Auto sales in the US dropped to a ten-year low last month, and America's Big Three are in trouble. GM, Chrysler and Ford make big profits on big vehicles with big engines, but more and more customers are thinking small, and $4 a gallon gasoline may signal the end of an era. Is there a Kia in your future? Also, President Bush challenges G-8 leaders to make good on the promise to developing nations, and Barack Obama and faith in the public square.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Urban cowboys in pickups and SUV's are a thing of the past. More and more customers don't even talk about power any more. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors were not ready for four-dollar gasoline, and June was another disaster for an industry that helped make America great, with sales of new cars and trucks that plunged to a ten-year low. GM dropped 18%; Ford 28% and Chrysler 36%. Toyota took a 21% hit, but Honda rose by 1.1 and Kia, owned by Hyundai of South Korea, went up by 7.6. We talk with a Chrysler/Jeep dealer who says the Big Three are their own worst enemy. Can they re-tool in time? Can they figure out how to make money on small cars with high mileage before they're swamped by foreign companies who saw the light a long time ago?
At a news conference at the White house today, President Bush conceded, "It's been a tough month in Afghanistan." He was asked about speculation that Israel might attack Iran. The President leaves this weekend for the G-8 summit in Japan. At the Pentagon, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, also addressed the issue of a possible attack by Israel on Iran. Daniel Dombey reports from the White House for the Financial Times.
President Bush's faith-based initiative has been mired in controversy. Aides have resigned, claiming it's more about Republican politics than religion or social service. Today, talking about his own experience with church groups in Chicago, Barack Obama says he can do it better. Robert Wineburg, professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is author of Faith-Based Inefficiencies: The Follies of Bush's Initiatives.
Robert Wineburg, Professor of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Greensboro