US Car Chiefs Meet With President Bush



27th March, 2007

GM CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, US President George W Bush and Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda (from left to right)

Joint statement attributable to Chrysler Group president and CEO Tom LaSorda, Ford Motor Company president and CEO Alan Mulally, and General Motors chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner regarding the meeting between President George W. Bush and the CEOs of America’s domestic auto industry:

We appreciate the President meeting with us, yesterday, 26th March, 2007, at the White House in Washington DC, on issues that are critical to reducing our nation’s petrol consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. We had an open and constructive discussion on the use of renewable and alternative fuels.

All three companies conveyed to the President their support for reducing petrol consumption in America. A significant portion of such reductions can come from the continued development and use of biofuels. We reiterated that each company stands ready to make half of its annual vehicle production E85 flexible fuel vehicles (FFV) or capable of running on biodiesel by 2012. To capitalise on these commitments, we emphasised with the President the need for increased incentives to produce and distribute biofuels.

We briefed the President about the more than 6 million FFVs on the road today and we will add over a million FFV cars and trucks in 2007 alone. We explained to the President that if all these vehicles were running on E85, they would displace more than 3.6 billion gallons of petrol a year. And even more compelling, if all the E85 capable vehicles on the road today – along with those that GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler have already committed to produce over the next 10 years were to run on E85 – we could displace 22 billion gallons of petrol annually. Also, if all manufacturers made a comparable commitment to make half their annual production capable of running on biofuels, we could increase the savings to 37 billion gallons of petrol annually in 2017.

Furthermore, we pointed out the benefits of clean diesel technology and that if all diesel vehicles today were fueled with B5 (five percent biodiesel) we could displace 1.85 billion gallons of petroleum per year; and 7.4 billion gallons per year if B20 (20 percent biodiesel) were utilised.

In order to achieve these levels of petroleum savings, we asked the President to help provide Americans with reasonable access to these fuels at a price that is competitive with petrol. Right now there are approximately 1,100 E85 pumps in the U.S. and 1,000 biodiesel pumps, out of 170,000 fuel stations. We expressed to the President that we are willing to lead the way, but we need government and fuel providers to increase infrastructure before we can make a meaningful impact.

In addition, we discussed with the President that as part of an overall national strategy to fully tap the potential of biofuels to displace petroleum, vehicle production increases must be accompanied by continuing the incentives that encourage the manufacture, distribution, and availability of biofuels and the production of flexible fuel vehicles.

We updated the President that we are working on a wide range of advanced vehicle technologies that run on alternative fuels such as E85, biodiesel, electricity and hydrogen. Plug-in hybrid vehicles can play a significant role in our transportation future. Increased funding for domestic battery research and development can help accelerate bringing these vehicles to market.

Overall, we were pleased with the exchange that we had with the President and all parties came away with an understanding of the significant, positive impact that biofuels can make on the environment and in reducing our nation’s (USA) reliance on oil.

We welcome the opportunity to continue working with President Bush, his Administration and the Congress in a bipartisan manner and to move forward on solutions to these issues while continuing to do our part to ensure America’s long-standing leadership in manufacturing and innovation.

Editor's note: The above statement has been modified to reflect the 'internationalness' of the statement, in as much as the date and location of the meeting has been clarified. Additionally, as expected, the spelling used in this statement is Australian English, rather than the inappropriate American English.

Remarks by President Bush and CEOs of Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler at the Demonstration of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

WASHINGTON, 26th March, 2007 (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- The following is a transcript of individual remarks by President George W Bush and CEOs of Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler at the Demonstration of Alternative Fuel Vehicles at the White House on The South Lawn.

THE PRESIDENT: I've just spent quite a while talking to our CEOs of American automobile companies. And I was interested in their take on my goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years.

I found it very interesting that by 2012, 50 percent of the automobiles in America will be flex-fuel vehicles. That means that the American consumer will be able to either use gasoline or ethanol, depending upon, obviously, price and convenience. That's a major technological breakthrough for the country. If you want to reduce gasoline usage, like I believe we need to do so for national security reasons, as well as for environmental concerns, the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice. And so I appreciate very much the fact that American automobile manufacturers recognise the reality of the world in which we live and are using new technologies to give the consumers different options.

Right now, most of our ethanol is made from corn. But the federal government is spending a lot of money to try to develop new technologies that will mean that ethanol could be made from wood chips or switch grass. Part of that request is embedded in a request to the Congress and I would hope that Congress would move expeditiously on our plan to reduce gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next 10 years. It's in our national security interest that we do this, it's in economic security interest we do it, and all at the same time, it will help us be better stewards of the environment.

And now I'd like to ask these gentlemen to make a few comments.

MR. WAGONER: Yes, I'd just -- from General Motors' perspective, we very much share the President's vision, and we definitely see a path through to both lower oil consumption, lower amounts of imported oil, and fewer carbon emissions. And obviously, a near-term opportunity that we are moving on right now, as the President cited, is flex-fuel vehicles that are powered by E85 ethanol. There are millions on the road today. As a group, we've agreed to double our production by the year 2010, and then have 50 percent of our production E85-capable by the year 2012. This makes a big difference, and there's nothing that can be done which can reduce the curve of growth in imported oil and actually turn it down like using E85, taking advantage of what's there today.

So we look forward to the opportunity to work closely with the administration and Congress to increase the production of ethanol and to improve the distribution. And on the manufacturer's side, we look very, very much forward to playing our role in that process, as well.

MR. MULALLY: Well, I might add to what Rick said, that we at Ford absolutely are supportive of the President's goal, both for energy efficiency and independence, and to be good stewards of our environment.

One of the neat things about the conversation, again, today, on the continuing dialogue that we've had, is being able to -- the United States system to have options and have flexibility. And the fact that we have ethanol solutions today, hybrids coming along, and plus hydrogen and fuel cells and new battery technology, gives some great options to satisfy our need for flexibility, as well as being good stewards of the environment.

So Mr. President, we appreciate the leadership and we look forward to working with you going forward.

MR. LASORDA: Well, DaimlerChrysler, which includes the Mercedes car group, the Freightliner and other truck divisions in the Chrysler group, we've committed, as well, by 2012, to have 50 percent of our production not only in E85, but biodiesel. This Jeep Grand Cherokee here today is going into production as we speak, being shipped from the factory with B5.

So we've very committed to this, as well, and we think this is the answer for America to lower our dependence on foreign oil.

THE PRESIDENT: One of the things that I think, it's important for American taxpayers to understand that we're using some of their dollars to promote new technologies, and we're working with these CEOs and their respective companies to advance new technologies. They're on the leading edge of technological change, and it's in our interest to help promote these new technologies that are coming to the market.

And I'm excited about the future. I'm optimistic we can meet our goal. I look forward to working with Congress to do so, and I appreciate you all coming today. Thank you.

Other Chrysler content: here.

Other Ford content is: here.

Other General Motors content: here.

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