Driving change: Innovation is key to the future of the U.S. auto industry

December 1, 2009: 6:00 AM ET

Government needs to support research for clean energy-powered cars. But auto makers need to make their own success.

By Steve Westly and Mindy Lubber

Former California Controller Westly invests in clean tech. Photo courtesy of Westly Group

Lubber leads the Ceres coalition of investors and environmentalists. Photo: Laura Barisonzi

America's auto industry is at an unprecedented crossroads.

At the core of the debate is whether American car companies can adapt to a changing marketplace where the demand for greater fuel efficiency and cutting edge design supersedes brand loyalty and vehicle size.

The auto industry of tomorrow – which already is emerging – will be based on a different model.  It will reward innovation. It will cater to new economic realities. It will listen to customers. The question is, will it be located in the U.S., or elsewhere? More

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