Western Europe: Doing the Detroit Twist

Even Charles de Gaulle was there. Surrounded by security troops bristling with submachine guns, the French President last week strode through Paris' dazzling auto show. So did every other European who could possibly make it.

The focus of this year's show was on Europe's new breed of luxury compacts. Having already lured millions of Europeans into cars designed above all for economy, Europe's automakers are now copying Detroit in an effort to get their customers to trade up to more expensive cars. The bait is a whole new line of small cars that...

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