AUTOS: Compacts in High Gear

Crowding the freeways, chug-a-lugging ever costlier gasoline, the standard-sized (which is to say, huge) U.S. car becomes a little less appropriate every day. Though new car sales generally have dipped about 20% below last year's totals for the past two ten-day periods, compact and subcompact sales are up more than 20%. Latest figures show that their share of the U.S. market has increased from 22% only four years ago to 40% now. Ford Motor Co. Chairman Henry Ford predicts that small cars will soon take 50% of the market.

Six out of ten...

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