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GM slams the NY Times

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Not sure if this has been posted already since I haven't been around these parts too often lately, but this was in response to Friedman's column on GM recently.

Hyperbole and Defamation in The New York Times

By Steven J. Harris

Vice President, Global Communications

Imagine our shock when we read yesterday that GM is “more dangerous to America’s future” than any other company, is “like a crack dealer” addicting helpless Americans to SUVs, and is in a cabal with Ford and DaimlerChrysler to buy votes in Congress.

These weren’t the rantings of some obscure, clueless blogger. These were the thoughts of Thomas L. Friedman, (subscription required) author and influential columnist, on the op/ed page of The New York Times.

Mr. Friedman is not normally known for such shrill hyperbole. In fact, he’s generally well-respected and known for presenting rational, fact-supported opinions.

That wasn’t the case with yesterday’s column. That a journalist of his caliber and reputation could write such a defamatory, uninformed opinion was shocking to those of us dedicated to this company and proud of what GM builds and contributes to the nation’s economy.

The GM he describes is not the GM we know. Either Mr. Friedman is being a propagandist, or he’s woefully misinformed. We prefer to believe the latter. In fact, we’d like to invite Mr. Friedman out to Detroit to learn about the work GM is doing on alternative fuels, on hydrogen fuel cells and on technology to make all of our vehicles more fuel efficient.

GM understands the issue of our nation’s dependency on foreign oil as well as anyone, and we're doing as much or more than anyone to address the issue, from making our gasoline engines more fuel-efficient to investing heavily in hybrid and fuel cell powertrains.

We also understand the impact of higher fuel prices on consumers. We offer Americans a full line of fuel-efficient options, including last year’s top-selling subcompact, the Chevy Aveo, and the well-regarded Chevy Cobalt compact. In fact, GM offers more vehicles that get 30 mpg or better EPA highway mileage than any other automaker. More than Toyota. More than Honda. More than Nissan.

We've suggested immediate ways that the United States can reduce its oil dependency, including getting more E85 ethanol fuel made from U.S. corn into our nation's gas stations. Many of the GM cars and trucks that Mr. Friedman mentioned in his column can run on E85 fuel, which is one way we can significantly reduce the amount of oil we use – right now. We already have more than 1.9 million of these so-called “Flex Fuel” cars and trucks on the road.

Mr. Friedman takes exception to a limited incentive that offers a partial credit toward fuel purchases on certain midsize cars and full-size SUVs in two markets where we are working hard to increase our market share. This is nothing more than a creative way to get consumers' consideration for our products in two very competitive segments.

Mr. Friedman sees it as something sinister, an effort to turn hapless Americans into fuel “addicts.” But let's be intellectually honest here: A gas card is not going to get someone considering a $15,000 economy car to buy a $35,000 Chevy Tahoe.

The people who buy full-size SUVs, by and large, do so because they have a need for them – be it a large family to haul around or a boat to tow. And exactly how is offering a gas card that may be worth $1,000 any different or more sinister than the $2,000 cash rebate that Toyota's offering right now nationwide on its full-size SUV, the Sequoia? The Sequoia, by the way, gets worse mileage than any of GM’s industry-leading full-size SUVs.

In fact, Mr. Friedman’s suggestion that Toyota’s approach toward fuel economy is vastly different than GM’s belies the facts. Give Toyota credit for the Prius hybrid. But if you look at the growth in Toyota’s business in the United States over the last decade, it has come primarily from expanding into the truck segments – including full size pickups and SUVs. GM entries in those segments, by the way, have better EPA mileage ratings than Toyota’s.

And which automaker is building a large new assembly plant in Texas to build its biggest full-size pickup yet? Toyota.

Don’t get me wrong. Toyota's a fine company. But like GM, Toyota offers a full range of cars and trucks to satisfy all their customers across this nation, not just what New York and Washington journalists who ride in yellow cabs think the rest of America should drive.

Mr. Friedman also misstates our position on fuel economy standards. The fact is, GM is not opposed to reasonable standards. But there is no proof that the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations have done anything to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In fact, oil consumption has increased dramatically over the years, even as vehicle fuel efficiency ratings have improved significantly.

That's because consumers make their own decisions on what to buy and how to drive. The sales-weighted “average fuel economy” numbers have not gone up more over the years because consumers have wanted larger, more powerful vehicles – even as our cars and trucks have become remarkably more fuel-efficient. Our new full-size SUVs that Mr. Friedman so despises, for example, now get more than 20 mpg on the highway.

GM has faced its share of criticism over the years, some of which was well-deserved. No company does everything right all the time. We appreciate constructive criticism that’s based on facts, and we try to listen and learn from it.

Today we’re in the midst of perhaps the largest turnaround in corporate history. We’re building the best, highest-quality cars and trucks in our history. We’re working closely and respectfully with our unions to lower our costs and fix the structural parts of our business that make us less competitive. And we continue to invest heavily in our future, a future that includes cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

We’re working hard to build a stronger GM and a stronger America that’s less dependent on foreign oil. Hyperbole and shrill editorializing on the pages of The New York Times shouldn’t mislead anyone.

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Wow, dude held his tongue pretty well. I'm not sure I could have been so measured in my response.

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That was a very eloquent (and composed) response. I know I couldn't have held my tongue if I was responding to that. Bravo, Mr. Harris.

