President Bush Tours Automotive Plants
By Sylvia Maria Gross
Kansas City, MO – President Bush's tours of the GM Fairfax and Ford Claycomo plants today marked his first official visits to domestic carmakers. Earlier this year, he upset U.S. carmakers by saying they needed to "make a product that's relevant." KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.
President Bush made his remarks standing between a new ethanol-powered Ford pickup and a hybrid SUV. He applauded Ford and GM for developing vehicles that are both energy efficient and big.
PRESIDENT BUSH: By the way, what you've proven here is a car or a truck doesn't have to look like a golf cart if you run it on electricity - it can be a normal size vehicle that people like to drive. Texans like to use pick-up trucks, as you well know.
Mr. Bush said these new cars will help the environment and decrease US dependence on foreign oil.
PRESIDENT BUSH: And I've come to this plant because that's what you're doing. You're making a new kind of automobile that is literally part of a new America for the better.
President Bush discussed his plan to reduce US energy consumption by 20 percent in the next decade. His proposal calls for a 4 percent annual increase in emissions standards, which the automakers oppose. But he also wants to encourage research into alternative fuels and battery technology. The President said that ethanol producers were going to have to start looking for alternatives to corn.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Because that price of corn is beginning to affect the people who are raising hogs and I understand that - that's why we're spending a fair amount of money on developing new types of technology.
Ford employee Lenny Redus said he appreciated the President's attention.
REDUS: Yeah, it's encouraging because we build those cars, you know. . . it means job security for me.
GM and Ford plants have lost hundreds of jobs during recent downsizings.