COMMENTS: Back to the Future

The Ford Motors plant in Dearborn that Chris Bury toured for ABC's The Real 24 series is "the very complex where Henry Ford built his once-might empire." He showed us the very bridge where "70 years ago union organizers died battling company cops." The plant now completes the assembly of one pick-up truck every minute--more than 1,000 each day. And with Toyota gaining market share "the pressure is on." A line supervisor almost came to tears when she described having to move to Dearborn from Virginia because Ford closed the plant in Norfolk where she worked for 13 years.

The automobile industry in China manufactures 5.2m vehicles annually for domestic sale and export to Asian markets like Iran, CNBC's automobile correspondent Phil LeBeau told us on NBC. However its safety standards are not yet strong enough to survive American crash tests. Geely is one of the brands that has models on display at the Detroit Show. Expect imports to begin within five years.

On CBS, Cynthia Bowers covered the partnership between General Motors and Coskata, the alternative fuels firm. Yes, Bowers reported, cars may run on diesel or hybrid or hydrogen or electric or ethanol. Coskata says it can "make gas out of garbage" just like in the movie Back to the Future. "Within three years we should be able to use landfills to fill up."


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