Camino LS6

Lutz: No to small cars and diesel, yes to E-85

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Damn, I really want to see more diesels and small cars. Completely serious. WTF, Lutz?

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Small cars suck and are not safe. You can not make a coffin on wheels safe in a freeway crash.

Diesels, Sadly I disagree with him here as the cost of diesel is offset over the long run by the higher gas milage. Just a matter of marketing and with the right message you can change perception.

My thoughts on the topic. :)

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Small cars can be pretty darn safe. Sure, you can always make something safer when you add 500 pounds, which unfortunately the "other guy" pays for in an accident. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of s-series owners in particular walking away from very nasty accidents with little to no injuries, though.

That said, small cars can't and shouldn't be forced on people. But they should be an option. The meat of sales will still be in midsize cars.

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That article was taken out of context. Lutz is actually saying he thinks the government should raise the price of gasoline to force people into smaller cars and different types of fuel like E85. He also said this "Lutz also reiterated GM's stance that electrically driven vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries are the long-term future of the automobile industry".

Here is the whole article, from Automotive News and I also listened to his speech.

DETROIT -- General Motors sees E-85 and biofuels as the best near-term solution to lowering U.S. usage of petroleum.

But new federal fuel regulations will only mean higher vehicle prices, slower new vehicle sales and continued consumer resistance to smaller cars.

" We refuse to let the price of fuel rise gradually in the United States and therefore we fail to induce change in consumer behavior," Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman of global product development, said at the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday evening.

Lutz said while GM is working diligently on alternative solutions to gasoline such as the lithium-ion battery powered Chevrolet Volt, consumer behavior is very difficult to change. And it takes a long time. New federal regulations requiring a 35-mile-per-gallon national average by 2020 will not inspire consumers to purchase more fuel-economic vehicles.

European prices

Only gas prices at the level that Europeans pay will cause Americans to rethink their vehicles, Lutz said. Current European gasoline prices are the equivalent of about $8 a gallon, he said.

" If for the last 15 years we'd had a slow but sure rise in federal fuel taxation of, say, 15 cents a gallon per year -- that would have gradually put the customer in the equation," he said.

Over time and without any federal fuel economy regulation, the markets could have naturally and gradually transitioned Americans into smaller and more diesel-oriented vehicles, Lutz said.

" I'm not advocating tax hikes or calling for higher fuel prices, I'm just explaining the difference between the European fleet and our own," he said. " In America, instead of raising fuel prices, we'll end up having to raise new vehicle prices, because of the increased use of lightweight materials and fuel-saving technology."

That will cause more people to hang on to the vehicles they have longer, slowing down new sales growth, " which is exactly counter to the intended effect," Lutz said.

" Europeans, at their fuel prices, are willing to pay premium prices for premium small cars that deliver terrific fuel economy. That is not the case here in America, land of the big truck and big horse" and, he added, " the big American."

The new federal regulations will also fail to lower the U.S. dependency on petroleum and imported oil, Lutz said. The best near-term solution to doing that is to adopt more E-85, ethanol-burning vehicles.

" It's just common sense," Lutz said. " You don't roll over the whole fleet at once. It takes decades -- and the bigger the price disparity between the old ones and the new ones, the longer it takes."

Making a dent

GM's goal for electrically driven vehicles is attainable, but Lutz said it will take many years for those vehicles to be on the road in volumes to really make much of a dent in petroleum usage.

He argues a faster solution is E-85. There are already more than 6 million flex-fuel vehicles on the road right now in the U.S. alone. Those vehicles could be running on ethanol if it were more readily available, Lutz said.

If all the flex-fuel vehicles that GM, Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler LLC have committed to have on the road by 2020 were to run on ethanol, that could displace 29 billion gallons of gasoline annually, Lutz points out. That is roughly equivalent to 18 percent of America's projected petroleum usage in 2020, he said.

He said other benefits of E-85 include that it's better for the environment, it doesn't have to be imported and it requires little change in consumer behavior.

On the other hand, he said with diesel fuel at the same price as gasoline in the United States, there won't be many Americans willing to pay a " $3,000 to $4,000 premium" for diesel vehicles unless GM is willing to eat that cost.

:yes:Lutz also reiterated GM's stance that electrically driven vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries are the long-term future of the automobile industry. He argues that naysayers don't understand that not all lithium-ion technology is created equal.

" It's like beer. Some people say beer tastes bad. But there are many different types. U.S. beer, imported beer. You've got pilsner, ale, stout, wheat beer," Lutz said. " Some beers are better than others. Just because somebody said one particular lithium ion technology is a little bit aggressive and it's been known to cause thermal problems, does not mean they all do. The technology is advancing every day."

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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Thanks for posting the rest of that,PCS.

It's clear to me that Lutz at least understands the realities of American car-buying tastes.

That's a good thing.

It is also good to hear him pushing E-85 and other biofuels.

Logic prevails?

I hope so.

Change the fuel, not the cars.

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Diesel has more energy per gallon than gasoline or ethanol.

Diesel can be made from bio matter.

Diesel takes substantially less energy to refine than gasoline.

diesel FTW.

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Thanks for posting the rest of that,PCS.

It's clear to me that Lutz at least understands the realities of American car-buying tastes.

That's a good thing.

It is also good to hear him pushing E-85 and other biofuels.

Logic prevails?

I hope so.

Change the fuel, not the cars.

