In the 1920s the automobile industry overtook steel as the most important sector of the American economy. Approximately 10 percent of the annual income of Americans was taken up purchasing cars and trucks and in buying gas, oil, parts, repairs, and other auto-related items. The automobile industry, led by the "Big Three" companies of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, fueled the upswing in the economy in the last half of the 1920s. The increasing importance of the business, however, meant that if car and truck sales slipped the entire American economy would suffer. People soon discovered just how closely the auto industry was linked to the general healthiness of the economy following the stock-market crash in October 1929.
Effects of the Depression.
The automobile industry in 1929 set a record by selling more than 5 million vehicles. The next year, even after cutting prices in the wake of the market...
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