Advanced Composites. During 1997 the market for composite materials continued to grow, as indicated by shipments of materials. The Society of the Plastics Industry's Composite Institute estimated that U.S. shipments for composites of all types totaled 1,550,000 metric tons, an increase of about 6% above 1996 levels and 8% above 1995 levels, for the sixth consecutive year of increases. The 1997 gains were most pronounced in the consumer products and transportation sectors, which was reflective of the increased use of composites in sporting goods and of the upturn in the commercial aircraft market. The market for advanced polymeric composites, primarily carbon fibre-reinforced polymeric composites, had recovered since the early 1990s, a period characterized by a reduced military market due to the end of the Cold War and a worldwide economic recession. From 1992 to 1995 worldwide carbon fibre shipments increased 50% to 8,900 metric tons. In 1996 and 1997 the carbon fibre industry operated at close to capacity. The industry transition from defense applications to higher-volume, lower-cost applications led to an emphasis on the development of cost-effective materials and manufacturing processes. For example, processes that produce low-cost carbon fibres in fibre bundles with an increasing number of filaments were finding applications in high-volume markets. The industry continued to pursue aggressively two potentially large markets that would make use of lower-cost materials and processing methods--construction and automotive. The applications of advanced composite technology in construction and infrastructure renewal seemed certain to increase. Examples of technologies that were being evaluated included composite bars for reinforcing concrete, composite reinforcement and overwrap for seismic and structural upgrades and repairs, and composite-reinforced wood laminates for beam structures. Composite applications in construction increased significantly in Europe and Japan. Several evaluation programs were under way in the United States, but acceptance of composites continued to be slow. Composites, especially in the form of sheet molding compounds (SMCs), were becoming increasingly important in the production of automobiles. The amount of SMCs used by the automotive industry had increased more than 70% since 1990. High-performance composites had not, however, found significant application in automotive structures, despite collaborative research and development efforts to develop continuous fibre-reinforced composite structures for lightweight, energy-efficient automobiles. The use of high-performance composites in automotive applications was inhibited by concurrent improvements in strength and toughness of metals (including aluminum alloys, magnesium alloys, and steel alloys), the relatively high cost of composite materials and manufacturing processes, and the difficulty experienced in recycling advanced composites. THOMAS E. MUNNS; ROBERT E. SCHAFRIK Advertising (For a ranking of the Most Valuable Brands Worldwide, see Table.) The buoyant economy and the continued growth in consumer confidence contributed to strong gains in advertising spending in 1997. Worldwide advertising on all media, including direct mail and the Yellow Pages in telephone directories, was expected to climb 6.2% to $411.5 billion in 1997, according to Robert J. Coen, McCann-Erickson Worldwide's senior vice president in charge of forecasting. Total U.S. ad spending in 1997 was expected to reach a record $186 billion, an increase of 6.2% from the 1996 total of $175.2 billion. Coen estimated that expenditure on advertising within the U.S. would rise 6% to $109.2 billion, led by strong growth in television, local radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. Spending on overseas advertising by U.S. firms was forecast by Coen to total $225.5 billion, up 6.3% from $212.1 billion in 1996 and led by strong growth in Brazil, Great Britain, China, Mexico, and South Korea. By late in the year there were indications that spending by U.S. advertisers in 1998 would increase about 5.6% to $196.5 billion, fueled by interest in advertising during the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. An early indication that spending would continue its robust pace came from advance sales of network television time for the 1997-98 season. Sales hit a record $6 billion, up roughly 6% from $5.6 billion a year earlier, even though the network share of the television viewing audience continued to shrink. One consequence of the brisk sales was that "clutter" on television--the time devoted to commercials and promotions--reached a new high in 1996, according to a report sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers. The report found that clutter accounted for one-fourth to one-third of all network television time during all parts of the broadcast day in 1996. Commercial time on Super Bowl XXXI, broadcast by the Fox network on Jan. 26, 1997, sold at somewhat higher prices than those charged by NBC for Super Bowl XXX. The fifty-six 30-second commercial units that were aired during the game went for a record average price of