In 1944, the United States was in the midst of fighting a world war. Many manufacturing and production resources were devoted to the war effort, leaving other manufacturing to shut down completely. Even new car production was put on hold, with existing stock of autos sold only to those approved by the government.
That put a higher demand on used vehicles and, as you might expect, prices soared. In some cases prices doubled or even tripled from their pre-war levels.
Jumping to modern times, the 2011 state of auto sales is in a much different position. The industry still faces its problems, though, and the past few years have been especially troublesome for new-car inventory. Our country has been at war, our economy is taking punches to the chin and auto manufacturers have dealt with everything from high national unemployment to natural disasters that crippled production and sales.
New car sales are down, used car sales (and prices) are up.
In 1944, the U.S. government’s Office of Price Administration solved the problem of soaring used car prices by imposing a ceiling on them. That’s a nearly unthinkable proposition today, but what if it happened?
First, a little more on the 1944 ceiling and how it worked.
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