With oil prices again near $50 a barrel and Detroit socked with both declining market share and profit-eating incentive wars on their bread-and-butter vehicles, America's Big Three face an unprecedented competitive challenge. The only way to regain leadership and protect thousands of high-paying jobs is to meet this "perfect storm" with high performance, high efficiency hybrid technology, NRDC's chief auto analyst told the Automotive News World Congress.

"This is a do-or-die situation for a vital American industry. We cannot afford to lose the fight," said Roland Hwang, Vehicles Policy Director at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "The answer is simple: Compete. Build the best damn cars and trucks in the world, and build them with the clean, efficient technology the market needs now. That means hybrids."


NRDC is extending a hand to carmakers to find new solutions to the challenge, Hwang said. Opportunities include new incentives for companies and customers investing in more efficient solutions.

"We need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. We need to invest in America's factories, rather than sending our dollars overseas to oil-rich areas of the world that are unstable and increasingly hostile to our country," Hwang said. "That means we need to end the stand-off and start delivering real solutions."

More than 800,000 people converging on Detroit this week for the 2005 North American International Auto Show will have seen the ads on Detroit television stations as well as on two Jumbotron screens outside Cobo Hall, site of the show. The new spots cheer on industry efforts to deliver hybrid solutions, saying "Do it for jobs, do it for security, or just do it to lead the industry."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment.