(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the son of a former auto executive with deep ties to Detroit, told CNN Wednesday the U.S. government should not bailout the country's big three automakers.
"The U.S. auto industry right now is uncompetitive. It has high labor cost, health care costs and legacy costs, retiree costs. Enormous burdens for idle workers. Real estate costs. Massive burdens that make it uncompetitive and to pay it to stay in business would mean down the road more and more loss of market share," said Romney, who as a presidential candidate pledged to save auto jobs in Detroit - comments that may have helped propel him to victory in that state's primary.
"What needs to be done before there's any help to support these companies is to get them structured properly so they can be competitive and viable," Romney also said. "We won't let these companies go away. We won't have the industry disappear. We want to make sure to take advantage of the opportunity right now to get them restructured properly so they can be viable long term."
Romney's comments echo a New York Times op-ed he wrote for the paper's Wednesday edition, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
In the op-ed, Romney says U.S. car-makers must negotiate new labor agreements to match the lower wages and benefits of foreign competitors. He also advocates recruiting new management from unrelated companies and investing in innovative technologies.
"The best way to save jobs in the Detroit auto industry and to grow jobs is to get these companies to the proper scale so they will be able to be competitive long term, creating more jobs and build a highly competitive U.S. Auto industry," Romney told CNN Wednesday morning.
Romney's father, George Romney, is credited with turning around the American Motor Company in the 1950's.