Detroit Could Use An Air Bag ItselfJames B. Treece
Prepare for the worst. That's the auto industry's strategy for 1991. U. S. sales of new cars and trucks may fall only 4%, to 13.5 million vehicles. But that's down 17% from the 16.3 million vehicles sold in 1986, the last peak year. That five-year slide has provided time to adjust to lower volume. But the carmakers are starting to recall the old joke about jumping out a fifth-story window: The first four floors aren't so terrible, then comes the crash. The only way they may avoid one is if lower interest rates and a resolution of the Mideast crisis restore consumer confidence.
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