Running Low On Gas

Slow car sales and new Japanese "transplants" bring harder times for Detroit's automakers

When Chrysler announced early this month that it will close the aging Detroit plant where workers assemble the last of the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon models, the situation had ominous parallels to the calamitous early 1980s. Only six years after its fabled turnaround, here was Chrysler embattled again, posting losses on its North American operations for the first time since 1982. Amid persistent auto-industry speculation that Chrysler might be forced to merge with a foreign partner, here was Chairman Lee Iacocca declaring that for the company to survive, it must cut at least $1 billion, or $500 a car, from...

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