[If you are interested to know how to contribute to the process of 'redefining the automobile' and make money in the process, then check out the blue section on page 3]
Here's my suggestion for a double whammy: develop and build Saturn and Saab equivalents and have it marketed and sold on both sides of the Atlantic as Saturn Zenith and Saab 92.
Why try to beat the Japanese at their hybrid game if you can come up with a genuine new-generation vehicle that easily scores 75-110 mpg? Lightweight allows for lean, sustainable manufacturing and savings that may actually raise profit margins!!! The so-called Space-Efficient Vehicle would also be an excellent export product, particularly to countries that cope with severe air pollution and outdated, inflexible infrastructures. It is sleek enough to let authorities utilize parking facilities and freeways far more efficiently. No more asphalt required at the expense of our living environment. Of course, electric propulsion would also be possible.
With the front looks of a regular car and the rear cowling reminiscent of the tail of a big motorcycle cruiser, the three-seater SEV (most commuters drive alone anyway!) simply falls in to a new category. What we see is a front-wheel drive, semi-tricycle arrangement: two wheels at the front and two 'clustered' more closely at the rear. This provides better protection against rear impacts and better steering input due to a natural swiveling ability. The wheel layout enables a long wheelbase (comfort!) relative to overall length and a streamlined shape (economy!), which in turn gives the driver superior 360-degree visibility, especially to the rear. There's no passenger next to the driver to block his side view.
Why not spice-up GM's Saturn brand? Or have Saab take this 'crossover' in production as a successor to the ol' 96? Perhaps in the near future we all will ask ourselves: "Why did we ever drive cars the size of a teenager's room, with a weight of 20 to 30 times the weight of the driver?"