CLEVELAND (Feb. 20)—The slowdown in North American automotive production at the end of 2000 drove PolyOne Corp.´s fourth-quarter elastomers and additives business unit sales down 13 percent from the 1999 period and down 12 percent from the third quarter of 2000. The sales decline, to $106.2 million, ate into earnings as well; fourth-quarter 2000 operating income of $4.4 million was 53 percent lower than the same 1999 period, the company said. For the year ended Dec. 31, the business unit—primarily M.A. Hanna Rubber Compounding—reported a 19.2-percent drop in operating income, to $26.5 million, while sales fell 1.1 percent, to $482.2 million. PolyOne is the resultant enterprise from the merger in August 2000 of M.A. Hanna Co. and Geon Co.; the elastomers business unit represents 15 percent of PolyOne´s overall sales.