about $1.2 million each, about $100,000 more than in 1996. Account change activity reached record levels in 1997 as a wide variety of companies made decisions affecting their advertising. Eastman Kodak Co. dismissed the J. Walter Thompson Co., its agency for over 65 years, and consolidated all its consumer photography accounts, with annual spending of about $300 million, at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. McDonald's Corp., after intense creative competition between its two national agencies, selected the Chicago office of DDB Needham Worldwide as its lead domestic agency, relegating the Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, to a secondary role after 15 years. Other major firms changing agencies included Delta Air Lines, which moved its $100 million account to Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide from BBDO Worldwide; Taco Bell Corp., which chose TBWA Chiat/Day in Los Angeles to handle the $200 million creative portion of its account; and Saab Cars USA, which selected the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., to handle its $50 million account. Despite the many account changes and agency roster realignments, there was during the year a surprisingly strong improvement in the relationship between advertising agencies and clients, according to the results of the 1997 Salz Survey of Advertiser-Agency Relations. In the survey 39% of agencies said there was more teamwork with their clients, a large gain from the 23% that reported that result in the 1996 survey. The percentage of advertisers who said there was more teamwork with their agencies also rose, from 49% in 1996 to 54%, the highest level since the 63% response in 1992. An annual survey by the American Association of Advertising Agencies reported that the average cost of producing a 30-second national television commercial rose nearly 6% in 1996 to $278,000 from $263,000 in 1995. That increase represented a reversal from the previous year, during which the cost decreased 2% from 1994 to 1995. Advertisers continued to demonstrate their support of television shows that touched on controversial subjects, such as the "coming out" story line in which the character portrayed by Ellen DeGeneres (see BIOGRAPHIES) on ABC's sitcom "Ellen" announced that she is gay. Companies that ignored the pressure from conservative groups not to advertise on the show won their bet of taking advantage of the hoopla surrounding the episode, which scored a 23.4 rating, compared with the season's average of 9.6 for the series. Advertisers aggressively increased their spending in cyberspace during the first half of 1997. According to Cowles/Simba Information, a unit of Cowles Business Media, advertising revenue on the World Wide Web reached $217.3 million through the first six months of 1997, more than triple the $61 million that the company reported was spent in the first six months of 1996. Forrester Research of Cambridge, Mass., estimated that $400 million would be spent on Web advertising in 1997. Ad pitches on the Web moved during the year beyond simply displaying advertisers' names or products. AT&T introduced Web ads that "talk," incorporating dialogue and motion video. Other sites, including Talk City, a chat site, introduced "intermercials," long-form communications lasting up to four minutes. The name, intermercials, is based on interstitials, a form of Web advertising in which a message automatically pops up in front of a user while the browser is downloading a page within a site. Interstitials generally appear for a certain period of time, usually seconds, and then disappear. Toyota and Sears Roebuck and Co. were among the first to use them. A landmark settlement between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the nation's tobacco marketers pushed such familiar icons as Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man off outdoor billboards. The settlement banned cartoon characters and human images from tobacco advertising and prohibited tobacco signs in outdoor sports arenas and on store signs visible from the outside. Europe's health ministers later agreed on an even stricter ban. Advertisers were expected to concentrate on promoting their brand names in 1998. A study by Corporate Branding Partnership LLC found that a strong corporate brand may be a public company's best defense against a volatile stock market. The stocks of the 20 U.S. public companies with the strongest brand power gained market value during the October 1997 stock market gyrations, whereas the stocks of the 20 companies with the weakest brand power lost a combined $19.8 billion in market value, the company estimated. "Brand power" was Corporate Branding Partnership's measure of a corporation's reputation and recognition among key audiences. Companies with the strongest brand power included Coca-Cola and Microsoft. LAURIE FREEMAN This article updates marketing. AEROSPACE In 1997, after the worst recession in aviation history, most airlines experienced business upturns, some of them vigorous, though often the revenues had to be used to help liquidate debt that had accumulated during the lean years. Pooling