The year 1963 will go down in the record books as the industry best ever car-sales year, according to WAR. With 7,503,000 domestic-make and import units delivered through Dec. 11, the year has surged ahead of the industry’s prior full-year high of 7,460,000 cars sold in 1955. With sales of 7,130,000 through mid-December vs 7,408,000 units in entire 1955, domestic makes appear unlikely to reach a new record.

However, all-time high import deliveries are driving 1963’s industry sales record, a record already forecast to fall again in 1964.

Studebaker’s mid-December decision to permanently close its U.S. assembly plants by the end of the year means the end of the road for the sporty Avanti (tied up for several weeks by a strike at the car’s fiberglass body plant in Ashtabula, OH) and the venerable Hawk (a car that traces its origin in the racy ’53 Starlight/Starliner coupes designed by Raymond Lowey).

Only the compact Lark will remain in production at the company’s plant in Hamilton, ON, Canada, where the workforce will be increased to 1,200 from 700. 

Chrysler has selected a site in Flora Twp. in Boone County, IL, outside Belvedere, for its new assembly plant slated to build up to 960 Dodge and Plymouth cars daily. Land the company already owns in Sterling Twp., MI, has been chosen as the location for a new stamping facility.

The twin-plant announcement, WAR notes, is similar to one six years earlier, when Chrysler said it would build an assembly plant in Newark, DE, and a stamping facility in Twinsburg, OH.