A Glimmer off Hope in Detroit

Sales accelerate, but the automakers still have a long way back

Of all the tonics that would help revive the sagging U.S. economy, few would be more potent than a turnaround for the long-depressed American auto industry. For that reason, the news out of Detroit last week was especially encouraging. The automakers announced that May sales of American-built cars surged 11% from the same period a year ago.

The figures stirred hopes that the auto industry, which has lost nearly $6 billion since 1979 and laid off roughly 250,000 workers, may be poised, at last,...

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