Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda on Friday sent out an e-mail to all employees supporting the Levin-Bond amendment to the fuel economy regulations that are being debated in the Senate right now. The amendment being proposed by Carl Levin (D-MI) and Kit Bond (R-MO) dispenses with the opt-out provision that Levin previously proposed but backs off on the fuel economy requirements.

The primary bill being pushed by Senate leaders would raise standards to 35mpg for cars by 2020 while the amendment would call for cars to get 36mpg by 2025 and trucks to get 30mpg by 2022. The bill even backs off on the requirement for eighty-five percent of new vehicles to be E85 capable by 2020 and cuts it to fifty percent. That one came at the insistence of Toyota.

LaSorda closes by saying the future competitiveness of the company is at stake which is ridiculous since all carmakers will be subject to the same requirements. Neither Chrysler nor any other company gets more or less of a disadvantage and they all have to deal with the same problem. Of course even though the car makers should quit whining so much, none of this takes away from the fact that no politician has yet shown the political courage to address the demand problem and propose anything to keep oil prices high enough to promote consumer demand for more efficient vehicles. LaSorda's e-mail is after the jump.

[Source: Chrysler] Dear Colleagues,

I'm writing to urgently ask you to take action on proposed legislation that is vital to the future of The New Chrysler. Attached is a "Call to Action" from our Washington Office, which provides details on how to contact your U.S. senators as they debate energy policy affecting our company and our nation.

Everybody wants better fuel economy – so do we. The issues of climate change and oil consumption are important concerns, and we are committed to being part of the solution. However, as we push full speed ahead with our Recovery and Transformation Plan (RTP) and prepare for transitioning to new ownership, there are proposals in the U.S. Congress that would mandate unrealistic, arbitrary increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Some proposed new laws would severely hinder our recovery, reduce vehicle choice and threaten automotive industry jobs.

We Support an Alternative
Fortunately, there is a reasonable approach that we can support. We at Chrysler endorse the Levin-Bond Amendment to the energy bill (H.R. 6) currently before Congress. Sponsored by U.S. Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Christopher ("Kit") Bond of Missouri, this amendment calls for a fuel economy target of 36 miles per gallon for cars and 30 miles per gallon for trucks.

Mind you, the Levin-Bond Amendment itself sets an aggressive goal and poses an enormous challenge – it will cost our company $11.2 billion over the first five years. But it constitutes an acceptable approach because the Levin-Bond Amendment respects the challenge of developing affordable technologies and recognizes that there are inherent differences between cars and trucks. Importantly, the amendment also would encourage the greatly expanded use of homegrown alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to reduce petroleum consumption and carbon emissions.

Energy Bill Without Levin-Bond Amendment Puts Us Out of Business
While it will be a stretch to meet the CAFE goals of the Levin-Bond Amendment, the impact of the proposed energy bill (H.R. 6) without the amendment would cripple our business. For the first five years alone, it's estimated to add up to a staggering $6,700 – almost a 40 percent increase – to the cost of every Chrysler vehicle.

This also could have an immense effect on jobs in our industry and, therefore, on our national economy. RonaldHarbour, of the Harbour Report, recently testified that similar legislation would cost 65,000 to 200,000 U.S. auto jobs. In addition, combining car and truck fuel economy would put Chrysler and other full-line manufacturers at a huge competitive disadvantage and would severely restrict choices for consumers.

Those supporting the Levin-Bond Amendment include Toyota, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, VW, Chrysler, the UAW and National Automobile Dealers Association. Join us in stepping up at this critical time. Contact your U.S. senators to urge a "Yes" vote on the Levin-Bond Amendment. If you're a resident of Michigan or Missouri, be sure to let Sen. Levin or Sen. Bond know that you appreciate his support on this critical issue.

The future competitiveness of our company is at stake. As soon as possible, let your voice be heard – loud and clear.

Tom

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