...BUT THANKS IN PART TO NAFTA, EXPORTS RACE AHEAD
If America's auto makers can solve their production problems, it should make more than their domestic customers happy. Economist William T. Wilson of Detroit's Comerica Bank points out that demand for U.S. vehicles in foreign countries has been soaring recently.
Motor vehicles and parts, notes Wilson, now account for over 11% of U.S. merchandise exports and are approaching 1% of gross domestic product. This year, exports of vehicles built in the U.S. and Canada by U.S. and Japanese companies are expected to total 529,000--up nearly 50% from 1993.
Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico has become the U.S. carmakers' fastest-growing market. "During the first quarter of this year," says Wilson, "the Big Three exported twice as many cars and trucks to Mexico as they did in all of 1993."GENE KORETZ