We’re certainly not, and I don’t think congress should be, in the business of mandating consumer choice. If you do the math on it, the consumer will never pay for it. We obviously don’t think the CAFE standards are very well thought out.
Listen, these are the same people who will be standing in unemployment lines if the Clinton-Gore proposals are put into effect.
The whole CAFE scheme is, in terms of public policy, ridiculous, and has the practical effects of driving U.S. jobs abroad.
If the CAFE standard is too high, it adversely affects workers, manufacturers, and consumers alike.
I want to make very sure that we’re not putting U.S. jobs at risk over the next two years.
Pricing is still a concern with consumers. We continue to see sticker shock. And the potential exists that with some cars in short supply, Detroit will take advantage of the situation with some big price increases this fall. What Detroit will do is drive some people into small or used cars instead. In the last three to four years, price increases outpaced income gains and pushed people into used cars. Pricing is the reason the recovery won’t be robust.
We might have to take drastic action such as limiting production.
I would hope we would never get into a position that we’d have to tell our customers they can’t buy certain cars because of the mileage requirements.
If we sell too many big cars in any quarter in 1978, we’ll have to hold back our product mix and we’ll have to ration or allocate cars. The law is final now, but if enough people complain when they can’t get a big car, maybe the government will revise its legislation. To meet 27.5 m.p.g. by ’85, the average weight of cars will have to be about 3,200 pounds versus 4,000 pounds now. That means every car would be a compact, subcompact, or smaller. The new law implies that we must get better fuel economy between 1980 and 1985 then between 1978 and 1980. That’s unlikely.
If we sell too many big cars, we’ll have to stop building them. Then we’ll have to ram small cars down consumers’ throats and use dealer incentives to get rid of them so that we can build big cars again. The public is going to rebel because these hard-to-get big cars will then sell for full list or higher when the small cars are being given away.