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US Auto Sales Headed for Crash


A global marketing firm says 2009 will be another grim year for the auto industry, predicting U.S. auto sales will plunge by 13 percent.

U.S.-based J.D. Power and Associates said Tuesday that American consumers will only buy about 11 million vehicles this year, down from 13 million in 2008.

The firm's president Finnbarr O'Neill says, as a result, one of the major U.S. car companies will not survive.

America's two biggest car companies are not feeling optimistic despite unveiling several hybrids and electric cars this week at the International Auto Show in Detroit.

In separate interviews with Bloomberg news, Ford says its car sales could slide as much as nine percent in the coming year, while General Motors warns it is having trouble selling small, fuel-efficient cars because gas prices have fallen.

Earlier Tuesday, the governor of Michigan called on the U.S. government to invest more money to help develop cheaper fuel-efficient technologies.

Struggling auto sales have also sparked concern in Germany. As part of its almost $66 billion economic stimulus package, Germany is offering one-time payments to consumers who buy new, environmentally-friendly cars.

Also Tuesday, workers at a General Motors plant in Brazil staged a brief protest, after the company announced it was eliminating more than 700 jobs.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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