Here’s a shocker. Among the cheerleaders for President Obama’s plan to increase federal fuel efficiency mandates were General Motors and Chrysler — two companies that are, at the moment, virtually run by the federal government itself.
GM’s Fritz Henderson, who was made CEO when Rick Wagoner was effectively fired by the White House, was particularly effusive in his support. “GM is fully committed to this new approach,” Henderson said in a statement. “GM and the auto industry benefit by having more consistency and certainty to guide our product plans.”
It was reminiscent of a POW news conference, where distressed prisoners, armed guards on either side, sing the praises of their captors. One wonders whether Henderson’s eyes were blinking out SOS in Morse Code while making the statement.
To be fair, GM and Chrysler were joined by non-captive automakers such as Ford in support of the plan. All no doubt see the regulatory writing on the wall. And if they are going to have to sell cars that consumers likely won’t want — it’s better for all to be forced to do so. Such “consistency and certainty” would at least reduce the prospect that some company would break ranks and offer cars people DID want. After all, if you can’t avoid regulation, you at least can reduce competition.