Big Three fight for the right to commit corporate suicide

Ford, GM and Chrysler are desperately trying to convince the U.S. Congress not to impose more ambitious fuel-efficiency targets on the American auto industry. The Detroit News says their CEOs spent hours behind closed doors with senators and congresspeople yesterday, trying to talk them out of a proposal to raise fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, with annual increases of four per cent to follow.

“They told us if you do some of these things that have been proposed then we will cease to be an industry in the United States,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, praising the “candid talk” and noting the domestic auto companies “are in the life and death throes of reorganization.”

Indeed they are. You know why? Lousy fuel economy. Also, some lousy cars. But lousy fuel economy is a huge part of it. You don’t see the CEOs of Hyundai and Toyota and Honda there with them — they’re busy approving new designs for teeny-tiny cars that get 10 miles out of coasting past a gas station.

Consumers have a choice and they’re making it. As gas prices keep rising, even more will. Add a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program to capture the hidden costs of pollution and greenhouse gases, and even even more will. Let the Big Three either figure it out and act accordingly to get their customers back, or surrender.

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