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Designated Diver

How bad could the car market be? According to a recent New York Times article, “Dismal Year Is Forecast for Car Sales,” the answer is: worse than we thought.

Common sense told us that the current economic downturn would cause car sales to take a dive. Now the numbers are starting to trickle in, and the Big Three American automakers are corroborating the stories we’ve heard about a lack of consumer confidence. People simply aren’t buying cars.

In addition to the low numbers reported so far this year, the auto industry has weathered labor disputes, and metalcasters have seen work stoppages as a result. But what we haven’t seen, judging by Bill Vlasic’s reporting, is the bottom of this fall.

Even carmakers’ conservative estimates at the outset of the year were too high, Vlasic writes, citing industry forecasters that have cut their estimates to fewer than 15.5 million vehicle sales in 2008.

Vlasic consoles his audience with the notion that incentives for car buyers should be plentiful, but this will be little consolation for an audience of metalcasters, even those who don’t serve the automotive industry.