arrangements continued to benefit the companies, though the agreement between British Airways and American Airlines caused European Union (EU) officials and smaller airlines to voice fears of monopoly over the North Atlantic. Europe's airline industry began a profound change as deregulation became effective during April, opening competition to smaller operators within a region long dominated by national flag carriers. Demand for new equipment rose as business improved. Airbus Industrie planned to increase production to 220 aircraft per year in 1998, up from about 185 in 1997 and 126 in 1996. Unlike Airbus, Boeing had already been operating at full capacity and could not immediately meet demand. This was caused partly by the inability of equipment and raw-materials suppliers to meet Boeing's needs. Many such suppliers, cynical because of earlier predictions of an upturn that had failed to materialize and therefore cautious about risking investment, were swamped by the sudden wave of demand. Aircrew hiring was also brisk, and the U.S. Department of Defense became concerned about the drain of expensively qualified military pilots to the airlines. Encouraged by the upturn, notably around the Pacific Rim, both Boeing and Airbus continued work on their respective "jumbo" designs. Airbus proposed the 550-seat, four-engined A3XX, to be launched in 1999, and Boeing finally abandoned further development of the 747 to concentrate on new, long-range variants of the twin-engined 777. One of these, the 777-300X, would have about the same size and weight as a 747 and was aimed at Pacific Rim operators. The decision by McDonnell Douglas in 1996 to terminate the Douglas MD-XX trijet airliner, its proposed competitor to the top-of-the-range Boeing and Airbus transports, marked the end of the line for this company as an independent airframe supplier. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas then announced a collaborative deal by which Douglas Aircraft would become a major subcontractor to the Seattle, Wash., firm, and the merger was formally signed in August 1997. Production of the existing MD-11 and MD-90/95 families would continue until demand dried up. With the retreat of Lockheed from the large transport aircraft field in 1983 and the disappearance of Douglas, Boeing remained the sole U.S. supplier. Boeing again made news when it reached agreement with three airlines to buy its aircraft in return for favourable financial deals. The 20-year agreement with Continental Airlines, finalized in June, followed similar arrangements with Delta Air Lines in March and American Airlines in May and resulted in objections from EU officials, already upset by what they saw as unfair competition by the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger. Consolidation of the aerospace industrial base continued rapidly, most notably in the U.S. European aviation experts criticized the reluctance of their national governments to streamline their still-fragmented industries so that they could compete more effectively with such U.S. companies as Boeing-McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the major electronics giant Raytheon. European efforts to integrate businesses were particularly hampered by the return of a Socialist government in France and the subsequent reversal of a French policy designed to speed both privatization and collaboration with other European partners. The new French government clearly intended to keep aerospace in its own hands and so protect national assets. In particular, an earlier agreement by Airbus consortium partners to restructure the firm into a limited liability company by 1999 was thrown into doubt. Concern for air safety continued to mount in the face of increasingly crowded skies. Worries were expressed over the lack of adequate--or even any--air traffic control over Africa. A report by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations describing the situation throughout the region as "critically deficient" noted 77 near collisions involving commercial aircraft in 1996. Fears were justified in September when two large military transports, one German and the other American, collided off Namibia with the loss of all on board. Poor command of English by many air traffic controllers was also cited as the possible cause of at least two accidents: one in Colombia in December 1995 and the other in Indonesia in September 1997. Meanwhile, detective work continued in an effort to pin down the exact circumstances leading to the TWA Flight 800 disaster off the coast of New York in July 1996, thought to be due to a fuel-tank explosion. U.S. ambitions to launch a supersonic transport (SST) took a new turn as Boeing teamed with the Russian company Tupolev in a NASA program to refurbish a TU-144 as a flying laboratory. Data returned from the laboratory would help U.S. industry develop a 300-passenger SST with a 12,900-km (8,000-mi) range early in the next century. The 14-strong TU-144 fleet had been abandoned after one crashed at the Paris Air Show in 1973. In the military field the new Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor made its first flight. This