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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have traveled this road before
LARRY RINGLER
Tribune Chronicle

In 1973, Detroit was making tons of money with Big Iron - massive Cadillacs, Lincolns that seemed to stretch for a city block - and tire-burning muscle cars like Chevrolet's Camaro and Dodge's Challenger.
General Motors Corp., Ford and Chrysler made the big boats because that was what people wanted - and because the automakers made tons of profit on them. They sneered at the little Japanese cars just hitting the California coast. Who'd buy those tin cans, they laughed.

The Arab oil embargo showed them who: You and me. With gas at record high prices - if you could get it - people abandoned Detroit's behemoths in favor of Japan's midgets.

GM, Ford and others rushed their own cars into the factories. The results included the Chevrolet Vega, which triggered the Blue Collar Blues at GM's Lordstown Assembly Plant when GM racheted up production of the ill-fated car in a panicked attempt to stem the Japanese tide.

Well, guess what. The Japanese are landing again, this time with hybrid electric-gasoline cars. And what are GM and Ford doing? Fiddling with fuel cell cars that don't even have a refueling system in place.

These Japanese cars are knocking out 50 miles per gallon on gasoline and electricity - two energy sources we have right now.

Meanwhile, Detroit keeps pumping out SUVs and big, honking trucks that get 15 miles to the gallon going downhill with a stiff wind behind them.

The only thing I can figure is Detroit believes high gas prices will be temporary, so there's no need to focus on hybrids for the masses. Perhaps they're right. But is our most important industry really willing to cede the future of fuel-efficient vehicles to the Japanese again?

U.S. automakers are taking some steps. GM diesel-electric engines will be used on Seattle buses next month. The company wants to create the nation's largest fleet of such buses.

GM also is putting hybrid power into some pickup trucks, apparently believing buyers will see small cars as fuel efficient enough with gasoline engines.

And the company is making progress with fuel cells. Its HydroGen 3 car is breaking distance records on a European run from Norway to Portugal, a distance of some 6,200 miles.

Of course, traditional gasoline engines are getting better all the time. Chevrolet hasn't released gas mileage figures for the premium Chevrolet Cobalt small car that will be made at GM's Lordstown Complex, but no doubt they'll be respectable. Chevy also has its sub-compact Aveo that sips gasoline.

The problem with that is, just as in the 1973 Japanese invasion, buyers who get a taste of 50 miles per gallon in small cars will be apt to stay with the same company when they move up to bigger, most expensive - and higher profit - vehicles.

Full Article Here

 

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Originally posted by Ming@Jun 7 2004, 11:57 AM
These Japanese cars are knocking out 50 miles per gallon on gasoline and electricity - two energy sources we have right now.
Huh? This guy obviously did not get the memo about actual performance being somewhat less than claimed.
 

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Yeah, and he seemed to have conveniently overlooked GM's natural gas-powered Pontiac Grand Am, which although delivers average gas mileage with good performance, is cheaper to keep fueled up due to the fact that natural gas is half the price of regular octane. Yes, more miles for your buck than any overhyped Japanese hybrid, without all those nasty batteries to poison the environment. And it burns clean, too.
 

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He's truly an automotive expert. :rolleyes: Yes, the Vega was rushed into production in response to the 1973 oil embargo. Of course, GM somehow knew that the embargo was coming and actually put it into production 3 years prior to that...
 

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I don't get this Hybrid craze, they may claim to get 50 miles to a gallon on a good day in optimal conditions. But this is still not close to the 60 - 65 mpg that diesel cars have been getting for the last decade. These diesels may produce smog on the current diesel but Canada is going to start producing low - sulphar diesel which pretty much eliminates the smog causing agents. Europe already has this diesel, which is why when their diesels come over the fuel system has to be recalibrated to use our "dirty diesels". The big point here is that diesel is cheaper by 30 cents a litre, ( Red Deer, Alberta), so you get more fuel efficient engines and cheaper fuel. Besides the initial cost of buying a diesel engine why isn't every using diesel power? :huh:
 

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While I can understand the gist of the article, I don't think the two timeframes exactly parallel each other. The last time I checked, the Japanese were making moves in Canton and San Antonio to add capacity for... large trucks. To my knowledge (and I could be wrong), the Titan, Armada, QX56, Quest, and next generation Tundra don't exactly sip gasoline, and the combined sales of these vehicles dwarf the sales of their hybrid sister cars.

Additionally, I would hardly consider the folks in Detroit as ill-equipped to counter the Japanese as they were in 1973. The article at least pays some homage to that point.
 

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The Japanese are landing again, this time with hybrid electric-gasoline cars. And what are GM and Ford doing? Fiddling with fuel cell cars that don't even have a refueling system in place.
The rest of the article is a rehash of what I've seen elsewhere, but I'm glad he came out and said the second part --- GM is "fiddling" with Fuel Cell cars, and other technology that always seems to be a year away from implementation on a wide-scale. I don't know why he included Ford - they have the hybrid escape...

