Autos: The Global Six

Here's how the world auto industry will likely shake out: New economies of scale beef up the big boys, which gobble up less efficient parochial players. So who will be left?

It was a whirlwind first week on the job for Ford Motor Co.'s new CEO, Jacques Nasser. It began Sunday, Jan. 3, with rumors swirling in snowbound Detroit that cash-flush Ford was about to gobble up one of the world's big auto makers. By Tuesday morning, reporters were calling Nasser at home at 6 a.m. to inquire about a tantalizing but erroneous French radio report that Ford was taking over Honda Motor Co. "By Tuesday evening, we were supposed to be acquiring BMW, Honda, Volvo, Nissan--and there was someone else that I can't remember," quips Nasser.

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