May 8, 2006
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Bush:
Your scheduled meeting with the leaders of the American auto industry is unhelpfully lopsided.
Numerous news sources report that you have agreed to meet later this month with the leaders of the domestic auto industry, but the accounts indicate that the invitation list only includes the heads of General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group, and not the auto suppliers whose many practical innovations are repeatedly turned down by the Big Three.
Reports of the meeting indicate that the talks will cover energy and the environment, pension and health care costs, and currency issues affecting Japanese automakers.
A broad agenda should have you seeking a broad variety of opinions reflecting all auto industry stakeholders, including consumers.
I and my learned associates request a personal meeting with you to discuss these matters, including auto safety and emissions subjects.
Today, the most effective treatment for the domestic industry’s decline is an injection of innovative technology and a reorientation of design priorities. Unfortunately, the giants of the domestic auto industry—the same manufacturers you are meeting with—have demonstrated a congenital disinterest in applying the creative ability of their engineering corps to advance efficient, clean, and safe vehicle designs.
Our recent report, Innovation and Stagnation in Automotive Safety and Fuel Efficiency, details numerous examples of life-saving and fuel-saving technologies which have been ignored by the Detroit automakers. Moreover, the institutions we have entrusted to prod and regulate the industry on fuel economy and safety—Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—have been derelict in their duties. I have enclosed a copy of our report by Rob Cirincione for your perusal.
A revitalized attention to efficient, clean, and safe motor vehicle design can simultaneously square motorists’ interests with domestic labor and shareholders’ interests—improving automobile safety performance, energy consumption, the environment, and the competitive position of the domestic industry. As several industry observers have said, the solution to the domestic auto companies’ stagnation problems is product, product, product.
We look forward to a productive exchange geared to action.
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, D.C., 20036