TEXT OF STORY
SCOTT JAGOW: Getting a meeting with the President hasn’t been easy for the big three U.S. Automakers. They’ve been trying for a year to get an audience. Finally, today, the CEOs of Ford, Chrysler and GM will sit down with President Bush at the White House. John Dimsdale tells us what’s on the agenda.
JOHN DIMSDALE: First on the list is more affordable healthcare. U.S. car companies spend more on healthcare than on steel. And speaking of steel, they’d like the government to ease restrictions on cheaper imports.
They also want more pressure on Asian countries to raise the value of their currencies, which would make foreign cars more expensive.
Steven Szakaly at the Center for Automotive Research says the White House has to be mindful of some newly-empowered Democratic members of Congress who will champion the domestic carmakers plight.
STEVEN SZAKALY: I don’t think we would even be discussing having a meeting already if it hadn’t been for the tremendous turnaround that occurred on Election Day.
But the U.S. car companies will have to answer why they’re making more gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs than their foreign competitors.
The Consumer Federation of America’s Jack Gillis thinks he knows why.
JACK GILLIS: It appears the Japanese probably have their finger on the pulse of what the American consumer wants.
A new survey from the Consumer Federation finds Americans are demanding more fuel-efficient cars.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.
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