Small cars, once the Achilles' heel of U.S. automakers, are becoming a strength. Sales of the Chevy Cruze compact are up 10 percent this year, while Ford's Focus compact sales have soared 90 percent. After losing a generation of car buyers to Japanese automakers such as Toyota, U.S.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is bulking up on political muscle just in time for the 2012 general election. The trade group, which represents 12 automakers including the Detroit 3, Volkswagen and Toyota, is setting up a political action committee, spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist said.