AUTOS: Password for '78: 'Downsize'

Can Americans really be persuaded that less is more? The nation's automakers, who for years emphatically argued precisely the opposite, are now betting heavily the answer is yes. With the start of the annual model changeover period, they have begun a massive retooling effort in which they will spend a record amount, some $2.5 billion, to bring about the broadest changes since Detroit sprouted tail fins in the 1950s. Now the industry's favorite new verb is "downsizing," and the products that will begin appearing in showrooms in about eight weeks will define what that means: cars that are shorter,...

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