GM and Ford respond to the Energy Bill’s new CAFE standards

The Energy Bill was sent to President Bush — a cold shock to the Big Detroit automakers who have held CAFE standards at bay for the better part of 35 years. While a few opposing lawmakers are still using the stale, bogus line that cars and trucks will cost $10,000-$15,000 more because of the increased standards, now that it’s a done deal, GM and Ford have different PR messages.

First — GM:

Statement From Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO, General Motors Regarding House Passage of Energy Bill

GM commends the Congress and President for passage of an energy bill. The new fuel economy standards within the bill set a tough, national target that GM will strive to meet. We will focus our engineering and technical resources to attain these standards and we remain hard at work applying the innovation and developing the advanced technologies that will power tomorrow’s cars and trucks. Addressing the nation’s energy security challenges, however, will require all of us working together and we hope to see continued progress on infrastructure and market-driven mechanisms that can augment the auto industry’s efforts.

Background

* GM has an established track record of innovation and a commitment to improving the fuel economy in its cars and trucks. Years of engineering and development, and billions of research dollars have produced the GM vehicles that you see on the road today. Currently, GM offers more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg on the highway, more flex fuel vehicles that can run on E85, and groundbreaking technology such as GM’s two-mode hybrid system found in our full-size light trucks. Far from standing still, GM has more cars and trucks on the way that will offer the broadest line-up of “green” technology.

Here’s how GM plans to lead the industry:

* GM will continue to improve the internal combustion engine, and to dramatically intensify its efforts to displace petroleum fuels with bio-fuel alternatives such as ethanol–the best, near-term solution to actually reduce gasoline consumption. GM alone has produced over 2.5 million E-85 capable vehicles to date–more than any other automaker.

* GM is also releasing an average of one new hybrid model every three months for the next two years that includes the Saturn Vue and Aura Green Line, and Chevrolet Malibu. This year, we’ve introduced the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon two-mode hybrid (the only hybrid system developed and built in the U.S. at our Baltimore, MD transmission plant) that get a 50% improvement in city mileage over gas versions. This level of performance earned the Chevy Tahoe two-mode hybrid the “Green Car of the Year” award at the LA Auto Show. For next year, we’ll be launching three additional two-mode hybrid versions of the Cadillac Escalade, and Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pick-ups.

* In addition, GM is significantly expanding its development work on electrically driven vehicles like the Chevy Volt and Chevy Equinox fuel cell vehicle. This year GM launched Project Driveway, the world’s largest test fleet of fuel cell vehicles, that will have 100 Chevy Equinox fuel cell vehicles distributed in California, New York and Washington, DC. Also this year, two advanced battery development contracts were announced and in August, GM and A123Systems announced an additional agreement to speed development of batteries specifically designed for the Chevy Volt’s extended range electrical powertrain.

Now here’s the word from the Blue Oval crew:
FORD COMMENT ON CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF NEW CAFE STANDARDS AND THE ENERGY BILL

The following is a statement from Ford Motor Company on the final passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by Congress:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2007 — “Ford has worked with lawmakers to enact nationwide requirements that provide a significant increase in fuel economy while protecting consumers’ choices of cars, SUVs and light trucks. We are working to do our part to help reduce greenhouse gases and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

This legislation will provide one clear requirement for increasing fuel economy and provide greater certainty for our product planning. Ford is committed to providing safer, more fuel efficient, quality products – in high volume – that customers want and value.”

No press release can beat the positive PR received by Toyota, when Congress sent the bill to the White House in a Prius — illustrating that American lawmakers couldn’t find a true icon of fuel savings locally.

Henry Ford and Crapo Durant must be spinning in their graves!

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3 Responses to GM and Ford respond to the Energy Bill’s new CAFE standards

  1. Bobby says:

    Dang it, how about just bringing back the electric car already? This is not rocket science.

  2. Bobby,
    The good news is that all major manufacturers are working on electric cars of some type. The bad news is that the same issue that plagued the Baker and Detroit Electric cars of the early 1900s still is in play: range.

    In some ways this is much harder than rocket science. The mass market will simply not accept electric cars until batteries can provide the usability of a gas-powered vehicle. This means that one can travel between major cities (300-500 miles) with no more than 30 minutes to fully recharge.

    The fact of the matter is that if electric cars cannot provide the benefit of a “road trip”, then consumers must have both an electric car for daily transport and an additional vehicle for taking the kids to the grandparents on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This also means an additional garage space, insurance payment etc…

    So it is somewhat complicated…

    …But I will agree that it is insane that it has taken the industry this long to try to address the issue. Certainly 100 years is enough time to find a solution. The money, however, wasn’t there, so manufacturers didn’t care.

    Now that their revenues depend on it, you’ll start seeing some much more interesting electric-based vehicles.

  3. JOE FETZ says:

    Electric cars are a joke when the power generating the electricity is from fossil fuels. Unless you’re generating electricity from nuke or other sources electric cars are a @#$$%%% joke.

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