next-generation U.S. Air Force fighter would replace the 1960s-era F-15 Eagle as the top U.S. combat aircraft. Meanwhile, other programs, such as the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E Hornet, the Lockheed Martin/British Aerospace Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), and the Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber, competed for funding. McDonnell Douglas, the longtime leading builder of U.S. fighters, was eliminated from the JSF competition. Consideration was given to a future--unmanned--version of the best-selling U.S./European F-16 fighter. Europe's Eurofighter 2000 continued in its flight-test program, but German doubts about its cost continued to stall award of a production contract. India stepped up its defense capabilities with the operational deployment of its first squadron of Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-30 long-range fighters, and plans were made to acquire Russian-made aerial tankers to support them. India also launched a $2.3 billion program to develop and build its own stealth combat aircraft. In the face of a continuing financial crisis, Russian aerospace officials were selling production rights for top-line military planes in order to maintain both a home industry and a national defense capability. Overall, the European aerospace industry reversed five years of decline with a 12% revenue increase in 1996, and an even better result was expected for 1997. MICHAEL WILSON This article updates aerospace industry. Alternative Energy. The public profile of alternative energy rose in 1997 when two of the world's biggest petroleum companies--the Royal Dutch-Shell Group and British Petroleum (BP)--announced large investments in the sector. Shell designated alternative energy as one of five core businesses for the group, the Western world's largest energy company, and promised to invest $500 million over the next five years to expand its presence in solar energy and sustainable forestry projects. BP said it aimed to increase its sales of solar panels from $100 million in 1997 to $1 billion over the next decade. The company believed that solar power could compete with conventional power sources to meet peak electricity demand within the next 10 years. Alternative energy also received a boost from the conference in Kyoto on climate change and global warming, although many experts warned that it would take years, if not decades, before energy sources such as solar, wind, and biomass could make deep inroads into the global energy market. A Shell study predicted that alternative energy could provide 5-10% of the world's energy needs within 25 years and account for half of global energy consumption by the middle of the 21st century. ROBERT CORZINE See also Architecture and Civil Engineering; Transportation. Automobiles The performance of the automobile industry in 1997 very much mirrored the economic performance of the different regions of the world. In the United States a stable economy produced vehicle sales that, though down 1% from 1996, exceeded 15 million units for the fourth year in a row. In Europe, except for occasional bright spots, sluggish economic growth produced a flat market that barely exceeded 13 million units. The Japanese auto market, reeling from a tax increase imposed early in the spring, fell 2% but was off as much as 7% in the later months of the year. The less-developed nations, particularly in Southeast Asia and Latin America, showed strong sales growth through the early part of the year but virtually collapsed when those regions suffered currency and economic crises in the second half. In Europe automakers worried about the health of the auto market. Weak economic conditions in many countries dampened sales. Analysts pointed out that were it not for tax incentives offered by the Italian government to scrap older, more polluting cars in favour of newer, cleaner ones, the market would have dropped below 13 million units. They forecast that sales would fall below that level in 1998. Nonetheless, certain sectors of the European market performed well. Sales of so-called monocabs--subminivans--were particularly strong, led by the Renault Mgane Scnic. The company had to triple production to meet demand. Mercedes-Benz also unveiled its revolutionary tiny city car called the A-class, which initially enjoyed explosive sales. Mercedes was caught by surprise, however, when a group of Swedish automotive journalists, conducting an emergency swerving maneuver, or what they called the "elk test," managed to flip one over. The ensuing negative publicity forced Mercedes to stop production until it could provide a hasty engineering fix. In Southeast Asia the collapse of the currency markets in many countries brought car production to a halt. Toyota announced that it would close its plants in Thailand for the year, while other automakers cut back production severely. In South Korea Kia lost a bid with bankers to avoid bankruptcy when it could not cover interest payments on its debts, and the government announced it would nationalize the automaker. At the same time this was happening, Samsung readied plans