An auto summit is planned in Detroit today to address an anticipated plunge in vehicle sales in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

New car sales could fall 500,000 to 700,000 units short of earlier forecasts, warns J. Ferron of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Other analysts are downgrading their own earlier forecasts—which had run as high as 16.5 million for this year.

Automakers are slowly bringing production schedules back to normal as they adapt to the long lines facing factory parts trucks at Canadian and Mexican border crossings.

Dealers around the country report a sharp plunge in traffic this past week. Consequently, new production cuts seem likely.

Industry and government leaders will stage a Detroit summit today to respond to the potential crisis.

U.S. Secretaries Don Evans of Commerce and Elaine Chao of Labor will meet with GM CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford Chairman Bill Ford and Chrysler Group President Dieter Zetsche.

Also attending will be UAW President Steve Yokich and a number of senior executives from the industry’s supplier side.