- auto industry - Barack Obama - USA
AFP - In a bid to help battered US automakers, President Barack Obama announced Thursday he was accelerating the government's purchase of 17,600 new US-made, fuel-efficient vehicles.
"This is only a first step, but I will continue to ensure that we are working to support the American auto industry during this difficult period of restructuring," he said in a statement released by the White House.
The US government's General Services Administration (GSA) will spend about 285 million dollars in economic stimulus monies to buy the vehicles from General Motors, Chrysler and Ford by June 1, the White House said.
The purchase includes 2,500 hybrid sedans to be ordered by April 15, the largest single hybrid vehicle order in US government history, which will cut gasoline consumption by 1.3 million gallons per year and keep 26 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, it said.
"This move will help stimulate the economy, support the auto industry, and achieve energy-efficiency goals," according to the White House, which said Obama had made the decision on March 30.
The government has pumped billions of dollars into GM and Chrysler in recent months in a bid to keep the auto giants afloat.
But Obama has warned the two firms could still face bankruptcy if they do not come up with viable plans to return to profitability.