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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 133, September 1998
1998 Auto Outlook Symposium — The Urge to Merge?

Light vehicle sales for 1994–97 were 15.0 million, 14.7 million, 15.0 million and 15.1 million units, respectively. This relative stability in sales over four consecutive years is unprecedented for the auto industry. The light vehicle sales rate for 1997 was the highest yearly rate for the current expansion that began in 1991. With light vehicle sales of 15.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 1997 and 15.0 million units in the first quarter of 1998, it appeared that the sales pace of 15 million units would hold for quite a while. However, the selling pace in April and May, supported by heavy price incentive programs, increased substantially to 15.4 and 16.2 million units, respectively. On June 5, 1998, shortly after these numbers were reported, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its fifth annual Auto Outlook Symposium.

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Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413, USA. Tel. (312) 322-5322

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