Energy

New Efficiency Standards Will Save GM from its Own Stupidity

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 13, 2007

An article in yesterday's Toronto Star reports on the US auto industry's response to proposed increases in fuel economy standards.

According to GM vice-chair Bob Lutz, the new legislation, which would ultimately also affect vehicles sold in Canada, will wreak havoc with the automaker's existing product plans.

Boo hoo. GM's product plans are completely out of touch with reality. Sinking money into a product strategy based on large SUVs and high horsepower, rear wheel drive muscle cars is almost criminally myopic in a world of declining energy production and escalating climate change.

Honestly, the US Congress would be doing GM a favour by forcing them to make vehicles that are less asinine.

It's not a coincidence that the automakers with the strongest sales and highest profits are also operating in markets with the toughest regulations.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:35:05

I love listening to the Autoworkers Union and the NDP whine about losing profits because of imports and them wanting to sell their vehicles in other countries. I say go nuts, no one will buy them. Domestic automakers are largely out of touch with reality and if they brought their cars to other countries, they'd end up losing money. It's the American market that needs large gas guzzling poorly constructed vehicles (I say poorly constructed because they have to be cheap as well as big) with engines that if given to any other company would generate much more b.h.p. than what American automakers can get out of them...not to mention they're incredibly heavy! No one else wants to buy them.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:50:44

I think it's instructive that American automakers are not allowed to sell vehicles in China because they don't meet Chinese standards.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 11:12:23

C'mon Frank, the unions may whine but what exactly do they have to do with choosing the product line? Blame where blame is due, that is, management.

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By Balance (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 21:28:38

I have a GM and a Honda. Both are great vehicles. I've never thought one is better then the other. In Brazil GM is one of the most popular brands of vehicles. To be fair, "The American" cars should be able to be sold whereever North Americans import cars from. Due to globalization, I truly don't believe that there are any cars built that are truly only American. IE. The Ford Ranger pick up is exactly the same as the Mazda pick up. John Deere excavators are exactly the same as Hitachi.

GM is supplying the North American automarket with what they want. In Brazil they are doing the same with fuel efficient vehicles.

As consumers and manufacturers, we should be able to export our products to whereever we import products from and let the market decide. Government should not be involved.

Just some rambling.

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By David (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2008 at 03:50:17

It's clear what GM has been doing - with the rest of the world building efficient vehicles which GM can't compete with, they decided they will build what the select few wanted but couldn't get anywhere else - hemis and Hummers. But as Ryan suggests, that will be a short-term market. If the ruins of downtown Detriot (sic) stand testiment to their wisdom, can we expect anything better now?

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