(From The Northern Echo)
Byline: Nigel Burton
America's automotive industry has seen the bad times before but, even by those standards, the current US downturn is extreme. Nigel Burton examines the problems they are facing and asks: Could the unthinkable be about to happen?
FORD held a birthday party last month. To the casual observer it looked like an audacious birthday bash for a business in rude good health. Several thousand guests, the best chefs, the swankiest hotels; everything looked fine. After 100 years in business, Ford had clearly come a long way.
But appearances are deceptive.
Like the other two big US carmakers, General Motors and Chrysler, Ford is feeling the heat.
The company is slogging …