America Still Lags Europe, Asia in Green Auto Tech
After years of falling behind overseas automakers, the Big 3 are engaged in a game of high-tech catch-up regarding green, fuel-saving vehicles. The domestic void in the rapidly expanding field of mobile electronics – such as ecologically oriented features for car navigational and telematics systems – is cited as an especially troubling aspect of the nation's supply chain adaptability.
The overall issue of foreign vs. domestic production of environmentally sound technology was a prominent topic of discussion at the Management Briefing Seminars presented in August by the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan.
Speakers contended that the North American OEM supply chain "just isn't ready" to provide the batteries, drivetrain components and electronic controls needed to navigate the nation's shift toward a green fleet. They called on the U.S. government to enact key policy changes and financial initiatives to keep pace with what other countries already are rolling out at a rapid clip.
Michigan's congressional delegation has asked the House and Senate leadership to move forward with a pitch to provide Ford, General Motors and Chrysler with up to $50 billion in federally guaranteed loans for retooling their assembly lines to produce next-generation fuel-efficient vehicles.
Both presidential candidates are expressing support for the program's concept; the financial details remain under discussion.
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