Business: More Dieting in Detroit

The squeeze of 79: downsizing spreads to the big cars

"In 1959 we designed what we thought would sell. Today the primary design objective is to suit the law."

So says Richard G. Macadam, design vice president for Chrysler, echoing a lament made by many U.S. automen. The 1979 models that are now popping up in showrooms are geared as much to beating a legal deadline as they are to cruising smoothly down an Interstate. Congress has said Detroit must increase the average fuel-efficiency of its cars in steps to 27.5 m.p.g. by 1985, and...

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