to jump into the market, which led many auto executives to worry that their fears of excess capacity in the industry were beginning to be realized. In Japan Suzuki had the best-selling car in the country, the Wagon R, displacing the Toyota Corolla, which had held the position for more than a decade. Honda surpassed Mitsubishi to become Japan's third largest automaker, behind Toyota and Nissan. In Latin America the repercussions of Southeast Asia's currency problems reverberated through the Brazilian economy. A steep hike in interest rates, combined with a new tax on automobiles designed to shore up the Brazilian currency, brought growth to an end in what had been one of the strongest markets in the world. Because of the sudden drop-off in sales, virtually all automakers there announced immediate production cutbacks to reduce inventories. Brazilians hoped that their strong economic medicine would prove to be an invigorating tonic in the long run, and they pointed to Mexico as a hopeful example. Three years after the collapse of Mexico's peso, the country was able to post solid double-digit increases in sales. In the United States the market continued its seemingly inexorable swing toward light trucks. Sales of pickup trucks, minivans, and sport utility vehicles reached 45% market share, up from 43% the year before. Many market analysts projected that this share would reach 50% in a few years. After having lost market share in the U.S. during the previous five years, Japanese automakers were able to regain 1.1 points of share, owing to a weakening yen and new products. The yen, which lost about 13% of its value, allowed Japanese automakers to cut costs on the imported vehicles and parts they brought in from Japan. New designs allowed them to cut costs further. Toyota, for example, introduced an all-new Corolla with a new 1.8-litre engine that, thanks to clever design, used 200 fewer parts than the motor it replaced. These design changes, in conjunction with the weaker yen, allowed Toyota to cut $1,500 from the base price of the Corolla to $11,908. Sales of the subcompact car, by contrast, jumped 6%. Other Japanese automakers also either introduced new models at reduced prices or did not increase the prices of carryover models. American car buyers reacted positively to these alluring prices and pushed up sales figures of most Japanese automakers. Both the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord surpassed the Ford Taurus, which had been the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. for the previous five years. On the other hand, Japanese automakers Nissan, Mazda, and Suzuki saw sales drop 3.5%, 7%, and 21%, respectively. The European automakers enjoyed impressive increases in sales in the U.S. Mercedes-Benz posted its highest totals ever, surging 27% to more than 100,000 units, thanks largely to the introduction of several new models. The ML320 sport utility vehicle, made at Mercedes-Benz's new assembly plant in Vance, Ala., allowed the prestigious German brand to enter a new segment in the American market, and it scored an instant hit. The first year's production quickly sold out, and the showroom traffic generated by the ML320 carried over to the rest of the Mercedes-Benz line. It was able to capitalize on this momentum and relay that success across its product line. Audi, BMW, and Porsche also enjoyed solid, double-digit increases in U.S. sales. Market analysts said baby boomers entering their peak earning years were increasingly gravitating to the luxury car market, and most European makes represented the "boutique" type of brands those consumers were after. Even Volkswagen, which competed in the middle part of the market, held its ground as it awaited new replacements for the Golf and Jetta. VW also began laying careful plans for the introduction of the new Beetle, which was first exhibited in early 1998. While the U.S. Big Three automakers lost more than two points of share to the Japanese and European automakers in passenger cars, they continued to dominate the light truck segment. This strength in trucks, along with various cost-cutting measures, helped General Motors' North American Operations (NAO) to return to profitability for the first time in the 1990s. Even so, GM NAO's performance was hampered by United Automobile Workers of America (UAW) strikes that cost the company more than half a billion dollars in net profits. Future clashes with the union seemed virtually assured when the company announced its goal to shed more than 40,000 hourly workers over the next five years. GM also announced that it would close its Buick City assembly plant in Flint, Mich., in 1999; the plant employed 2,900 workers. Ford reported record earnings for the year. In North America this was largely due to the immense popularity and profitability of its large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The company introduced a new full-size sport utility, the Lincoln Navigator, which became an instant sales hit and which analysts estimated earned up to $15,000 per unit in gross profits. To bring its production capacity for passenger cars in line with demand, Ford announced