Do you think misery really enjoys company?
Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries, which builds Subarus, has joined General Motors and Ford Motor Co. in junk bond purgatory after Standard & Poor's dropped the rating on Fuji's long-term debt to BB+ from BBB-, which is the lowest investment grade.
The reasons sounded familiar: Profits and cash flow have been hit by disappointing sales volumes; Subaru is dependent on too few models; and competitors are ready to eat Subaru's lunch.
That will be tough for Subaru execs and their dealers to swallow just as they're launching the relatively stylish B9 Tribeca, a sport wagon thingamabob that looks like it might have more appeal than most Subaru models.
Even though it's a Japanese company that tumbled in with them, I'll bet there isn't any glee at GM or Ford.
Don't forget that GM owns 20 percent of Fuji and depends on versions of quirky Subaru platforms to become niche models for Saab, the quirky Swedish brand. And Ford has its own issues after it disclosed Tuesday that profits for the year aren't likely to top $2.3 billion. In a profit warning just two months ago, Ford had lowered the profit ceiling to $2.76 billion. (Hey, at least Ford expects some profit.)
There is some good news from S&P. The ratings agency said it considers Fuji's situation to be stable. Yippee. And for the time being, the agency won't drop Ford's bond rating from BB+.
But of course that silver lining has a cloud because S&P said there is an increased likelihood it ultimately will whack Ford's rating again.
Those S&P guys are tough, aren't they?
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at