Business: Auto Surge

Surprising sales in May

Not so many weeks ago, when car sales were running like a dry creek, General Motors Chairman Thomas Aquinas Murphy told shareholders that he was sticking to his earlier forecast of a record year. In 1978, he confidently predicted, 15.5 million cars and trucks would be delivered, topping the 1973 record of 14.45 million.

Most other automen scoffed, but Murphy's optimism is being borne out. Sales of U.S. and foreign cars jumped 6% in May, to a 12.2 million annual rate, and trucks advanced 19%, to 4.3 million. That hot pace will not continue when the industry shuts down...

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