* Current Yen/Dollar Exchange Rate Maintains A Trade Advantage For Japanese Manufacturers
* U.S. Automotive Industry and Government Partnership Can Reduce Dependency On Foreign Oil
* Biofuels Offer Growth Opportunity For U.S. Automotive and Farm Industries – Announces Chrysler Group Use Of B20 In Its Commercial, Military and Government Fleet
Auburn Hills, Mich., Jan 23, 2006 –
Chrysler Group President and CEO, Tom LaSorda, spoke to members and guests of the Detroit Economic Club today, calling for government and industry leaders to address current issues facing the automotive industry.
“If those of us in positions of leadership do our jobs to make and keep our companies competitive; and if all of us demand that our elected officials do their part to enact and enforce policies that will level the playing field, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can achieve the competitiveness of Japan, or the improved energy self-sufficiency of Brazil,” said LaSorda.
More specifically, LaSorda viewed solving currency and energy issues as a quick and meaningful fix that would keep the U.S. automotive industry globally competitive.
The trade advantage that Japanese automakers have, has nothing to do with products, quality, productivity or any of the other attributes that we use to define competitiveness in this business, said LaSorda. He also questioned the support of U.S. government policies that do not call for the same advantage in the U.S. market. “The Japanese Central Bank intervenes in currency markets to keep the Yen cheap and to create an advantage for its industry. Why doesn’t our government do the same for us?”
In the efforts to improve energy solutions, LaSorda acknowledges that, “government-industry fuel cell partnerships are working. DaimlerChrysler alone has already put a total of 100 hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles on the road around the world and we’re working with General Motors and BMW to jointly develop a state-of-the-art, two-mode, full hybrid propulsion architecture.”
Biofuels have also made strides in the automotive industry as a means of improving energy solutions. According to LaSorda, “We think biofuels are a win-win proposition. They represent a huge opportunity to reduce our consumption of conventional petroleum-based fuel and our dependence on foreign oil.”
LaSorda stated that biofuels support the American agricultural economy. Currently, the Chrysler Group offers the Jeep® Liberty CRD which is fueled with B5 – a renewable fuel with a five percent biodiesel mix derived from locally grown soy beans.
During his speech, LaSorda announced that “beginning with our 2007 Dodge Ram, we will endorse the use of B20, a 20 percent biodiesel mix for use by U.S. military, government and commercial fleet customers.”
LaSorda concluded by stating, “We all want a bright future for this industry…and so do our employees and hundreds of thousands of others.”
But it will take a combination of leadership in Detroit and in Washington to get the job done, he added.