Just a week apart, two high-profile leaders put restraint aside and showed allegiances to particular automakers—in this case, Honda and Ford—for their green-car efforts.
This past Wednesday, as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke at a Shell station in Los Angeles, just after the launch of the 2009 Hydrogen Road Tour, he called the Honda Clarity, which is now being leased in Southern California on a limited basis, “a wonderful hydrogen vehicle.” Schwarzenegger, who had a demonstration Clarity for a few days, according to USA Today, went on to make it veritable love fest for Honda, saying, “I love that car. As a matter of fact, we’re all fighting over who is driving it; my daughters want to drive it all the time and take it away from me.”
Take that, Jamie Lee Curtis.
That’s arguably just as good as the kick Ford got the week earlier from President Obama. He was quoted by the New York Times as saying, just as he was leaving the podium after his big fuel-economy announcement. “By the way, I just want to mention, I think I still have my Ford parked in Chicago. It’s a Ford hybrid. It runs great. You guys should take a look.”
Ford CEO Alan Mulally was present; he grinned and pumped his fist, according to the Times, in a “classic Mulally gesture.”
As Ford is the only one of the Detroit automakers that hasn’t yet accepted aid from the federal government (or, soon we’ll be able to say, gone bankrupt), Obama has other cause to show Mulally some favor.