January 1942. In another fascinating piece of the puzzle to assure victory in World War II, a freeze order banned the sale of all new cars until a rationing program could be worked out. Our government quickly followed up with an order to stockpile all cars shipped after Jan. 15. Cars shipped to dealers could not be sold until specific permission to sell was granted.
Pearl Harbor may have been a surprise, but we were not totally unprepared for war. Our military had already been working with auto makers well before we joined the war, especially with Chrysler and their defense contracts.
By the early part of 1942, after effectively suspending the production of automobiles and the auto makers having geared up for defense work, where automobiles were once built (all automobiles), there were now trucks, tanks, heavy guns, as well as aircraft and other necessary tools of victory being produced. This lasted through part of 1945. The auto industry produced 20% of the total U.S. output of war material manufactured to fight World War II.
In late 1945, the stock of automobiles was seriously aged and of the 25 million registered vehicles in the U.S., over half were more than 10 years old. This led to a post-war boom in auto manufacturing and sales.
The short version is that automobiles weren’t produced in the U.S in 1943 and 1944.
The long version can be found HERE.