Fortunes of Auto Industry

July 27, 1966

Report Outline
Automobiles and the National Economy
Rise of Automobiles in American Life
Internal Problems of the Auto Industry
Special Focus

Automobiles and the National Economy

Popular interest already building up in the 1967 model automobiles, to be introduced late this summer or early in the autumn, shows that the motor car has lost none of its fascination for the American public. Automobiles, in fact, occupy a central place in the nation's life. More than 75 million passenger cars are registered in the United States today. Four of every five households own one automobile, and nearly one of every four families owns two or more cars. Automobile production accounts for one-fifth of the country's entire durable goods production. One of every seven American workers depends on the automotive industry in one way or another for his livelihood.

It is thus not surprising that the fortunes of the industry may well have a good deal to do with whether the nation, in the months ahead, enjoys continued prosperity or enters a period of business recession. Despite the industry's dominant position in the economy—or perhaps because of it—auto manufacturers have lately found themselves under heavy fire from legislators, safety engineers, sociologists, city planners, and air pollution experts. Detroit has been made aware that its response to the challenges from those quarters must go beyond the mere styling changes that mark the annual introduction of new models to an eager public.

Prospective Changes in the 1967 Auto Models

At one time, it was thought that a good auto sales year borrowed something from the following year. Starting in 1962, however, passenger car sales annually exceeded those of the preceding year until 1966, and total sales in the present calendar year are expected to be larger than in any other year in automotive history with the sole exception of 1965. Industry management and economists, moreover, believe that 1967 will be almost as good a sales year as 1966. Sales of 1967 models are scheduled to get under way by the end of the coming September, about two or three weeks earlier than last year.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 23, 1979  Auto Research and Regulation
Apr. 28, 1978  Automotive Safety
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Apr. 18, 1973  Auto Emission Controls
Jan. 13, 1971  Auto Insurance Reform
Jul. 27, 1966  Fortunes of Auto Industry
Jun. 04, 1965  Automobile Safety
Jul. 10, 1964  Automobile Insurance and Traffic Safety
Nov. 19, 1958  Small Cars
Apr. 17, 1957  Better Driving
Jul. 01, 1954  Competition in Automobiles
Mar. 23, 1954  Automobile Liability Insurance
Dec. 24, 1952  Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies
Aug. 21, 1945  Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
Sep. 02, 1938  The Market for Automobiles
Oct. 26, 1932  Outlook for the Automobile Industry
Dec. 10, 1929  Condition of the Automobile Industry
Jan. 30, 1928  Automobile Fatalities and Compulsory Insurance
Dec. 10, 1927  The Status of the Automobile Trade
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Motor Vehicle Industry