The surprising strength of the first quarter has corporate economists stumped, says Van E. Jolissaint, the new corporate economist at DaimlerChrysler Corp. In an interview with Ward's, he says his colleagues at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have expressed the same surprise, as have representatives from the Federal Reserve. “They actually said to me on the phone, ‘Why is the industry so strong?’” he says. Everyone's best guess is incentives and lower interest rates make car buying ...

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