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Turnaround coming for U.S. car sales

Ford Mustangs sits on the lot of a car dealership in Glenview, Ill.

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: I don't know if you've caught the latest ad from General Motors:

GM Ad: We want to make this a company all Americans can be proud of again. That's why I'm here to announce we have repaid our government loan -- in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule.

GM's not the only one feeling proud. Later this morning Ford is expected to announce first-quarter profits of more than a billion dollars. Jill Barshay has more.


Jill Barshay: Auto analysts predict Americans will buy lots of new cars as the economy recovers. Kristin Dziczek is with the Center for Automotive Research. She says many of those cars will be made in the U.S. So after years of layoffs, the industry is expected to add 180,000 jobs through 2012.

Kristin Dziczek: It's anybody who works at, you know, a very small tool and dye shop that makes inputs to the automotive industry. It's somebody making a Honda in Marysville, Ohio.

John Wolkonowicz is an analyst at IHS Global Insight. He says all the new jobs and car buying are a sign that the U.S. auto industry isn't going to disappear, as it almost did during the financial crisis.

John Wolkonowicz: Yeah, this is a real turnaround, and you know, we're seeing turnarounds of greater or lesser extent at Ford, GM and Chrysler.

Wolkonowicz says American car makers are now more productive. But the flipside is we won't need as many assembly line workers as we used to to make the same number of cars.

I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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