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#504 of 543 Re: the King has been dethroned [nippononly]
Jun 04, 2008 (8:44 am)
Yeah, I saw those articles too. They really have nothing to do with this law though; the trend away trucks is due to current market forces.
This new CAFE law is already obsolete, as the average mpg will rise quicker and further than this law sets as a goal.
#505 of 543 Re: the King has been dethroned [kernick]
Jun 05, 2008 (6:58 am)
Yeah, that's kind of what I was trying to point out. I guess I didn't need to copy over the whole article to accomplish that, eh?
Jul 01, 2008 (5:23 pm)
The automakers went to Washington to go whaa whaa whaa about the schedule of fuel economy increases they must meet by 2015.
http://www.autonews.com/article/20080701/ANA02/527230349/1128/emailblast02&Profi- - le=1128
"The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reconsider its plan to raise standards by 4.5 percent a year during the 2011-15 model years.
By 2015, under the plan, cars would have to average about 35.7 mpg and trucks would have to average about 28.6 mpg -- about 25 percent higher overall than today.
The proposal "would require manufacturers to expend resources at a pace that is excessive given the fact that the auto industry is already under economic stress," the alliance said in formal comments reacting to preliminary rules NHTSA unveiled in April."
I find it ironic that many of the automakers are partly or mostly under economic stress because the fuel economy of their vehicles sucks so bad. If only they would comply with the new regs, their economic stress would likely decrease significantly!
#507 of 543 Re: did you hear? [nippononly]
Jul 02, 2008 (3:22 am)
Their trip to the nation's capital has little to do with fuel economy. They're not so much crying about the new CAFE standards, as laying the groundwork for a bailout.
GM stock is at $12 per share -- a 40 year low. Ford is languishing around $5 per share. The execs see the meteor coming, and they want the taxpayers to give them shelter.
However, unlike Chrysler in the 1980s, the Big 3 have fired so many workers in the United States, along with moving so many factories to foreign countries, that they'll have a tough time convincing folks that a bailout is "good for American workers."
The upcoming dog and pony show will be interesting.
#508 of 543 Re: did you hear? [1stpik]
Jul 02, 2008 (8:44 am)
Interesting. I hadn't thought about that potential angle. I really don't think they will get their way on delaying CAFE increases anyway, now that California's GHG emissions law has passed the courts.
And I don't support a bailout. The industry has failed to contract sufficiently or quickly enough, and as they are positioned now, I think there is only room for one domestic in the car industry of the future, 20 years out. As of this moment, I am convinced that one survivor should and will be GM, and it doesn't need a bailout to accomplish that. It just needs to aggressively and unswervingly stay the course it has been on for about three years now.
#509 of 543 Re: did you hear? [nippononly]
Jul 02, 2008 (10:21 am)
"one survivor should and will be GM, and it doesn't need a bailout to accomplish that."
GM will only need a bailout if it can't secure $15 billion in financing from the private sector. How much of your money are you willing to invest in GM bonds?
#510 of 543 Re: did you hear? [1stpik]
Jul 02, 2008 (11:56 am)
Nah, they won't need a bailout. They need to get that new 2-mode hybrid in everything they possibly can, they need to get Korea cranked up to deliver new small cars with much better fuel economy than the existing ones, and in terms of long-term survival they probably need to cancel Saturn and maybe Pontiac, and make Buick a China-only brand (and dump Hummer and make Saab a Europe-only brand). Let Buick China stand on its own, from R&D through production, and if it can't make it over there then just kill the brand entirely.
And don't spend one more nickel working on replacements for the GMT900 trucks. These things were supposedly the most fabulous trucks ever built, completely redesigned less than two years ago - let them have a decade-long run and see what full-size pick-up sales look like then. I think they have already made the decision to do this.
Instead spend the money getting 50-state diesels ready for the big vehicles, new small engines including a turbo or two for smaller cars, and get fuel economy way way UP across the board.
#511 of 543 Re: did you hear? [nippononly]
Jul 02, 2008 (1:27 pm)
I would generally agree w/ everything you've said (remember, GM let their trucks go from 1973-1987 w/o a major redesign) except Buick. When GM showed the Park Ave, Riviera, and Invicta concepts in China, people here said why can't we get these here??? So, the designs definitely are a hit, and were designed by teams here AND in China. They would have a big meeting on what would work here and there, discuss it, and go to work. When the team here was done, they would leave it for the crew in China, and when they came in in the morning, they would just pick up where the Chinese left off. Kind of like a 24 hr design team. this cut costs and design time, and insured everybody was on the same page. I'm sure they could be built here AND there, as well.
#512 of 543 Re: did you hear? [cooterbfd]
Jul 02, 2008 (3:49 pm)
I hear what you are saying, but the issue with the domestics is not only fuel economy, but also way too many brands and rapidly shrinking market share. GM is the biggest offender there, and if you figure that ultimately the market will probably give about the same amount of share to GM as to Toyota, 8 brands just makes no sense (it is 8, right?). Buick sells mainly large cars and crossovers, one of which (large cars) is a segment that has seen wholesale abandonment in the last 12 months. And can you really see some huge thing like the Lucerne with a turbo 4? Nobody would want it even if GM could engineer and produce it.
One has to question the business case for GMC if the full-size segment gets down to 1 million annual units total in the U.S., which it well may (it is well on its way already). Seems like a GM with just Chevy and Cadillac for sale in the U.S. would be about right for the year 2025. I could see maybe having one more specialized brand, and maybe you could turn either Pontiac or Saturn into that brand. I know people have just gotten used to the idea of having Buick Pontiac and GMC dealers combined, but in reality all GM will really need in 20 years is Chevy - (Pontiac or Saturn) - Cadillac. And it will need more small Chevys, with Korea standing ready to provide everything smaller than an Impala, hopefully with significantly boosted fuel economy.
If they keep Buick and GMC, it will tip their product mix too much towards large cars and trucks, and that will screw up their CAFE fleet average. They don't need any more problems like that than they already have, particularly for the handful of sales Buick and GMC produce each year.
Once the California GHG legislation becomes law and the other 11-14 states follow suit, GMC and Buick will become major major liabilities (as will Hummer of course, but I bet we will see that sold off any day now). Even Pontiac and Saturn will have to change dramatically, but at least they have diverse enough product mixes not to be totally hopeless.
#513 of 543 Re: did you hear? [nippononly]
Jul 03, 2008 (3:01 pm)
I do see your point about shaving brands. Selling Hummer, and Saab, and restricting GMC to the Commercial nameplate only makes sense. Maybe one way to keep some brand names around, and successful, would be to "value price" the brands. First, instead of separating the brands at different dealerships, put them all under one roof. If someone wants a mid to large sedan, and has say $26k to spend, they should be looking at 3 brands only. That would be Chevy, Pontiac, or Saturn. now the question becomes what type of car are you looking for? If they want value, Chevy, Euro styling, Saturn, sporty, Pontiac. Currently, they would have 5 choices: Malibu, Impala, Aura, G6, or G8. By right, the Lacrosse should be above these, luring people looking for a Lexus GS, or Avalon. If they have say, $35k to spend, that is where you turn their attention to a Lacrosse, or CTS, and the Lacrosse should be BIGGER than the CTS, so they have a decision to make.
Fuel economy isn't going to be as big a deal as you think, if they are willing to put 2 mode hybrid trannys in these cars. Volume production should keep the cost to a minimum