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American Carmakers in Crisis46:00
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Ford workers assemble the new 2008 Ford Focus in Wayne, Mich., May. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Gary Malerba)
Ford workers assemble the new 2008 Ford Focus in Wayne, Mich., May. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Gary Malerba)

Talk about automotive irony.

Centennial celebrations in Michigan this week. The 100th anniversary of the founding of General Motors. And the 100th anniversary of the rollout of the Model T — the "Tin Lizzie" that made the Ford Motor Company.

And both American automotive giants, plus Chrysler, are in crisis. Billions in losses. Plummeting sales. Talk of bankruptcy.

With four-dollar gas, the SUV-truck parade is over. Ford, announcing this week it will massively retool for compacts. GM wants to plug in electric. But is there time?

This hour, On Point: The U.S. auto industry, up against the wall.Guests:

Bill Vlasic, Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times.

Walter McManus, director of automotive analysis at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. He formerly worked for General Motors, where he developed models to forecast vehicle sales and created tools to stimulate new product development.

David Magee, author and auto analyst, he appears frequently on Fox News and has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. He's the author of "How Toyota Became #1" and "Turnaround," about Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

John Wolkonowicz, senior analyst and forecaster for Global Insights, he worked as a product planner for GM and Ford.

This program aired on July 23, 2008.

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