Business: New Driver for The Laggard

Fast start, but not for AMC

While publicly professing their usual optimism, Detroit automakers for the past few weeks have been holding their breath. Their $6 billion investment in retooling for new models that have been sharply reduced in size and weight (TIME, Aug. 1) represented a gamble: Would the public like the smaller "big" cars? Last week the carmakers could relax a bit and repeat previous predictions of near record sales during the 1978 model-year with more conviction. New-car sales for the first 20 days of October—during which time most of the new models were in the showrooms—jumped...

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