Slippery Roads

Japanese autos invade Europe

The plight of the European auto industry sounds all too familiar to depressed American carmakers. Sales in 1980 declined an estimated 12%, while Japanese imports climbed nearly 30%. Thousands of workers were laid off or had their hours cut back last year, and losses by major car manufacturers are staggering. France's Peugeot S.A. lost an estimated $33 million in 1980, and BL Ltd. (formerly British Leyland), maker of Triumph and Jaguar, ran $960 million in the red. In fact, BL Ltd.'s very existence depends on its receiving $2 billion in government aid to help pay for development and...

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