From the Ashes of General Motors Bankruptcy Rises a New Commitment for Fuel Efficiency
Posted Jun 17 2009 6:14pm
This time last year, I told you about the ridiculously inadequate requirements
for automotive fuel efficiency imposed by the government of the United States,
known as CAFE Standards. They were supposed to assure that the American
automobile fleet was as fuel efficient as possible on average. However, since
the early years of the program, the requirements themselves have been a
political hot potato. The refusal of the political party in power to institute
progressive stringency has allowed for automakers to feign an inability to
produce modern vehicles capable of more than 30 miles per gallon of fuel.
In parallel, however, was the trend in Europe, where Ford and General Motors
have lively sales forces. In Europe, automakers had no choice but to produce
efficient vehicles because if they failed to do so, their prospective customers
would patronize a competitor. In the end, a glaring contradiction took hold. We
had auto executives in the United States telling the federal government and the
people that efficient vehicles were impossible while selling impressively
efficient models in Europe.
Luckily for them, their virtual market monopoly and the cultural isolation which
Americans enjoy allowed for a diesel version of the Ford Fiesta widely available and advertised in Europe
but denied to American consumers.
That situation is about to change. The bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors
(and the many revenue woes of Ford Motor Company) have led to a sea chance
during calendar year 2009. I, for one, believe that this change can’t come fast
enough. So, if you read my blog post last year and were uncertain whether I exaggerated a bit, now you
know how right I was. The efficient models existed all along but were denied
from the American market and no bureaucrat or politician with enough power to
change the situation did a thing about it. Only when the marketplace amplified
the managerial dereliction of all 3 large American automakers which brought
these once giants of industry to their knees was the truth revealed.
It is a desperately sad commentary on the power of energy companies to occlude
the truth from millions of people for decades but at least now the truth rests
comfortably in the sun! Specifically, look for new, high-efficiency models on
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors lots next year.