Bailout Should Transform Detroit into 'Transportmaker'

As the federal government prepares to bail out the flailing U.S. automotive industry, it should think about changing the face of the industry from carmaker to "transportmaker", according to Robert Goodman.
November 17, 2008, 2pm PST | Nate Berg
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"The Obama administration should ask the companies, as a condition of financial assistance, to begin shifting from being just automakers to becoming innovative 'transportmakers.' As Barack Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, recently said: 'You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things you would otherwise avoid.'"

"As transportmakers, the companies could produce vehicles for high-speed train and bus systems that would improve our travel options, reduce global warming, conserve energy, minimize accidents and generally improve the way we live."

"Now, the auto industry is asking for government money that promises, even with more fuel-efficient cars, to give us more of the same. Instead of supporting companies that want to put as many cars on the road as possible, we need a transformational strategy."

"As part of its loan package, the government should insist on the development of "transportmaker business plans" from the car companies, with specific timelines for developing more fuel-efficient cars. The companies should also provide detailed plans to transform some of their factories into research and manufacturing centers for the development of light-rail cars and high-speed trains and buses."

Thanks to Streetsblog

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, November 16, 2008 in The New York Times
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email