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While the response is top notch, I fail to see the reasons why Toyota's new plant is mentioned in what is supposed to be a retort of that rediculous NYT editorial. Toyota's building a new plant to build a truck compared to GM that has, what, 5 dedicated to building pickups?

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While the response is top notch, I fail to see the reasons why Toyota's new plant is mentioned in what is supposed to be a retort of that rediculous NYT editorial.  Toyota's building a new plant to build a truck compared to GM that has, what, 5 dedicated to building pickups?

:huh:

Umm... It seems like a very good point to me. Toyota portrays itself as a company that makes these Earth saving hybrid cars, when in reality it's been tripping over itself to launch as many gigantic new SUVs trucks as possible in recent years. And most recently, they are building a new plant in Texas for the sole purpose of building huge trucks.

GM has more plants that makes trucks and SUVs but then again GM doesn't portray itself as holier than thou in its marketing and promotions. It doesn't have ads running on TV right now talking about how the air you breathe will be fresher if you buy an Earth saving GM car. Also GM is a bigger car company in America than Toyota so of course you would expect them to have more car plants, more truck plants, etc.

Edited by Shantanu

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:huh:

Umm...  It seems like a very good point to me.  Toyota portrays itself as a company that makes these Earth saving hybrid cars, when in reality it's been tripping over itself to launch as many gigantic new SUVs trucks as possible in recent years.  And most recently, they are building a new plant in Texas for the sole purpose of building huge trucks.

GM has more plants that makes trucks and SUVs but then again GM doesn't portray itself as holier than thou in its marketing and promotions.  It doesn't have ads running on TV right now talking about how the air you breathe will be fresher if you buy an Earth saving GM car.  Also GM is a bigger car company in America than Toyota so of course you would expect them to have more car plants, more truck plants, etc.

Tripping over itself? LOL. I would considering rushing to market two large vehicle programs that cover all but one of your many brands a little bit more akin to tripping over oneself.

The above article by Mr. Harris plus the recent GM advertising blitz seems like GM is trying to market its fuel efficient innovations and cars while scrubbing its image as a large vehicle manufacturer. It's marketing, it's made to sell cars and the company. GM does it, Toyota does it, Honda does it, Ford does it. Toyota is good at it.

Toyota is a growing car company in America so you would expect it to open more plants and manufacture more competitive vehicles.

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Tripping over itself?  LOL.  I would considering rushing to market two large vehicle programs that cover all but one of your many brands a little bit more akin to tripping over oneself.

The above article by Mr. Harris plus the recent GM advertising blitz seems like GM is trying to market its fuel efficient innovations and cars while scrubbing its image as a large vehicle manufacturer.  It's marketing, it's made to sell cars and the company.  GM does it, Toyota does it, Honda does it, Ford does it.  Toyota is good at it.

Toyota is a growing car company in America so you would expect it to open more plants and manufacture more competitive vehicles.

Dont pretend for a second that you think Toyota wouldn't build 10 more truck plants if the demand was there.

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Dont pretend for a second that you think Toyota wouldn't build 10 more truck plants if the demand was there.

well that new tundra has a godawful ugly snout and looks pretty retarded moving backwards from there. i sure hope those folks in texas working at the toyota plant aren't signing any mortgages or anything.

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And exactly how is offering a gas card that may be worth $1,000 any different or more sinister than the $2,000 cash rebate that Toyota's offering right now nationwide on its full-size SUV, the Sequoia? The Sequoia, by the way, gets worse mileage than any of GM’s industry-leading full-size SUVs.

Then why isn't it marketed as a cash incentive?

The Sequoia, by the way, gets worse mileage than any of GM’s industry-leading full-size SUVs.

Too bad in every single non-EPA test, GM’s industry-leading full-size SUVs fail to deliver better mileage.

Edited by toyoguy

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Then why isn't it marketed as a cash incentive?

Too bad in every single non-EPA test, GM’s industry-leading full-size SUVs fail to deliver better mileage.

How about some actual sources to back up your statements?

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Wanna post the companion articles those mags write about the Toyota? Also why not find a review of a non loaded Tahoe?

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Those sources don't even tell you how the vehicles were driven. At least with the EPA test, it's a fixed standard that all vehicles are judged by.

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Freidman.... Fried Man. Fried, Baked... Fried, burned at the stake... :wink:

Seriously let's burn him , he's a witch! Damn ba$tard.

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Those sources don't even tell you how the vehicles were driven.  At least with the EPA test, it's a fixed standard that all vehicles are judged by.

True, and most vehicles in normal driving get worse mileage than the EPA ratings. 14mpg sounds more likely for a 5500lb V8 SUV than 21...

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GM built the GMT900 engines so they would do well in EPA tests. The evidence is obvious. So what? I have no problem with it. GM can claim its large SUVs get best-in-class mileage. Good.

Edit: spelling.

Edited by sciguy_0504

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Dont pretend for a second that you think Toyota wouldn't build 10 more truck plants if the demand was there.

I'm not pretending. Any company would.

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True, and most vehicles in normal driving get worse mileage than the EPA ratings.  14mpg sounds more likely for a 5500lb V8 SUV than 21...

Not really. My dad's '85 suburban gets 15Mpg on the highway, I fail to see how a more efficient engine that's alot newer would get worse..

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two recent C/D tundra tests revealed 13 and 14 mpg. nothing great.

the name Tundra is even quite pu$$y. C'mon, come up wiuth something tougher.

Edited by regfootball

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