Popular Cars May Be Bypassing U.S. Market

For years the secret to success in the automotive business was to penetrate the U.S. market. Automakers such as Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC), BMW (BMW:GR), and Mercedes-Benz (DAI) enjoyed plush revenues as their network of dealerships expanded across North America. So great was the market that automakers were willing to jump through U.S. regulatory hoops. They installed such devices as catalytic converters and introduced new models and engines—in some cases adapting right-hand-drive vehicles to offer left-hand drive. They kept production costs down and spent millions of marketing dollars to entice credit-happy American consumers.

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