Let's Make A Deal

Last September, Irvine (Calif.) car dealer John B.T. Campbell III had to beg Detroit to send him more vehicles. Even on overtime, auto makers couldn't keep up with runaway demand. Fast-forward a few months. Interest rates surged, confidence flagged, and in January, the bottom fell out. "All of a sudden, we were buried in cars," Campbell says. "I told Ford: Don't even think of sending us a single car for 90 days."

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