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CHRYSLER HIGHLIGHTS ENVIRONMENT-SENSITIVE VEHICLE LEADERSHIP; CALLS FOR CONSUMER, GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT

 CHRYSLER HIGHLIGHTS ENVIRONMENT-SENSITIVE VEHICLE LEADERSHIP;
 CALLS FOR CONSUMER, GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT
 SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Chrysler Corporation (NYSE: C) officials attending the nation's largest environmental products and services exposition said today that taking care of the environment is not only one of its fundamental responsibilities, but also an important part of being competitive.
 However, without a stable, long-term commitment from industry, consumers and government, the benefits of environment-sensitive vehicles may never be realized, according to Ronald R. Boltz, vice president of Product Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, and Steve A. Torok, general manager of the Chrysler/Plymouth Division.
 Boltz and Torok made their remarks at a news conference kicking off the 1992 San Francisco ECO EXPO. The Chrysler officials were also joined by Charles Imbrecht, California Energy Commission chairman.
 "It isn't easy marketing environment-sensitive products for several reasons," said Torok. "There is a tremendous gap between perception and reality. Research tells us consumers want to be environmentally friendly, but they expect corporations to provide environment-friendly alternatives at little or no cost.
 "Also," he said, "the scientific basis for our strategic direction is changing rapidly while we learn about the economics of pollution prevention."
 Torok said Chrysler believes the key to success will be to stay on the leading edge without getting too far ahead of the critical-knowledge base, or worse yet, falling behind.
 "In effect," said Torok, "we're trying our best to learn and educate at the same time."
 To do this, Chrysler is evolving a communications strategy based on leading-edge technology, an educational approach toward communications and an appeal to government policy makers to do their part to create a true market.
 LEADING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY
 "We built an auto assembly plant in Detroit that this year won the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator's Award for pollution prevention excellence," said Boltz. "It's the first time the EPA awarded anything to anyone in the auto industry and we're damn proud of it. The plant, Jefferson North, is a template for the environmental practices we intend to replicate nationwide."
 Boltz said it should come as no surprise that from the award-winning plant comes the new, critically acclaimed 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
 "This new Jeep vehicle uses environment-friendly refrigerant, R134a, in ia?ir conditioning system," said Boltz. "It's also equipped with asbestos-free brake linings, has plastic components coded for recycling and uses cadmium-free fasteners.
 "We're rapidly duplicating these environmental achievements in our other products," he said.
 Chrysler's use of the non-ozone-depleting R134a refrigerant extends to its new line of family sedans -- Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid, and Eagle Vision -- and also is standard equipment on all 1993 Chrysler minivans. In all, Chrysler will build at least 750,000 vehicles using R134a for sale in the United States this year, more than any other manufacturer.
 "We're also proud to be the first auto company, domestic or foreign, capable of selling alternative-fuel vehicles in the three major categories -- methanol flexible fuel, natural gas and electric," said Boltz.
 Chrysler began production of full-size vans powered exclusively by natural gas last March; began production of methanol (M85) flexible-fuel Dodge Spirits and Plymouth Acclaims in July; and, in December, will begin production of its electric minivans.
 "Production and sale of these vehicles is an exciting development for Chrysler, but the sales are small," said Boltz. "Frankly, we as a nation are still on a very steep part of a learning curve where the benefits of all alternative fuels are concerned.
 "The primary benefits -- energy security and air quality -- are important," said Boltz. "However, with 190 million cars and trucks on the road today nationwide, these goals will not be realized without a stable, long-term commitment to the commercialization of alternative- fuel vehicles.
 "That leads eventually to people buying alternative-fuel vehicles by the millions," Boltz added. "Selling anything by the millions, even in the auto industry, is a tough job.
 "Realistically," said Boltz, "the benefits of alternative fuel use will accrue over 10 to 20 years or more."
 EDUCATIONAL APPROACH
 "One lesson has already been learned in this area," said Torok. "Saying you're 'green' can be, to say the least, risky. Demonstrating with overt actions that you are environmentally concerned is the key."
 Torok said that Chrysler sees the emergence of a strong environmental community -- one that is broad-based and with many coalitions, including a powerful emphasis from children telling their parents what ought to be done.
 "This is, in fact, a major trend in the automotive business," said Torok. "Like quality in the '80s, environment sensitivity will be a '90s imperative."
 GOVERNMENT POLICY MAKERS' ROLE
 "Chrysler and other auto manufacturers will be able to deliver environmentally clean cars and trucks, but government policy makers must do their part to create a market," added Boltz.
 "Governments can provide incentives to foster the development and sales of alternative fuels and vehicles," he said. "California is a leader in this area.
 "Tax policy would be useful by taxing alternative fuels favorably according to their environmental and energy impact," he said. "In addition, state and federal procurement practices need to be expanded to create alternative-fuel vehicle markets.
 "Finally, and perhaps most important," said Boltz, "federal energy legislation is needed to provide tax incentives to the buyers of alternative-fuel vehicles and to promote a fueling infrastructure."
 -0- 9/18/92
 /CONTACT: Mike Aberlich of Chrysler, 313-956-2142/
 (C) CO: Chrysler Corporation ST: California, Michigan IN: AUT SU:


KE-JG -- DE007 -- 1143 09/18/92 13:04 EDT
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