that it would close the assembly plant in Lorain, Ohio, that made the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar. Unlike the GM announcement to close Buick City that unleashed a torrent of bitter condemnation from the UAW, Ford's announcement to close the Lorain plant provoked no such outcry. To ease the pain of this plant closing, Ford quietly told the UAW that it would invest close to $2 billion for a new paint shop, a new gas tank plant, and a new engine plant at its River Rouge Plant manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Mich. This, Ford told the union, would ensure the viability of the facility and the jobs it provided well into the 21st century. Chrysler ran into several bumps in the road. After years of speculation, the company announced that it was going to drop its Eagle division, owing to sagging sales. Chrysler was also hit by a strike in the late spring at its Mound Road engine plant in Detroit, Mich., which in turn delayed deliveries of its hot-selling trucks. Sales and profits were additionally reduced owing to the massive retooling of two assembly plants. The Bramalea plant in Brampton, Ont., was shut for months, preparing for the introduction of the all-new Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde. The Newark, Del., plant was shut to convert to production of the all-new Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle. Production of Chrysler's pickup trucks also slowed as the company readied its plants to produce the Dodge Ram Quad Cab, the first pickup in the American market with four doors. Although the press focused on GM's market-share loss, Chrysler actually lost more share; on a percentage basis it lost nearly twice as much share as GM. Chrysler executives said they expected their new models to regain market share and improve profitability. Analysts agreed with this assessment, pointing out that the Quad Cab pickup alone would likely generate an additional $200 million in revenue. The large consolidation in the automotive supplier community continued throughout the year. For $625 million Tower Automotive bought A.O. Smith's Automotive Products Co., which specialized in stamping. BREED Technologies, Inc., bought the safety restraints business, including air bags and seat belts, from AlliedSignal for $710 million. Federal Mogul launched a $2.4 billion effort to purchase the British supplier T&N PLC., and Lear Corp. bought the seating component business from ITT Automotive. Rockwell International spun off its automotive operations as a $3.1 billion stand-alone company that was renamed Meritor. Ford reorganized its components operations on a global business into a new $16.4 billion business entity called Visteon Automotive Systems, with a goal of quadrupling its non-Ford business to 20% from 5% within five years. Financial analysts predicted Ford would ultimately prepare Visteon for a partial stock spin-off, much as GM planned to do with its Delphi Automotive Systems. GM launched a new program for suppliers to assume more responsibility for warranty expenses, which were estimated to cost the automaker about $600 per vehicle. Previously, GM picked up most of the warranty costs of defective components. Now, it told suppliers, they would have to pay the warranty costs on any defective parts they produced. The so-called revolution in automotive retailing in the U.S. picked up steam throughout the year. Ford launched a new retail initiative in Indianapolis, Ind., wherein it tried to persuade dealers in that market to join forces. Studies by marketing analysts and automakers alike showed that most new car buyers disliked the treatment they received at dealerships. The company's plan involved buyouts that would reduce its 24 or so dealerships in the Indianapolis market to only 5. Ford reasoned that fewer, but larger, stores would reduce the competition between its dealers, allowing them to obtain better transaction prices. The larger stores would also be expected to provide customers with a better selection of products. Ford also hoped to improve the retail-buying experience of its customers in these new stores. After initial interest, however, the dealers balked at the prices Ford offered for their stores, which they considered too low. Consequently, that effort failed, but Ford launched a new plan in Tulsa, Okla., along the same lines, and the company left little doubt that it wanted to revamp its retail network. Toyota and Honda fought to almost no avail to prevent Republic Industries, the "megastore" retailer owned by billionaire Wayne Huizenga, from purchasing dealerships in the quantity and time frame it wanted. Soon after Huizenga called a press conference with 25 state's attorneys to state his legal position regarding these purchases, Toyota announced it would drop its legal actions against Republic. By the end of the year, Republic had emerged as the single largest automotive retailer in the U.S., with over 150 stores, more than three times larger than the next largest retailer. The Internet emerged as a significant source of information for car buyers. Ford's Web site, for example, received more than 650,000 visits a