A Letter From The Publisher, Sep. 8, 1980

"I started reporting on the automobile industry the day I arrived here," says Detroit Bureau Chief Barrett Seaman, "and I won't stop until the day I leave. Such is the lot of Detroit bureau chiefs." Seaman was posted to Detroit two years ago. Since then TIME has devoted 61 stories to the troubled automobile makers. For this week's cover story on the present plight and future prospects of the nation's most important industry, Seaman could draw on familiar sources, including the top executives of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. One whom he knows...

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