I doubt you will want to be humming around in your new Electric car either, but until then small cars with diesel will have to do.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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I doubt you will want to be humming around in your new Electric car either, but until then small cars with diesel will have to do.

Small cars will never do, diesel or otherwise.

I really have no choice about it either, I will always need my Silverado daily.

The good part is, anything else I might own needn't get high mileage.

I will always have my V8 toys.

No small cars for me, thank you.

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So more than media it is insiders (GME cough cough) who are raising the rumors of Lutz retiring, so that Pecker Subaru Forestor and cohorts can take over.

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Diesel has more energy per gallon than gasoline or ethanol.

Diesel can be made from bio matter.

Diesel takes substantially less energy to refine than gasoline.

diesel FTW.

You forgot one: diesel can be subsidized by being taxed less than gasoline, making it easier to recoup higher MSRP for diesel cars. That's an important part of the economics of diesel popularity here in Europe. :AH-HA_wink:

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Small cars will never do, diesel or otherwise.

I really have no choice about it either, I will always need my Silverado daily.

The good part is, anything else I might own needn't get high mileage.

I will always have my V8 toys.

No small cars for me, thank you.

You may change your mind when gas prices are 8 bucks or more a gallon like the Europeans, you just may cry UNCLE!

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You may change your mind when gas prices are 8 bucks or more a gallon like the Europeans, you just may cry UNCLE!

No chance, my friend.

As I said before, I have no choice day-to-day. The truck is a requirement, you and everyone else will just have to pay more to cover the fuel expenses of every contractor that works on your home.

Meantime, I will drive my toys no matter the cost. I don't drive them enough miles to care about the per gallon price.

Of Course, it might be fun to convert to E-85. :AH-HA_wink:

Never under-estimate the lengths an enthusiast will go to to drive what he wants.

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So more than media it is insiders (GME cough cough) who are raising the rumors of Lutz retiring, so that Pecker Subaru Forestor and cohorts can take over.

I haven't a clue as to what that's supposed to mean, but hey, English is not my 1st language. :smilewide:

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No chance, my friend.

As I said before, I have no choice day-to-day. The truck is a requirement, you and everyone else will just have to pay more to cover the fuel expenses of every contractor that works on your home.

Meantime, I will drive my toys no matter the cost. I don't drive them enough miles to care about the per gallon price.

Of Course, it might be fun to convert to E-85. :AH-HA_wink:

Never under-estimate the lengths an enthusiast will go to to drive what he wants.

What about those 2.5 FWD vehicles you may consider buying? Will you drive one of those?

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And don't forget that Americans won't give up their ATVs, Boats, Snowmoblies,Watercraft Horse trailers...

You are still pissing into the wind on this one.

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What about those 2.5 FWD vehicles you may consider buying? Will you drive one of those?

:blink:

You've lost me there.

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3 not 2.5

Linkity

Ah, ok.

Here's where that stands. I still admire all three. The only one I'd consider for purchase new would be the Volt, simply because it represents such a quantum shift in technology. That said, if it loses its look too badly getting to production, I'll skip it. The HHR would be hard to resist if it were RWD or AWD, but FWD is the dealbreaker there. The Mini is horribly overpriced even used, so I will admire it from a distance.

EDIT: And, as long as cars like G8, Camaro, the Kappas etc, are still around the FWDs don't stand much of a chance. Not to mention, that there is a whole host of used cars I'd rather have than any of the FWDs new.

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i hear E85 conversions on carb'd cars are realllly easy

I'm planning to look into it for Project Camino. I want FI though.

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Small cars suck and are not safe. You can not make a coffin on wheels safe in a freeway crash.

Diesels, Sadly I disagree with him here as the cost of diesel is offset over the long run by the higher gas milage. Just a matter of marketing and with the right message you can change perception.

My thoughts on the topic. :)

Not where I live it's not offset. :D It's way over premium. :banghead::scratchchin:

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E-85 and Biodiesel... without losing vehicle size, with a mix of small to large vehicles... sounds like a plan. An HHR with diesel power would be a fantastic little hauler, if the engine is reasonably priced. I love torque.
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For the crowd cheering on subcompact cars at GM, I ask you to show me one subcompact car that offers impressive styling and performance and space. The answer is: you cannot. These cars are so limited, it's downright pathetic. I am a buyer who appreciates a car that delivers: 1. exceptional space (it doesn't have to be a land barge, mind you, just enough space behind the seats to bring some friends or family along for a trip or to haul around a few bags of things from the store), 2. exceptional performance, and 3. exceptional design (the deal breaker).

Small cars fail in my opinion and I'll never drive one. Not now. Not ever. There are only a handful of compact cars, in my opinion, that even get close to making the cut. There will never be a subcompact one. I suppose I'll just keep being one of the stubborn ones, and, when I'm 55, growing old, and want a new car, just pay the premium for the car I want. I don't care. This is something I don't want to be forced into and I refuse to be forced into.

Now that my rant is out of the way, I do approve that GM is willing find solutions without damaging it's offerings. Lutz should reconsider his position on diesels as option, however. There are some people out there who don't care about paying a premium to get what they want (sounds like someone I know :D). GM might could also help make the premium less if they had a plant in the U.S. that would build more diesels for it's car range, too, and not just source them from Europe (source the designs, yes, but not the engines themselves). I know there are ways to reduce the premium, and GM should look into them.

Edited by YellowJacket894
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