I'm tired of the excuses and half-hearted tech like DOD that will give you 1 more mile per gallon (DOD as a concept is great, but the fuel savings is disappointing for shutting down half of the cylinders). GM is the worlds largest automaker - time for it to start acting like it and give Toyohonda a spanking. Unlike the EV1, GM doesn't have to worry about hybrids not catching on.

I've said it before, but if they can put hybrid assist engines in Silverados they should be going in to Suburbans, too. DOD, hybrid assist, a 5 or 6 speed auto - these things could add up to some real fuel savings.

Hydrogen powered cars are as useless as the EV1 was if you can't make cross country trips and fill up anywhere.
 

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He's truly an automotive expert.  Yes, the Vega was rushed into production in response to the 1973 oil embargo. Of course, GM somehow knew that the embargo was coming and actually put it into production 3 years prior to that...


Yeah....and GM knew so far in advance it began planning for the Vega with the New Small Car project GM began in 1968. I cant stand it when eggheads like this try to pretend that they know anything about automobiles, automotive history or anything automotive related. It better to keep your mouth shut and have people assume that you are a dumba$$ rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.


There was an oil crisis in 1973 and 1979, which on top of an increase in the price of gasoline also resulted in long gas lines at dealerships, where people would line up sometimes before dawn to get gas into their 8-10 mpg daily drivers. In some states gas was rationed by the number your licsence plate began with, odd numbers on one day, even numbers on another. So on top of the increase in price, people also had to deal with long lines that consumed their time and made them late for the Disco.

So when consumers were offerd smaller cars that were able to acheive greater MPG numbers, which allowed them to drive more and spend less time in gas lines, people jumped in on it.


Today, although there has been a price increase, there are no gas lines, I can gas up my SUV or pick-up, which gets better gas milliage than pretty much any average full-size family car of the 1970's, at any time, no lines. So the parallel the he draws to the Arab Oil Embargo is not acurate.

During the early 1980's when President Regan and Allan Greenspan vowed to break the back of inflation by boosting interest rates, gas prices rose to some of the highest levels ever, in fact, inflation adjusted, gas prices per gallon in 1981 were higher than they are today. In the early 1980's people were predicting that gasoline would be more than $3.00 per gallon by 1985, but just the opposite happend, gas prices actually went into a free fall, and people jumped back into big cars and high performance cars again.

The real fact of the matter is that people are still buying SUVs and pick-ups. Yes some manufacturers have had to offer rebates on their trucks, but there are a large number of people out there that want them, hence why Toyota sells more Sequoias and Tundras, than Priuses and Echos.
 

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You guys are missing the point, not many of us are getting EPA milage out of our "Big 3" vehicles... The ricers are here with salable, apparently high quality highbred cars and trucks. We're making excuses again, for those of us old enough to remember it's the same Bull S**t we heard the first time, etc. etc... The S*B's that let them get so far ahead of us again ought to have their n*ts nailed on a wall. Everybody's so happy about sales jumps in May yet the Asians had even better increases. I haven't seen market share numbers yet but as long as they slip we're loosing the War May Malibu numbers should have Detriot spinning, not just thinking up more excuses.
 

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Something I forgot, I drive an '04 Escalade, I just put $34 USD in it when it was reading half full. (@ $2.05 a gallon). I'm not changing vacation plans or running out to trade it in. But at $35 to $50 dollars a tank my love of big SUV's is eroding one tank at a time.
 

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What people also don't realize is that they are getting ripped off when buying hybrids. Take the Honda Civic which averages 33 mpg anyways. The Civic Hybrid (which claims an average around 46 mpg but as we all know really averages about 38 mpg) costs like $2000-3000 more (i think) than the regular Civic.

Welcome to Math 101. For $2000 more, you can get 5 extra miles per gallon. With the Honda's little 10 gallon tank, thats 50 extra miles, which equates to 1.5 more gallons used than the Hybrid would have, or $3 extra bucks (now). You'd have to fill up ~667 times to offest the extra cash you dished out for Hybrid Technology. Assuming a once-per-week fill up frequency, you'd have to wait 4669 days (almost 13 YEARS) until you see a return on your investment. Now let's say the government gives you a tax break of $1000, you'd still have to wait about 6 years. Since Hybrids will improve, you'll probably upgrade, and put yourself deeper into the hole!!!!

Hybrids = :plasma:
 

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Originally posted by mrfunji@Jun 7 2004, 08:15 PM
What people also don't realize is that they are getting ripped off when buying hybrids. Take the Honda Civic which averages 33 mpg anyways. The Civic Hybrid (which claims an average around 46 mpg but as we all know really averages about 38 mpg) costs like $2000-3000 more (i think) than the regular Civic.

