President Obama's comments at a recent prime time press conference drew criticism from some domestic automakers as being inaccurate.

In his closing statements, he picked plug-in hybrids as the model for his hopes and expectations for the American car industry. No problem with his choice. Many believe that plug-ins do provide the best immediate answer to reduce fuel consumption at a reasonable cost.

However, he went on to state, "I'm not an auto engineer. I don't know how to create an affordable, well designed, plug-in hybrid, but I know if the Japanese can design an affordable, well designed plug-in hybrid then, doggone it, the American people should be able to do the same. So my job is to ask the auto industry: Why is it you guys can't do this?"

Obama's remarks drew criticism as Japan is not actually seen as a leader in the plug-in category at this time.

Many plug-in hybrids are in the testing phase such as the Ford Escape Plug-in and the Toyota Prius Plug-in, but few regular sized vehicles of the plug-in type are even available for purchase.

The real problem in Obama's remarks center around his thinking that Japan is the leader in this category. No manufacturer stands out as a leader at this point. Perhaps you could call Ford a leader with a possible Escape plug-in, a Focus plug-in, and the Transit Connect plug-in all in the works, or maybe it's General Motors with its upcoming Chevy Volt.  But there seems to be little evidence that Japan has taken a clear lead in the plug-in category.

Just because Japan leads the world in most automotive advances does not imply that they will indeed be the leader in all new technologies.

Source: Edmunds Green Car Advisor