day. Auto-By-Tel, an Internet automotive information service that provided information on new vehicles and where they could be purchased, announced in November that it had reached its millionth request for purchase information. Automakers and suppliers began to develop the capability for delivering Internet services directly into automobiles. Mercedes-Benz was the first to unveil a prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of such a system. Visteon demonstrated a voice-activated system that would allow drivers to dictate and send E-mail, as well as a speech synthesis system that would allow them to listen to their E-mail. IBM, Delco, Netscape, and Sun Microsystems teamed to produce a similar product. Both these systems allowed for other telecommunications capabilities, such as navigation and emergency services. United Technologies Automotive licensed Microsoft's CE operating system to develop capabilities that would allow consumers to use multimedia products from any company in their cars, instead of just those installed by the factory. Industry observers saw these moves as the first real effort by the consumer electronics industry to break into the auto business. Honda announced a prototype for a new gasoline engine that could almost meet the zero-emission-vehicle levels proposed by the state of California. While the engine produced some emissions, they were barely higher than the equivalent emissions produced by a plant producing electricity for an electric car. By carefully controlling the combustion in the engine with a more powerful computer, and with a special catalytic converter designed to reduce cold-start emissions drastically, Honda achieved this milestone. Honda also announced its plans to build a five-passenger jet airplane, and it unveiled an anthropomorphic robot designed to cater to the needs of an aging population. As Japan had the oldest average age of any industrialized nation, Honda saw this as a new market opportunity to exploit. At the end of the year, all automakers were focused on the conference on global warming that took place in Kyoto, Japan. GM, Ford, and Chrysler proposed that the U.S. increase the tax on a gallon of gasoline by 50 cents to steer car buyers into smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Chrysler chairman Robert Eaton said his company was willing to abandon its full-size pickups and sport utility vehicles in favour of a European-type lineup of smaller vehicles--provided it could charge European-type prices, which were higher than those in the U.S. With the industry under pressure to produce cleaner cars at lower prices, and with the markets it was relying on for growth sputtering to a stop, the year ended on a far more uncertain note than it started. JOHN MCELROY This article updates automotive industry. Beer. (For Leading Beer-Consuming Countries in 1995, see Graph.) A true milestone was achieved in 1997, the year that the United States took Germany's place as having the most breweries in the world. By midyear the U.S. boasted 1,273 breweries, whereas Germany had "only" 1,234. This surge in the American total was directly attributed to the microbrewery boom of the 1990s. All but 23 of the U.S. production sites were classified as craft-beer plants. Although the numbers continued to mount, analysts believed that consumers might be tiring of variety and were likely to veer back toward tried-and-true beers. In terms of consumption, the European nation still set the standard; on a monthly basis the average Bavarian family of four consumed 15 litres (4 gal.) of beer, which was half a litre (one pint) more than they drank in milk. In terms of production, however, it was the U.S.--long looked down upon by Old World brewers as a hopeless neophyte--that led the world. As craft brewers nervously awaited a shakeout of their suddenly crowded ranks, the largest U.S. brewers showed less interest than in previous years in that segment of the industry. Miller Brewing and Adolph Coors, the number two and three companies, experienced significant growth in 1997 by emphasizing top brands like Miller Genuine Draft and Coors Light to the general exclusion of experimentation with start-up labels. Top market brewer Anheuser-Busch pressured independent distributors to drop micro products and concentrate solely on Anheuser-Busch beers. Decisions by Anheuser-Busch and Miller to discontinue selling their respective European-pedigreed brands Carlsberg and Lwenbru represented an opportunity for Labatt to expand its presence across North America. The Toronto-based brewer picked up U.S. rights for both brands, which thereby strengthened the company's position in the "specialty" (craft plus imports) category and raised the profile for those two labels, which were neglected in the houses of Budweiser and Miller Lite. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch invested in American Craft Brewing International, a U.S.