North American auto makers produced 607,321 light vehicles in July, down 29.3% from like-2008 but marking the smallest year-on-year decline to date in 2009. Holiday shutdowns, changeovers and higher-than-expected demand sparked by the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” incentive program left manufacturers with depleted inventories at the end of July: 1.8 million cars and light trucks, the lowest count since 1983 and second lowest since at least 1975. July was the ninth straight month North ...

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