Maine auto dealer has 11 dealerships, says customers want high-mpg vehicles. So where's Detroit?

Adam Lee is no stranger to selling cars. His family has been in the business for 70 years and he's now the owner of 11 car dealerships. He's been a proud seller of Chrysler vehicles for those seven decades, but he felt the need to write a detailed essay in today's Automotive News (subs req'd) explaining why he's glad he owns some foreign-car ( Toyota, Nissan and Honda) dealerships now, too. You get one guess why this is.
Here's Lee:

In May, sales of hybrid cars and trucks in the United States were up about 88 percent over the year-ago month, while overall sales were up 5.0 percent. Although hybrids accounted for only about 2.8 percent of the U.S. market in May, it is a good indication that consumers want cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars than the Detroit 3 are offering.

As the largest hybrid dealership in Maine, we sell foreign cars that get 45 to 60 mpg and pollute very little. They are more expensive than nonhybrids, but consumers are willing to pay for them. And as gasoline moves past $2.50 and $3 a gallon, those cars are becoming more economical.

If we had a Jeep hybrid or a Ford Focus with a diesel hybrid, we would have customers lining up to buy one. And I could continue to sell American cars. As it is, I have to sell cars that consumers want to buy.

The whole article is worth reading, even if it's just the view of one man in one part of the country. Lee argues for stronger emissions and CAFE standards, and says the Auto Alliance is wrong to fight against the possible increase.
Lee's message is one that is becoming more and more prevalent: the Big Three "are losing market share because they do not have the cars that consumers want and need."

[Source: Automotive News]

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