-based company that built microbreweries in Mexico, Hong Kong, and Ireland and imported on a limited basis some of those beers into the U.S. This article updates beer. Building and Construction Construction, fueled by the longest sustained period of U.S. economic expansion since World War II, began to lose momentum in 1997. The National Association of Home Builders reported 1.4 million housing starts for the first three quarters of the year, signaling an annual decline of 2.5% from 1996. In August the U.S. government announced that $601.8 billion of construction had been completed, a 5% increase from the 1996 level. Annual spending on public infrastructure continued to grow at a modest pace of 2.3%. In California the $1 billion, 5.6-km (3.5-mi)-long Cypress Replacement Project opened to freeway traffic in the San Francisco Bay area. The highway connector replaced a double-decked expressway that had collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The six-lane seismically resistant replacement was scheduled for final completion in 1998. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California continued work on the $1.9 billion Eastside Reservoir Project, which was designed to double surface-storage capacity for a system that supplied water to 16 million residents from Los Angeles to San Diego. A 986,800,000-cu m (800,000-ac-ft) lake would provide a six-month water reserve if an earthquake severed feeder aqueducts from either the Colorado River or northern California. The utility also continued work, begun in 1995 and scheduled for completion in 1999, on three dams to contain water in a valley 145 km (90 mi) southeast of Los Angeles. U.S. government proposals for tighter emission standards from power plants, coupled with state and federal moves to deregulate the sale of electricity, spawned the construction of more efficient power plants and retrofits to control emissions from existing coal-fired units. A consortium that was building a 520-MW combined-cycle power plant in Bridgeport, Conn., claimed that the natural-gas-fired unit would emit fewer pollutants than the 80-MW coal burner it was replacing. American architect Frank Gehry's striking $100 million Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao, Spain, in October. A cluster of 11 titanium steel-covered building blocks rose in irregular double curves around a 50-m (164-ft)-high glass atrium. The world's largest public-works project, Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport, stayed on schedule despite Hong Kong's change in political status in July. The new airport, built on an island, had road and rail links to the city; it was scheduled to open in the spring of 1998. On the Chinese mainland the first phase of the controversial Three Gorges Dam, the largest flood-control and hydropower project in the world, neared completion. (See /a>ARCHITECTURE AND CIVIL ENGINEERING: Sidebar.) Currency fluctuations imperiled Thailand, which was forced to renegotiate contracts with several international engineering and construction firms for work on Bangkok's massive wastewater-treatment upgrade after the baht went into a tailspin in midyear. Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Mahathir bin Mohamad postponed the start of work on the Bakun Dam, a $5.5 billion hydropower project on the island of Borneo. Critics charged that the structure would have generated 2,400 MW of unneeded power while displacing 10,000 indigenous people and destroying large tracts of rain forest. In sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of the population was without running water, several components of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, a joint multiyear effort by Lesotho and South Africa, neared completion. Botswana embarked upon a $330 million, 30-year effort to bring water to its agrarian-based economy. It completed the Letsibogo Dam in its eastern sector and advanced the North-South Pipeline, an aqueduct that would transport water some 360 km (225 mi) south to Gaborone, the nation's capital. ANDREW G. WRIGHT Ceramics. The ceramics industry experienced substantial overall growth during 1997, although manufacturing and environmental issues contributed to mixed performances in some sectors. Strong manufacturing economies in the United States, Asia, and parts of Latin America generated double-digit growth rates for some segments, despite financial problems in Asia during late 1997. Growth in Europe mirrored relatively weak economies there. In the U.S., where glass was considered part of the industry, total sales rose to nearly $90 billion; glass accounted for 59%, and the advanced ceramics segment continued to grow in share to 26%. Persistent economic expansion in the U.S. and other markets drove flat glass production to record levels for both automotive and architectural use. In addition, new product technologies based on surface coatings, tempering, and improved fabrication methods for special shapes were stimulating demand. The glass container market grew modestly on a worldwide basis in 1997, although certain key markets continued to suffer from strong competition from polymer containers. Recycling of glass, long an important technology and practice in Europe, gained momentum in the U.S. Both regions set records for using recycled glass during 1997, and improved melting tec

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