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C&G Wants to Know: Volume 1

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C&G Wants to Know

Volume 1 - CAFE

Our first installment of "C&G Wants to Know" is sure to be an interesting one. Anyone not living under a rock knows by now that new CAFE standards are in place that will require all auto manufacturers to have a corporate average fuel economy of 35MPG by the year 2020 while meeting intermediate milestones along the way. GM seems determined to meet these standards with an innovative approach befitting one of the world's most storied manufacturers, but a little help from the C&G faithful certainly wouldn't hurt. Your task is to establish a unique plan for GM to meet the new standards while continuing to produce vehicles that fit American tastes and demands.

Parameters

1. You may use any GM platform with any green technologies that GM has available now or in the not too distant future.

2. You must keep each GM brand on track with its current mission statement. A fleet of Opel Corsa-sized Hummers won't do

3. You are permitted to cut exactly ONE car and ONE truck from each current lineup, if need be. However, use this rule with caution. Cuts should be made only for the sake of CAFE (if you cannot bring the vehicle in line with Rule #1), not for personal preference, etc.

4. The expected price increase of each car should be kept to a minimum so that the increased cost at purchase time is offset by the reduced cost of fuel consumption.

Well, there you have it. Take your time and prepare your responses carefully, and most importantly, have fun :)

NOTE: The "To GM" forum has the moderator preview feature turned on, so you will probably not see your post immediately after you submit it. After the mods check it, it'll be released to the public.

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I think GM should invest more money into fuel saving features for all of its engine Lineup. Mercedes has demonstrated that they can produce a 4 cylinder engine that put's ut somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 horsepower and will get an estimated 40 mpg. There's still a lot of technology that can be applied to gasoline engines that can make them more efficient.

It should also be noted that panicking and killing off the V8 is unnecessary. When you consider that the Corvette can manage mid 20's fuel economy, and just how good GM's V8's are, there should be ways to extract more fuel economy out of them.

As for short-term solutions. a Mild Hybrid system that can be adapted to an array of vehicle types and size is s a good way to boost fuel economy, and it's also much more cost effective than a Full Hybrid system. The 2-Mode System should be offered on cars and not just SUVs and trucks, because that's where it will have the greatest benefit including boosting GM's green image.

Honestly, the only vehicle I think has no real place is the H2. It's sales have tanked and serves no real purpose. It's big, heavy, and bad on fuel economy, and the money required to make it less of a gas hog could be better spent else where, like on small cars and such. Perhaps if it was an important sales contributor, but it really isn't at this point.

Not sure how good my post is...it's not the most technical but here goes.

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Some of my random thoughts:

Chevrolet:

1) use the 2.2 Ecotec VVT/6T40 in as many vehicles as possible

2) add Gen II BAS system to AT-equipped Malibu and next-generation Cobalt as standard equipment. Use run-flats and use spare-tire space for batteries.

3) encourage the usage of the 6MT (used originally in G6 GXP coupe) in both Cobalt and Malibu, for non-BAS systems.

4) evaluate use of composite beds for 1/2 ton work trucks.

5) add BAS II to Colorado's I4 (batteries stored under crew-cab rear seat). Encourage MT usage as well - possibly switch from 5MT to 6MT.

6) use some of the lighter equipment from Tahoe hybrid across GMT900 platform (seats, hood, etc).

7) use purported smaller LS-series V8 w/ AFM as standard motor in Corvette, Camaro.

8 ) expand on marketing Aveo & other A-class cars (Beat) in cities

Pontiac:

1) Drop the 3.6 V6 in the G6 line in favor of the LNF 2.0 turbo.

2) Add the 1.4 Ecotec turbo to the G5, perhaps as the SE model.

3) Add BAS II to G8 (both V6 and V8), and make the 6L80 standard transmission.

4) Move the G8 ST to GMC

GMC:

1) Kill Yukon XL (leave for Suburban)

2) Focus on 3.6 DI engine for G8 ST (Caballero?), use as replacement for Canyon.

