AUTOS: Widening Beachhead

For U.S. automakers, the combination of inflation, recession and energy crisis has spelled sales disaster. For sellers of imported cars, the same combination spells bonanza. By capitalizing on the fuel-saving appeal of their lightweight autos, many importers are broadening their beachhead on the American market to almost its widest point since the first boatloads of Volkswagens rolled ashore in the early 1950s.

Indeed, sales of imported cars are rising even more rapidly than sales of the Detroit makes are plunging. So far in 1975, foreign-car sales in the U.S. are running more than...

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