U.S. auto sales in October equaled an annualized rate of 10 million vehicles. That's a steep drop from the 17 million cars sold each year from 1991-2007. Not even a robust recovery from the recession is expected to boost sales near previous highs. Bailouts, bankruptcies and Cash for Clunkers have helped keep the industry afloat this year. Yet, the reality of too many factories and workers remains as demand continues to dip. Olin Business School professor and supply chain expert Panos Kouvelis says auto makers need to keep the brakes on production and proceed with caution.

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