The climate has changed, and it's not a happy switch for the automotive industry. At the beginning of 1999 and at the beginning of 2000, industry analysts predicted record sales for the year. They were right both times.
This year, they're asking, 'How much will sales decline?' And they're probably on the right track again. No boom lasts forever, and this one seems to have run its course. But even if U.S. sales drop 8 percent this year, they would still top 16 million, and that has happened only three times in the industry's 105-year history.
Not too shabby for a down year.