Nation: At Car Dealers Small Is All

Slumping sales hit big cars

Few industries have been so immediately and painfully dented by the oil crunch as U.S. automaking. Mainly because of scarce gas and exploding prices, car sales have skidded from an annual rate of about 12 million units in March to roughly 10 million today, a drop of 26% from last year's record mid-June pace. A main contributor to the slump is buyers' snubbing of luxury and even standard models, while the demand for fuel-thrifty small cars is far outstripping Detroit's ability to produce them. Buyers are increasingly turning to Toyotas, Volkswagens and other economically operated foreign makes,...

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