Auto industry tries to shift gears to smaller vehicles - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Auto industry tries to shift gears to smaller vehicles

Analysts continue to paint a grim picture for the auto industry as sales of pickups and SUV's continue to plummet.  The industry is trying to quickly shift gears.

Ford and the other major American auto companies have to quickly come up with more models that sell, and cut back on the ones that aren't moving off the lot. 

Professor of Economics at IU Southeast Eric Schansberg says, "Unless gas prices come down to a much lower level, then this is a trend Ford has got to deal with."

Ford says it views as permanent the recent trend of consumers moving to smaller cars and away and from trucks and SUV's.  The company says it will announce further changes in its restructuring plan when it reveals its latest earnings in July.

It was just last week when Ford said it would permanetly slow the assembly line at the Kentucky Truck plant.  That means it will produce fewer F-series Super Duty trucks which used to be Ford's hottest-selling product.

On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road.  She says the auto industry needs to create new products that use less gas.

Some believe the federal government should step in and help the auto industry by providing more money for research and giving it tax breaks.  But that's not likely to happen until after the presidential election.

John McCain is proposing a $300 million government prize to anyone who can come up with a car battery that surpasses existing technology.  He says that would reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

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