April 4, 2009

LaHood: ‘Sad day’ if Big Three fail

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it would be sad if Detroit's automakers don't survive, but they need to change.

LaHood, speaking to Saturday's Detroit News, said U.S. President Barack Obama wants to ensure that the United States will have a viable auto industry. But, he added, that won't happen unless Detroit builds cars people want to buy.

It would be a very sad day for America if the Big Three automakers don't survive, but, he said, "In a lousy economy, people can't really perhaps afford to buy the more luxury-type automobiles.

The American people thought that the Toyota Prius -- which gets 40 to 50 miles a gallon -- was a little bit better than a car that got 20 miles a gallon "¦ . They are not looking for the Hummers, LaHood told the newspaper.

LaHood disagreed with critics who said the Obama administration was "treating the bailed-out auto industry more harshly than banks receiving taxpayer funds.

I think this administration has done more for the auto industry than anyone ever dreamed that they might do, he said.