Collection: Warren Buffett - #112 Investing 'Auto Industry'


Video Link: https://youtu.be/XtIGMoHKxRc


In this episode, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger were asked on whether they have any interest in investing in the auto industry? And if not interested now, what would change their mind about this industry in the future?


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What is Warren Buffett comment on the auto industry.

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[Transcript]

(Source: https://buffett.cnbc.com/video/1998/05/04/afternoon-session---1998-berkshire-hathaway-annual-meeting.html)

~ Please visit the site above for full video of Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 00:09

Good afternoon, Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger.


I was kind of curious if you could tell me, do you know or can you tell us how much business Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheims did this weekend?


And secondly, do you have any interest in investing in the auto industry? And if not interested now, what would change your mind about this industry in the future?


WARREN BUFFETT 00:35

Well, the first question, I don’t know what the Mart did but I do know they had a lot of shareholders there. Got a verbal report on that.


There would be less change in their normal — they do — you know, you’re talking about a company that — at the Mart — that does $800,000 a day on average. It is a big operation.


So our shareholders have an impact, but not the relative impact that they would have at Borsheims.


Borsheims did over twice as much this year as last year, and they had a big day. (Laughter)


And what was the other question, Charlie?


AUDIENCE MEMBER 01:17

— industry. The auto industry.


WARREN BUFFETT 01:19

Oh, the auto industry. Yeah, Charlie was big in General Motors in the mid-’60s, right Charlie? It was your biggest commitment?


CHARLIE MUNGER 01:26

I had a temporary delusion. (Laughter) Luckily, it passed.


WARREN BUFFETT 01:33

Yeah. No, he made money on it.


CHARLIE MUNGER 01:36

Yes, I did.


WARREN BUFFETT 01:38

We — it’s the kind of industry that’s — it’s interesting for us to follow. I mean, many years ago it was the dominant factor — or overwhelming factor — in the economy. It’s diminished a fair amount but it’s still a very important industry.


And it’s the kind of industry that anyone can follow. I mean, you have experience with the product and competing products, and you — everyone in this room understands in a general way the economic nature of the industry.


But we’ve never felt that we understood it better than other people. So we’ve seen auto companies at very low multiples sometimes and with prices that in hindsight looked very attractive, but we never really felt that we knew who among the auto companies five years from now would have gained the most ground relative to where they are now, or that gained the most ground relative to what the market might expect. It just isn’t given to us, that knowledge. Charlie?


CHARLIE MUNGER 02:41

I agree.


WARREN BUFFETT 02:43

Area two.

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