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Bankruptcy Threat Is Necessary: Auto Nation CEO

The threat of government-backed bankruptcy is necessary to drive "breakthrough" structural changes for the auto industry, said Mike Jackson, AutoNation chairman & CEO.

"I hope they can restructure these companies without using it, but I for one say, you cannot take the thread off the table," Jackson told CNBC Tuesday.

(See the accompanying video for the complete interview.)

While the stimulus package is a good step, said Jackson, it is not the full answer to the nation's economic problems.

“We need an energy policy; we’ve never had it in 40 years,” he said. “The missing link is this idea that you can have a policy that pursues cheap gasoline for the US economy at the same time you push industry to sell fuel efficiency. The two things don’t go together.”

(See the accompanying video for the complete interview.)

Gasoline prices determine the type of vehicles that people buy and how they use them, Jackson pointed out to CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla.

“At $3 a gallon they talk about fuel efficiency; at $4 a gallon they’ll really purchase fuel efficiency; but we’re back to $2 a gallon and I’m stocked with fuel-efficient cars as far as the eye can see that nobody wants to buy,” said Jackson.

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