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Originally Posted by SobeSVT

GM chairman says Americans didn't want fuel-efficient vehicles

General Motors Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Rick Wagoner said customers didn't want fuel-efficient cars back when gas wasn't so expensive.

"We have to build cars and trucks that people want to buy," Wagoner said during a keynote address to the Dallas Regional Chamber on Thursday.

But with the United States' in the midst of a housing slump, credit crisis and gas prices averaging more than $4 a gallon, Wagoner said the automaker is seeing a drop in demand and a change in the vehicles consumers are buying from large trucks and SUVS to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

GM's annual unit sales have dropped from last year's 17 million to this year's average rate of 15 million units. The number has been at a rate of 13 million annual units over the past three months, when gas prices shot up to more than $4 a gallon.

Wagoner said that current conditions have produced "a bit of a rough stretch for the U.S. auto industry in the near term," but when asked whether media reports that the company is at risk for filing bankruptcy, Wagoner said that these reports were "not at all constructive or accurate."

Wagoner said the nation must be willing to commit to a long-term strategy to dig the country out of its energy crisis, saying that consumers "must be willing to pay for better fuel economy."

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