25 June 2007

Mr. Lutz, Your Tin Foil Hat Is Ready

From The Detroit News

"This whole thing has nothing to do with energy policy, CO2 or the environment," General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told The Detroit News on Friday. "This is purely punitive; the 'big business haters' finally giving us our due for decades of 'colluding with oil companies' and 'forcing the U.S. public to buy big SUVs.'

"Make no mistake: these people hate us and want to inflict pain."

So it's come to this. the Vice Chairman of GM is complaining about black helicopters in the sky and a grand conspiracy against the domestic automakers, all because the government, who are looking after their own asses and ensuring that gas prices stay low and the trees all don't die, have decided to make CAFE have a bit more teeth.

Now, forget the arguments about CAFE, and whether it's a good thing or a bad thing for a minute.

CAFE has been around for a long time. And domestic manufacturers openly flouted the loopholes built into CAFE by spending most of their advertising and new product development dollars on trucks and SUVs, both classes of vehicles not affected by CAFE. They did this ON PURPOSE. There was no ignorance involved. They gave up markets with less margins where imports were making headway in order to take the easy road lined with SUV gold. And now that the farmer has figured out that he let the wolf take care of the chicken coop, they're pleading innocence and naivety. If it wasn't so funny, it would be disgusting.

The big problem in all of this is that the domestic manufacturers are now caught in their own endgame. No one takes them seriously anymore as purveyors of vehicles with good fuel economy, but they'll now be forced to market them. Just as the imports start taking aim at their lucrative truck market, and just as the money tree in their own backyard has started turning up rotten fruit. With less R&D money than the competition to develop new car platforms, and the competition going after the truck jugular, what next?

The obvious answer? Appeal to patriotism.

Chrysler Vice President Jason Vines, in an appearance on Mitch Albom's radio show Friday, lamented that America seems to be the only country where the government doesn't care about and protect its domestic auto industry. He said it was time to "give a damn" about an industry that creates jobs and wealth for hundreds of thousands of people.
Good sir- the government has given a 'damn' too many times in the past already. You dug your graves. Now pull yourselves out of them.


69Firebird400 said...

Jason Vines must have forgotten about the EU carbon cap proposals that are a big threat to the German and Italian automakers who build anything but compact and subcompact cars.

Anonymous said...

OK, this is a false statement: "Trucks and SUV's are not affected by CAFE"

Absolutely not true! Light trucks have a lower CAFE MPG number to attain, 20.5 mpg. So, one cannot say "not affected". Only heavy duty trucks, that are assumed to be 'commercial' are excluded, like the old Ford Excusrsions.

While I agree that Motown messed up putting eggs into SUV's 10 years ago, should not make untrue statements.


OldDood said...

You nailed Mags.

That is a well written piece and a truthful one.

Yes...sir! They played games with the loopholes and now cry foul and put the Love America B.S. in the fore front.

Is nothing sacred anymore...Can't our companies simply dig in and become inventive once again? Why must they cry about it? then try to deceive us...