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1948 Auto Production To Be Best Since 1929

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

1948 Auto Production To Be Best Since 1929

The Gazette, Montreal
9 October 1948

Detroit, Oct. 8.—(AP)—Temporarily at least the automobile industry is back in high volume operation.

Barring unexpected labor or materials shortages it will turn out more than half a million cars and trucks this month. It hasn't attained that volume since the summer of 1941.

Last week the factories built more than 88,000 passenger cars and about 26,000 trucks. The total, among the highest for a single week's operation so far this year, was made possible by the return of Chrysler and Packard to full production and substantial gains by other manufacturers. Chrysler and Packard were able to resume full volume by settlement of the strike that tied up the plants of their car body supplier.

Right now there are no indications of any more serious interruptions to automobile output during the remainder of the year. If none develops the year's output is certain to go above the 5,000,000 unit mark.

Ward's Automotive Reports said the 1948 total may reach 5,275,000. That would be the second largest year's output in the industry's history. Heaviest volume in any one year was 5,358,420 cars and trucks, built in 1929.

Ever-present in the industry's planning, however, is the fact that assembly operations can be interrupted by the smallest kind of a labor dispute. This has been demonstrated repeatedly in post-war activities.

It was a walk-out by 170 Briggs Manufacturing Company plant guards that stopped Chrysler and Packard for nearly two weeks last month. Briggs production workers would not go through the plant guard picket lines and car body output was halted.

This could happen again, although most industry sources don't expect it.

Figures compiled by Automotive News show that so far this year United States plants have built 2,807,164 passenger cars and 1,056,852 trucks. The trade paper reported that Chevrolet has built 590,755 passenger cars and 297,989 trucks; Ford 353,420 cars and 246,032 trucks; and Plymouth 263,483 passenger cars.

The combined operations of the "big three" of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler so far this year have accounted for 2,990,000 of the 3,864,016 vehicles built in the United States.\

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