Bush Visits Hybrid Vehicle Plants In Missouri

President pushing for production of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

CLAYCOMO, Missouri (AP) - U.S. President George W. Bush made a rare visit to two auto manufacturing plants that make hybrid vehicles, continuing his recent push for production of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The president, who offended some automakers last year when he said they needed to make ''a product that's relevant,'' visited the General Motors' Fairfax plant and Ford Motor Co.'s Kansas City Assembly Plant.

Hybrid vehicles would help meet the president's goal of reducing U.S. fuel demand by 20 percent during the next decade.

The GM plant assembles the Saturn Aura and the Aura Green Line, which is an electric-gasoline hybrid. The Ford plant makes the hybrid versions of the Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs.

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Tony Snow was asked whether the president still felt U.S. auto companies were not making ''relevant'' products.

Snow did not address the point directly but said the president was visiting the two facilities because they were examples of plants that were adjusting ''to the changing competitive challenges around the world."

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