US Car Czar: "Industry Faces Massive Change By 2023"

Tempe Auto RepairBy: Nick Carey and Deepa SeetharamanDETROIT | Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:00pm EST DETROIT (Reuters) - The American auto industry will change more in the next dozen years than it has during the past 50, said the U.S. Treasury official charged with overseeing the government's investment in the auto industry. [caption id="attachment_1104" align="alignright" width="192" caption="Ron Bloom, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury (Auto Task Force) and Senior Counselor to the U.S. President for Manufacturing Policy (Photo Credit: David Shankbone)"]Ron-Bloom-Photo-Credit-David-Shankbone-2010[/caption]In 12 years, vehicles will be more fuel efficient and be far more computerized, Ron Bloom said on Tuesday in prepared remarks to the Automotive News World Congress. "We will take substantial steps toward using electricity, bio-fuels, and natural gas to power our cars, and those vehicles still using oil will consume far less of it," Bloom said. While the percentage of cars using alternative fuels a dozen years from now will still be relatively small, Bloom said, "the shift will be viewed as inevitable, and the trajectory of change will be accelerating with take-off velocity in sight." Citing the progress made in cellphone technology over the past 12 years, President Barack Obama's "car czar" said, "I think that the increase in your car's intelligence in the next dozen years will mirror the increase in your cellphone's intelligence over the last dozen." Bloom is the U.S. government's point person for its investments in General Motors Co (GM.N) and Chrysler (FIA.MI). GM and Chrysler underwent government-led bankruptcy in 2009 amid the worst sales in 27 years, as part of an unpopular bailout that Obama administration argued was necessary to save millions of jobs. GM has since had the largest initial public offering in U.S. history. The government maintains a 33 percent stake in GM and a 9.2 percent share of Chrysler. "No one is declaring 'mission accomplished,' but our determination to turn the companies around has yielded concrete returns remarkably quickly," Bloom said. (Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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