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PHOTO CAPTION: Opel badge.

Is the Car Industry Going Green Without Detroit?

Solar equipment manufacturer SolarWorld has placed €1 Billion bid for GM's Opel in Germany.

Published: 30-Nov-2008

Many analysts and commentators agree: Major car manufacturers had plenty of warning about looming changes in the market.

As Micheline Maynard, The New York Times car correspondent and a regular contributor to Green Inc., has written, the Big Three car makers in the United States made the mistake of “miscalculating the appeal that hybrids have generated.” Detroit, she wrote, “had not understood the psyche of American consumers.”

Those mistakes haven’t stopped car companies like General Motors, Renault and Daimler from demanding state handouts to make their next industrial leap. The companies are asking for tens of billions of dollars to finance a transition to making cleaner, leaner cars suited to a vastly more “clean-tech” economy, saying they can’t afford to develop those new vehicles on their own with the economy in turmoil and new car sales plummeting.

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The real problem we face - and in the US it's far worse, with car makers bleeding money - is that the car is unviable and has been for a long time, contends Larry Buttrose.

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