TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Aug. 8)—General Motors Corp.´s lead economist declared pessimistic forecasts for the North American vehicle industry "bunk" during the 2003 automotive Management Briefing Seminars held this past week. The same pessimism we´re seeing today about North America was very visible in the early ´90s, said G. Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for corporate affairs at GM. "Fundamentally, you've got a cyclical problem that is being resolved, but also Japan seems to think the only way to go is to manipulate the yen," he said. As the recovery comes, he predicts North American demand will increase for vehicles, and he´s hoping that China´s growth will encourage Japan to choose another route. Rather than viewing China as a threat, Mohatarem said the region is one of the reasons he is optimistic about the future of the global economy. "It will pull growth from the rest of the regions around the world." He projects a strong recovery for the North American industry later this year and early in 2004.