3) Make 4.5L turbodiesel a standard for the Sierra HD series instead of 8.1L gas motors

Buick:

1) push to make the 6T60 standard transmission across the board

Cadillac:

1) Evaluate turbo 3.6 DI for use in V-series cars

2) Switch Escalade to hybrid-only

3) Build smaller 3-series competitor off lengthened Kappa platform

Saab:

1) drop the V6 options, return to turbo-I4 roots.

2) drop any Saab SUV in favor of 9-3 and 9-5 wagons (perhaps special XWD editions).

Hummer:

1) Add BAS II to I5 engine for H3

2) Switch to 4.5 turbodiesel for H2's standard engine

3) Focus on I4's only for upcoming H4

And how could I forget...

Saturn:

1) Make the Aura GL the standard model; save the GL designation for an added 2-mode model

2) Expand on e-flex with the Sky as a market test-bed (further differentiation from the Solstice)

3) Add BAS II to 1.8 Ecotec in Astra; make standard in Vue.

Edited by traumadog
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GM doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to improve their CAFE numbers. How about GM makes all their conventional internal combustion engines FlexFuel so they can use E85, as well as equipping them all with direct injection, HCCI technology and Active Fuel Management. If Honda can make an OHC engine that can run on half its cylinders GM should be able to as well. Hybrids, electrics and other alternate fuel vehicles would only add to GM's CAFE numbers.

Wider use of their 6-spd tranny, as well as putting some of their porkier cars (pretty much all of them) on diets so they come in a few hundred lbs lighter can't hurt, either.

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GM doesn't need to reinvent the wheel to improve their CAFE numbers. How about GM makes all their conventional internal combustion engines FlexFuel so they can use E85, as well as equipping them all with direct injection, HCCI technology and Active Fuel Management. If Honda can make an OHC engine that can run on half its cylinders GM should be able to as well. Hybrids, electrics and other alternate fuel vehicles would only add to GM's CAFE numbers.

Wider use of their 6-spd tranny, as well as putting some of their porkier cars (pretty much all of them) on diets so they come in a few hundred lbs lighter can't hurt, either.

I disagree with FlexFuel, because of the issues of E85 (like potential food shortages).

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I disagree with FlexFuel, because of the issues of E85 (like potential food shortages).

That alleged connection has been largely debunked.

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I disagree with flex-fuel for more practical reasons - e.g. ethanol transportation/distribution and the cost to create the blends.

As for cost, making cars lighter may be a problem (moreso than promoting the 6AT), as it's easier to sell a car with an "advanced transmission" and ask for higher prices, as opposed to selling one with "high-strength steel used to reduce weight".

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from the view of a CEO, it is always terrible to be told how your product should perform or be built. General Motors spends billions per year in research, product development and design. While already acheiving class leading fuel ecconomy in multiple segments (with certain options for the cars), it becomes difficult to forsee an extreme increase in fuel ecconomy over the next 12 years. Some avenues that need to be researched, but one can always look to the history books, on how to make an ecconomy car.

Things that are ways to fix the problem, that also reduce the cost of production.

Smaller wheels (width, not diamater), also reduced friction tires (but these can might be not so cost effective)

Less features per vehicle, aka less weight

Lower the vehicles weight rating to allow reduced strength in structure(less metal, less weight).

Things that may solve the problem, but will be a cost to the end consumer:

more features to each engine, to reduce fuel consumpsion. i.e. active fuel management, direct injection.

smaller engines with forced induction

reduced strength powertrain, i.e. an engine that produces less torque and a transmission that has a lower torque rating.

use of alternate fuels like deisel to produce similar fuel ecconomy.

obviously GM's loop hole is ethonal, iirc vehicles that are able to use ethonal will have some exclusion to the ratings, so this will probably include GMT900's

hybrid technology generally increases city fuel ecconomy by 50% but doesnt help highway milage, but its an option

Things that may solve the problem, but will be at a cost to the manufacture.

redesign platforms and incorperate (more) weight saving technologys such as hydroformed steel/alluminum, even in the ecconomy cars

redesign aerodynamics of mainstream vehicles.

but with all these thoughts in mind, none of them actually have any dollar value without thousands or millions of dollars worth of consideration, planning, and research.

