Prognosticators last year were looking for the U.S. auto industry to slow in the wake of the ongoing housing-market crisis, yet despite the gloomy forecasts light-vehicle deliveries finished 2007 at a healthy 16.1 million. Today, analysts are having a hard time being pessimistic enough, with sales tumbling at an alarming rate during the final stretch of 2008. October’s U.S. passenger-car and light-truck sales finished just under 835,000 units, the lowest total since January 1991. That ...

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