DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has urged California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to scuttle a plan to let certain single-occupant hybrid cars into the state's carpool lanes, calling it a "special-interest measure" that will spur sales of Asian cars.
"This special-interest measure is intended for almost exclusive use by Toyota Prius drivers," CEO Bill Ford said in a letter to Schwarzenegger last week.
The bill -- AB 2628 -- proposes that 75,000 permits be set aside to let owners of hybrid vehicles that average at least 45 mpg drive with only one occupant in carpool lanes.
Buyers of Ford's compact hybrid SUV, which is expected to be available this fall, would not qualify to drive in the carpool lanes because it gets about 36 mpg.
Toyota Motor Co.'s Prius hybrid car and Honda Motor Co.'s Civic and Insight hybrids meet the legislation's requirements.
"We are chagrined to see AB 2628 amounts to a 'Buy Japanese' bill," Ford said in the letter, which was copied to lawmakers who have yet to vote on the bill.
Calls to Schwarzenegger's office for comment were not returned.
Ford has continued to lose market share this year to Asian rivals led by Toyota.
"AB 2628 puts our workers and stockholders at a competitive disadvantage precisely when Ford is entering the hybrid market," Ford said.