In recent weeks, economic growth in Japan has stumbled toward a stop and the nation’s redoubtable auto makers have been revealed as neither invincible nor inviolable. The Bank of Japan has taken another hard look at the economy and concluded growth will be zero in 2008 and nearly zero (0.5%) in 2009. And auto makers are forecasting falling global sales and sinking profits. “The global financial crisis has knocked Japan and Japanese auto makers sideways,” says Michael Wynn-Williams, ...

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