JERUSALEM (Jan. 13)
Without benefit of a visit by President Bush and the heads of Detroit’s “Big Three,” Israel is doing its bit to help America’s ailing automobile industry.
Plans are afoot to change the official cars provided to Cabinet ministers from the expensive Swedish-made Volvo 740s to a mid-range American model, make as yet unspecified.
The Volvos cost over $48,000 new, compared to $35,000 for the American car. But Israeli officials see more than economic benefits from the switch.
They hope the United States will appreciate the gesture. While the number of cars involved is small, the sight of government ministers driven in American-made cars could stimulate public demand for more U.S. imports.
Israel’s three senior ministers are already driven in custom-built American cars. The Finance Ministry said the American cars under consideration for the rest are much less elaborate.