For the auto industry, last year should qualify as the good old days for a long time to come. 1999 was a year of incredibly strong economic fundamentals in the US. Begin with the longest economic expansion on record, add low inflation and low interest rates, throw in consumer confidence at a record high and unemployment at a 30-year low. Then combine stock market-fueled income growth and the "wealth effect" with the most product- and price-competitive automotive market in history, and what happened was a bull market in passenger vehicles. US consumers were able not only to buy more cars, plus more cars per household; they were able to buy more car per car -- and replace it faster.