STATE OF BUSINESS: Necessary Realism

"Two months ago, we were very optimistic," said Seattle Chrysler Dealer Carl A. Hahn. "Today—well, we're just optimistic." Across the U.S. last week, dealer after dealer echoed Hahn's words. Despite continuing forecasts for 6,700,000 cars in 1957 and a 10% jump over 1956, some disturbing omens were cropping up; autos were not off to the sizzling start everyone expected. Noted Ward's Auto Reports: "Some of the tremendous optimism may now have been sprinkled with necessary realism."

Losing Ground. The realism was already apparent in the production figures. In December the industry fell 85,000 units behind December 1955's pace of 682,000 cars....

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