An optimistic 2009 production forecast for North America would have capacity utilization hovering near the 50.0% mark, compared with last year’s 66.2%. But as auto makers continue to pare production schedules in response to sluggish sales, capacity utilization, the ratio of output to capacity, likely could fall below 50%. Utilization identifies the amount of active capacity at an assembly plant and can be used as a long-term efficiency indicator. It also speaks to a factory’s potential ...

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