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Auto show rides industry changes

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Bill Radke: The Frankfurt Auto Show opens today. It’s a key event at a difficult time for the auto industry as Stephen Beard reports from our European Desk.


Stephen Beard: This is the first big car show since the industry underwent a series of major changes — among them Fiat buying Chrysler, and GM selling a majority stake in its European division.

This looks like a really challenging month for the car industry. After last month’s upsurge due to the ending of the U.S. “Cash for Clunkers” program, global sales in September are expected to slump, down some 19 percent on the same month last year.

All this makes Frankfurt even more critical than usual. Opel is pinning its hopes of revival on a version of its Astra compact. Other companies are stressing the green theme. Mercedes is showing a new fuel cell vehicle. But Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi are not showing up at all in Frankfurt to cut costs.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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