By Bill Vlasic
...Mr. Marchionne’s observations were echoed by other attendees at the conference sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research, an industry research group, including environmentalists who locked horns with Detroit over fuel-economy in the past.
“It’s become really hard for the companies to say they can’t achieve these higher standards,” said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, a group working to mitigate global warming. “I endorse Marchionne’s truth-telling. These new guys get it.”
Even the United Auto Workers union has shifted course and backed the new fuel rules, rather than bemoaning the potential job losses resulting from government mandates.
Bob King, who was elected the union’s president last year, said the U.A.W. was an “ally with environmentalists” and that he expected higher mileage rules to create new jobs in Detroit’s factories.
“They recognize that if you are adding technology to these vehicles, it should be their members who are doing it,” said Mr. Becker. ...