The Great Recession that gripped the North American auto industry in 2008 and 2009 has ended, so it’s time to crack open the corporate pocketbook and invest in the future, right? If only it were that easy. Even before the downturn, automakers and suppliers at all levels knew the industry had too much manufacturing capacity and took steps to rationalize. Dozens of bankruptcies, including those of General Motors and Chrysler, were resolved with plant closings and headcount reductions, ...

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