Seasoned journalists know that if you really want the skinny on an automakers financial health, you don’t talk to Wall Street or the CEO, you check out the size of the shrimp at the annual media Christmas party. If a company is looking forward to a year of fat profits, it lays out a big spread of giant shrimp for the press. If the financial outlook is unimpressive, so are the shrimp. This year’s crustacean economic indicators show a downward trend at GM and Chrysler. At Toyota’s press ...

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