The US automotive component supply chain is said to be insufficient for hybrids, forcing manufacturers to go elsewhere for parts. This problem was revealed last month when Ford complained about the limited supply of Aisin transmissions, but the problems go well beyond that component. US-based battery manufacturers such as JCI and Cobasys are said to be eventual players, but Ford still went to Sanyo for the Escape's pack. Charge-control electronics is another weakness for American suppliers, because we apparently gave up our electronics manufacturing leadership before I was born. I think it's possible that US firms could develop the technology necessary to supply parts for hybrids, but with ever-thinning margins and the rocky relationships with the Big 3, will they want to take on this risk? It may very well take domestic hybrid production by a transplant OEM to get things moving.

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