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The ultimate problem for GM, and why good ol' Bush has all but killed the Amercian Auto industry, is that they sell a million trucks every year... at least they did before fuel cost you a limb and a half per gallon. I was just wondering, I thought that trucks over a certain GVW were not held to that fuel economy standard, and therefore would not be counted in with all the rest of the vehicles for the corporate average of 35 MPG. Why couldn't GM classify all the high volume trucks, ie the fully loaded Z-71 and all the stripped down work rated trucks, as "heavy halfs." Raise the GVW on the vehicles that they sell the most of, and therefore eliminate them from the count.

I also think it would be foolish to not investigate the advantage of a 240hp turbo I4 replacing a 240hp 3.9L V6.

Instead of putting a 5.3L in everything, why not look at down sizing to the 4.8L turbocharged or shrink it to a 4.0L V8 with a couple of turbos.

I don't think any truck owner is going to like replacing a big V8 with a turbo V6, why not replace it with a smaller turbo V8. (maybe with VVT, DI, AFM)

The new 4.5L Duramax couldn't get here any faster, But they should also look at the 2.9L Diesel for all of the cars. Though I'm told that that diesel doesn't work for California, screw California, let them drive Volts and Aveo's.

They should also look at a RWD CUV platform that would have 4WD with Low range as a possible replacement for the Tahoe, and maybe the Yukon and XL. The Acadia and it's sibblings are great vehicles with incredible space, but they don't haul the kind of weight that some SUV owners need (besides, FWD biased vehicles define light duty hauler. A rear drive V8 (or turbo V6) CUV beefed up to offer more space than a Tahoe because of the effeciency of CUV design, beefed up to pull 7000lbs might convince Tahoe owners to settle for a CUV, and would be lighter and more fuel efficient the the BOF.

With the technology they are putting into these vehicles, why couldn't they put an economy mode on some of there vehicles? Think about the Cobalt SS T/C. They have performance mode with Launch Control, couldn't they have economy mode where they dial back the boost, fuel, timing and detune the engine for max effieciency? In stop and got traffic, you don't need much power, so cut it off to save fuel.

Even if GM meets the new CAFE limits, the Automotive Journalist will squash them anyway. All the new vehcles GM makes are appearently not as good as Honda, because it doesn't ride like a Honda, or feel like a Honda. Of course it doesn't it isn't a Honda, but the auto jounalists like the feel of a Honda, therefore the GM isn't as good. Case in point, the CX-9 beat the Enclave because it is more of a drivers vehicle. Even in an eight passenger, they want the one that will take the corner the fastest, not the one that rides the best or has the best balence.

Unbiast Journalism, and some new vehicle innovation, and GM will be fine, God I hope they do other wise I will always drive older vehicles.

one last point, the heavy tax on fuel and it's high price is supposed to be a fuel saver to reduce emissions, but because I can't afford to drive my truck, I just ride my 1981 smog machine of a motorcycle that pollutes way more than my truck in spite of getting 3 times the mileage. Yah good call.

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The 4.8 acutally gets worse fuel economy than the 5.3. They are based on the same basic block and are not truly two different motors. Plus how much good would it do?

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I disagree with FlexFuel, because of the issues of E85 (like potential food shortages).

I don't agree with our current ethanol program either, but there are other ways to make ethanol without impacting food prices.

