The economic bliss that continued through the first half of 2000 for the die casting industry, one that saw magnesium and aluminum shipment levels rise to a record high, came to an abrupt stop in the third quarter of the year. According to reports released by the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA), third quarter shipments of aluminum die castings were 6.6 percent lower when compared to the second quarter. Even more staggering, the levels of the third quarter when compared to its 1999 counterpart mark a decrease of over 15.5 percent. The results are the first negative yr/yr growth in aluminum shipments since the early 1990s. Magnesium's fourth quarter index showed a drop for the first time since 1998, and zinc levels were 4.9 percent below last year's totals. This slowdown carried onto those industries most affected by die casting trends, specifically auto, appliance, and electronics. Although auto sales ended above 1999 at a record high of 17.4 million cars and light trucks sold, extremely slow third and fourth quarters have lowered projected 2001 sales to be less than 1999 totals.