There is only one way out for South America’s troubled auto industry in 2004: expanding exports. Slumping economies, foundering car sales, rising taxes, fluctuating currencies, ballooning inflation, growing unemployment, political wrangling and crushing national debt have left a key survival year in tatters. Domestic auto makers since 1977 have invested $30 billion in Brazil, alone, in hopes consumers there would buy 3 million vehicles by 2003. Yet, the year’s production is ...

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