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This business will never be the same

The events of Sept. 11 will change the face of the United States permanently.

The lives of all Americans will be very different, and we must realize that we'll have to balance our own freedom with the security of the nation. It won't be an easy debate, but safety will not come without inconvenience and some loss of personal freedom.

Those of us who were in Germany for the Frankfurt motor show saw how quickly tough security went into effect after 3 p.m. local time on that fateful Tuesday, when news of the attacks spread through the show.

From now on it's not going to be business as usual. But by its nature, this global industry requires great mobility all over the world.

That won't end, but traveling will require a lot more time and a lot more money.

It will take longer to board every airline flight, particularly if a flight is going to another country. It probably will be equally difficult for private aircraft because of the lack of certainty about who the passengers are. When we were returning from Germany, we all saw those difficulties arise.

The industry will have a real problem with just-in-time manufacturing. Everyone wants to carry as little inventory as possible, but now it's more difficult to organize cross-border shipments to plants spread across a continent.

And for the short term, no one has any idea what will happen to the U.S. economy, which already was shaky. For the next few months, nothing will be an economic surprise. And yet no one is prepared for what could happen.

After Pearl Harbor, we had a war and Detroit stopped building cars for consumers.

This time we may have a war, but we won't stop building cars and trucks. We must continue to sell and service millions of cars a year in the United States.

It's back to business, but not business as usual. The automobile industry, particularly in the United States, will need to discover the new rules and then figure out how to live with them.

The recent terror will affect every business. It's time for all of us to learn and adjust because things will never be the same.

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