With market share that continues to plunge and an overhead cost structure that demands high sales volume, how can the Detroit automakers pull themselves out of their current situation? Vast improvements in quality haven't yet done the trick, and that's probably because their competitors - with few expections - haven't slipped and opened a window of opportunity. Since it's the issue of emissions and fuel usage aren't likely to disappear in our lifetimes, there's an opportunity to open up a vast new market. The NY Times suggests that GM or Ford should attempt to recast their entire operation in the mold of "greenness", producing only hybrid, diesel, and alternative-fuel vehicles. I'd suggest something more modest. Of the brands sold by the above two manufacturers, only three - Ford, Chevrolet, and Cadillac - have a concrete identity. Why not take one of the divisions that's floating in limbo, such as Mercury or Pontiac, and rebuild them around some sort of green philosophy? It'd actually give them a leg on Toyota (who seems to be struggling a bit with their hybrid marketing), and is probably a better idea than Tom Friedman's.


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