President Obama’s automobile task force is in Michigan this week to assess the so-called “viability plans” of Chrysler and General Motors. The task force already has determined not to recall the $17 billion in government loans approved by the Bush Administration, and have emphasized that bankruptcy is not their preferred option. But their final decisions won’t be made until end of this month. Meanwhile, auto sales are in free fall, especially among the gasoline-saving hybrids beloved by politicians who want the industry to turn “green.” How important is the price of gas? How difficult is getting a loan? Are car sales tied to housing? We talk with the world’s biggest Ford dealer and others about the present and future of the automobile. What would “an intelligent transportation system” look like?