives now view the title of this volume—the idea that the planet will soon double its auto fleet from the current billion—as an unlikely prayer.
If there were ever a book outdated by the pace of events, this is it. In the months between its writing and its publication, one development after another has upended the old consensus about cars, about energy, about global warming and about the economic future.