Facing challenges ranging from political upheaval in South America and withering consumer confidence in Japan, to a teetering U.S. market and the abolition of long-standing sales practices in Europe, auto makers in 2002 still delivered what analysts had thought impossible – a new vehicle production record. At the start, prognosticators put forth many reasons why the world auto industry would not perform as well in 2002 as it had in 2001 – when their predictions of a sharp decline in world ...

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