Business: Detroit's Road Is Still Rocky

Big sticker prices and sky-high interest rates strangle sales

Detroit's auto executives have hoped for months that the arrival of new fuel-efficient small cars in dealers' showrooms this fall would end the industry's nearly two-year-long sales slump. So far, that has not happened. Sales of U.S.-made cars in November declined 8.3% from 1979's depressed levels, and they were down 17% for the month's final ten days.

The automakers' hopes for a sales surge have been dashed against the rocks of high sticker prices and staggering interest rates. Only five years ago, $5,000 would have...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!