Automakers, despite some on-going anxiety over transportation logistics (see p.5), last week bolstered the industry's already record-setting third quarter North American production plan by 2%, adding 68,800 cars and trucks to the July-September schedule to support the still-robust U.S. new vehicle market (see complete data p.6).

Third quarter output now stands at 4,087,700 units, up from 4,018,900 a month ago and 16.5% ahead of the 3,509,500 vehicles assembled in the same quarter last year. It's also nearly 500,000 units ahead of the prior record for the quarter of 3,593,575 posted in 1997.

Among the top three producers DaimlerChrysler Corp. cut its July-September plan by 2% (due mostly to extended plant downtime in Mexico) and General Motors Corp. increased its third-quarter program by 2%. Ford Motor Co. — despite voicing the greatest concern over the rail-car situation — increased its quarterly schedule by 2%.

Elsewhere, Toyota Motor Mfg. Inc. raised its third-quarter plan by 9% and Nissan North America Inc. hiked its slate by 2%. Thanks to increased Odyssey van output in Canada, Honda of America Mfg. Inc.'s third-quarter plan rose by 3.5%.