Welcome to Math 101. For $2000 more, you can get 5 extra miles per gallon. With the Honda's little 10 gallon tank, thats 50 extra miles, which equates to 1.5 more gallons used than the Hybrid would have, or $3 extra bucks (now). You'd have to fill up ~667 times to offest the extra cash you dished out for Hybrid Technology. Assuming a once-per-week fill up frequency, you'd have to wait 4669 days (almost 13 YEARS) until you see a return on your investment. Now let's say the government gives you a tax break of $1000, you'd still have to wait about 6 years. Since Hybrids will improve, you'll probably upgrade, and put yourself deeper into the hole!!!!

Hybrids = :plasma:
Werd! B)
 

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It's simple, the ***'s do NOT make any money on these hybrids. They wont be selling the vehicles in volume. GM is going to stick with what sells and sells for a profit.

As for fuel cells, GM is trying to develop something new. If it works they will have the market cornered.
 

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Originally posted by jwvrod@Jun 7 2004, 09:16 PM
It's simple, the ***'s do NOT make any money on these hybrids. They wont be selling the vehicles in volume. GM is going to stick with what sells and sells for a profit.

As for fuel cells, GM is trying to develop something new. If it works they will have the market cornered.
My thoughts exactly! Like I"ve said before, right now hybrids don't make economic sense. If you sell a product that you lose money on in a capitalistic society, you will go bankrupt. I'm sure the general has hybrid research going on and will implement it only when it is cost-effective.
 

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Don't forget! Toyota is a GREEN company. Nevermind that the Toyota Sequoia gets anywhere between 14 and 18MPG or anything. <_<
 

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Unfortunately, consumers are stupid and refuse to see the facts.

My dad was looking for a new car, since the old car (a beautiful Mazda 626 from '87. I loved that car *snif*)

Anyway, he couldn't understand how the Pontiac Grand Prix, with its "OMG AMERIKKAN PUTCHERODE POS ENGINE SI TEH SUCK, YO!!!111" 3800 could get better gas mileage than a 2.5L, MAD TYTE VTACHH DOHC 4banger nissan Altima

He thought the GP's gas mileage was in the 17s.

Anyway, we rented a sunfire and he drove mostly on the highway and he went a week, and had 1/4 tank left. With his 2nd car, a 1.8L Mazda Protege, he'd have to fill up by thursday.

Needless to say, the sunfire defied his expectations in both fuel economy and performance (ecotec=stout little motor)

ALas, this was not enough to rid him of his ***-centric obsessions, which originated from marketing BS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Needless to say, the sunfire defied his expectations in both fuel economy and performance (ecotec=stout little motor)

ALas, this was not enough to rid him of his ***-centric obsessions, which originated from marketing BS.
A rental grade Sunfire interior is nothjng to "seal the deal", as interiors are known to do.

A Cobalt, even with the base engine, would have made a better overall impression, I think.
 

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Agreed. GM now needs to really launch an ad program to show off the fuel-savyness of there present non-hybrid cars. They dont show that at all. They dont show the near 40mpg Aveo for thousands less then a Civic.
They dont show that the "green" Toyota also makes gas guzzling SUV's.
They need to show that the sedans get better gas milage on regular gas then *** cars get with preimium gas. They need a real smear campaign. Total catch America off guard with it. To a point, this aritlce is right as far as the mentality of Americans.
GM, Ford, DCX= gas guzzling machines
Honda, Toyota, Nissan= flowers grow from the side of the block.
I think that GM could do a lot of damage to the *** Big 3 with just ads. GM doesnt show the cars advantages, they just try to force it on to people. Show off the quality and economy of the cars. Thats what people want. They dont want to talk to people like me (service writer) month after month fixing the problems that GM made.
 

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Well this is a little off the subject but America is supremely spoiled with gas prices. I've chatted with people from England and their gas prices are ridiculous, of course this is because I am used to paying half as much for the same chemical compound. The main reason Euro/asian auto makers have better MPG engines is because they have to. Is Nissan even selling their Titans in Asia?? Tundra or Armada......?

Even though I would prefer to pay less, we have to realize that gas doesn't grow on trees and even though it would take hundreds of years (not an exact figure) to use up all the oil supplies, Hybrid or alternative fuel sources would still be worth looking into.

i don't think an all out assortment of hybrid cars is the answer but the option to have one... if you so choose.... sounds good.

I'd rather have a power/efficiency adder like a super or turbo charger then a huge electric battery anyday.
 

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I think it's backwards to say the U.S. is spoiled with gas prices. Our gas prices are just more realistic. Our gas taxes are supposedly enough to cover highway maintenance and emission cleanups and things like that. Europe's gas taxes seem purely punitive to me. If there's one thing I hate, it's big brother telling me what and how to drive when there is no environmental or economic reason for it.
 
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