Ford, Chrysler irked at feds' potentially biased email

Charges of anti-Americanism have followed the transmittal of an e-mail from the US Department of Health and Human Services to 67,000 federal workers. The e-mail, written by an unnamed member of the department, gives advice on buying a personal car and suggests making fuel efficiency the first consideration, citing the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid by name. Then, based on a list from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, it suggests 12 cars to look at, all of them imports. It also specifically recommends staying away from SUVs.

[Source: Detroit News]

Chrysler's position, via a spokesman, was blunt: "clear bias against American manufacturers." A Ford spokeswoman took a more diplomatic stance, saying "We find it puzzling that a government agency such as Health and Human Services is advising its employees on what they should choose as a personal vehicle." A GM spokesman didn't think the e-mail was intended to slight American makers, but then again, the correspondence did mention GM's E85 promotion program.

An HHS spokesman said the agency has nothing to do with auto policy, and the e-mail wasn't intended to be an official stance of the HHS. It was just a newsletter put together from available public sources. But with presidential candidates and Congress increasingly making a bad environmental example of the auto industry, especially the domestics with their once popular SUVs, it is to be expected that The Big Three would be a bit put off by that kind of official-sounding message to 67,000 potential customers.

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