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The ultimate problem for GM, and why good ol' Bush has all but killed the Amercian Auto industry, is that they sell a million trucks every year... at least they did before fuel cost you a limb and a half per gallon. I was just wondering, I thought that trucks over a certain GVW were not held to that fuel economy standard, and therefore would not be counted in with all the rest of the vehicles for the corporate average of 35 MPG. Why couldn't GM classify all the high volume trucks, ie the fully loaded Z-71 and all the stripped down work rated trucks, as "heavy halfs." Raise the GVW on the vehicles that they sell the most of, and therefore eliminate them from the count.

If feasible, I'd definitely agree. Great point.

I also think it would be foolish to not investigate the advantage of a 240hp turbo I4 replacing a 240hp 3.9L V6.

Instead of putting a 5.3L in everything, why not look at down sizing to the 4.8L turbocharged or shrink it to a 4.0L V8 with a couple of turbos.

I don't think any truck owner is going to like replacing a big V8 with a turbo V6, why not replace it with a smaller turbo V8. (maybe with VVT, DI, AFM)

The new 4.5L Duramax couldn't get here any faster, But they should also look at the 2.9L Diesel for all of the cars. Though I'm told that that diesel doesn't work for California, screw California, let them drive Volts and Aveo's.

I couldn't agree more with these. I was going to post the same until I read your post. I am completely for downsizing engines (i.e. LS engines could range from 4.0 to 5.7 or 6.0) and upping technology across the board (with VVT, DI, AFM, DOHC, etc.). I'm also 100% for using forced induction and diesel, as long as they can mass-produce them to keep the premium price of buying a diesel or turbo down.

They should also look at a RWD CUV platform that would have 4WD with Low range as a possible replacement for the Tahoe, and maybe the Yukon and XL. The Acadia and it's sibblings are great vehicles with incredible space, but they don't haul the kind of weight that some SUV owners need (besides, FWD biased vehicles define light duty hauler. A rear drive V8 (or turbo V6) CUV beefed up to offer more space than a Tahoe because of the effeciency of CUV design, beefed up to pull 7000lbs might convince Tahoe owners to settle for a CUV, and would be lighter and more fuel efficient the the BOF.

That's something I hadn't thought of. Is there really a big need for the CUVs to be FWD vs. RWD? If they can make all the current Lambdas RWD and put these more technologically-fit and efficient (as discussed above), then why not make them RWD and able to tow more?

With the technology they are putting into these vehicles, why couldn't they put an economy mode on some of there vehicles? Think about the Cobalt SS T/C. They have performance mode with Launch Control, couldn't they have economy mode where they dial back the boost, fuel, timing and detune the engine for max effieciency? In stop and got traffic, you don't need much power, so cut it off to save fuel.

Agreed again. And, on that note, why not use this same technology (launch control, no lift shift, economy mode, etc.) across the board? You can offer all of these in a $23,000 Cobalt, but not in the more expensive, heavier vehicles (like the Impala, Lucerne, SUVs, etc).

Even if GM meets the new CAFE limits, the Automotive Journalist will squash them anyway. All the new vehcles GM makes are appearently not as good as Honda, because it doesn't ride like a Honda, or feel like a Honda. Of course it doesn't it isn't a Honda, but the auto jounalists like the feel of a Honda, therefore the GM isn't as good. Case in point, the CX-9 beat the Enclave because it is more of a drivers vehicle. Even in an eight passenger, they want the one that will take the corner the fastest, not the one that rides the best or has the best balence.

Unbiast Journalism, and some new vehicle innovation, and GM will be fine, God I hope they do other wise I will always drive older vehicles.

Moot point; that basically goes without saying.

one last point, the heavy tax on fuel and it's high price is supposed to be a fuel saver to reduce emissions, but because I can't afford to drive my truck, I just ride my 1981 smog machine of a motorcycle that pollutes way more than my truck in spite of getting 3 times the mileage. Yah good call.

That's something else that pisses me off. CAFE and the government can limit gas mileage and pollution all they want in new cars, but what about motorcycles, factories, etc? That's going to get me off topic though, so we'll just leave it at that.

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