Posted by Sam McAdams - email
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Data shows 2009 was the toughest year yet for the state's young auto production industry.
Company production estimates show the three factories operated by Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai combined to produce nearly 480,000 vehicles.
That's down from 2008's output of 672,102 vehicles and the lowest since 2005, when the automakers produced 479,466 vehicles.
The state industry hit its peak in 2007, as 739,019 cars and light trucks rolled off the assembly lines.
Alabama automakers have dealt with a global sales slump by shortening work weeks and extending holidays.
Auburn University Montgomery economist Keivan Deravi says 2010 should see state auto production remain stable, with minimal growth over 2009's output.