What’s good for GM…

U.S. automakers can’t be very pleased about September sales figures.

Ford Expedition
FORD_EXPEDITION.jpg

Automotive News reported today that GM sold 24% fewer light vehicles in September 2005 compared with September 2004, while Ford sold 20% fewer vehicles. SUV’s led the retreat, with sales of Explorers, Expeditions, and Mountaineers each down more than 50%. Although Toyota’s sales overall were up 10%, their SUV’s (4Runner, Highlander, Land Cruiser and Sequoia) were all down as well.

U.S. car sales had been sagging earlier this year. With its summer employee discount program, GM was gambling that American consumers would return to their love affair with big cars, and all that was needed was a strategy to get past a temporary lovers’ tiff. That gamble isn’t looking so great at the moment. Although car sales temporarily went way up, GM’s North American division lost $1.2 billion in the second quarter, and the gas guzzlers that consumers bought earlier this summer may look like albatrosses to them now each time they pull out a C-note to fill ‘em up. Without those discounts, sales are falling like a rock.

Charles Wilson once famously remarked:

“We have a saying at General Motors: ‘What’s good for the United States is good for General Motors, and vice versa.’”

I would say that the employee discount program hasn’t worked out very well either for GM or for the United States.

Meanwhile, U.S. consumers purchased more bicycles than cars during the last 12 months. Yahoo News reports that bicycle sales by Scooter Commuter in Bethesda, Maryland have quadrupled in the last two months. It’s the market at work with consumers responding to the higher price of gas, Environmental Economics and Division of Labor both correctly noted.

But as I’ve emphasized many times, when such changes occur this suddenly, a drop in car sales and rise in bike sales do not add up to an economic wash. Because productive resources cannot quickly move from one sector to the other, the idled factors formerly devoted to automobile production will magnify the initial shock and can lead the economy into a recession.

Macroblog notes that some other good economic news today makes it hard to be completely gloomy about the overall economic prospects. Still, the latest data on autos, airlines, and housing seem to be confirming the pessimistic concerns I raised last June and July.

What, me worry? In a word, yes.

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129 thoughts on “What’s good for GM…

  1. pat

    Jim,
    While I agree with you that gradual changes are much preferred than sudden changes, sometmes I wonder whether it is possible to have gradual changes. GM is a good example: gas prices have been going up gradually for a couple of years, but GM insist that consumers will keep on buying those gas gazzlers — it seems that they will not switch to more energy efficient cars until they lose huge amount of money in the big SUVs and the like. US consumers are another example. Theoretically, we can grow out of the current imbalance of the incredibly low savings rate by having consumption growth say, half a percentage point slower than GDP growth. But I sometimes get the feeling that consumers will only start saving when they become really pessimistic, which is usually associated with recessions (although the imbalance actually grew during the last recession, so a mild recession m

  2. pat

    oops, hit the wrong key.
    Anyway, could it be the case that sometimes gradual adjustments are just not a viable alternative? People extrapolate until they hit the wall, so we are doomed between no change (thus the imbalances keep on growing bigger which makes the eventual crash harder) and crash changes (thus recessions)?

  3. Stuart Staniford

    In this case, the only thing preventing more gradual changes appears to be human shortsightedness. The US automakers are behaving like they can see approximately six weeks into the future on energy prices.
    I suppose we could be charitable to them and interpret the employee discount program as essentially a firesale on their SUVs before the inevitable.

  4. USD

    Anyone saw Mike Mandells recent post at business week ?
    He seems to think the trade deficit of $3 trillion is not too much of a worry for the economy of the size of USA.
    He also thinks Savings is not a good virtue.
    Sorry to be a bit off topic, but to me he looks like making an important point which has totally confused me. Your comments on the same are welcome.

    Let’s do the calculations. Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has run up an accumulated goods and services trade deficit of roughly $3 trillion. Sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it?
    Now let’s suppose those dollars had been used for good rather than evil. That is, rather than buying imported cars, toys, and handbags, thrifty Americans would have saved their money. It’s reasonable to believe that about half of that $3 trillion would have gone into financing productive purchases here in the U.S.–new factories, power plants, office computers and the like–$1.5 trillion worth.
    So what would be the payoff from all that thriftiness? A reasonable rate of return on investment, after depreciation, is roughly 7%. So $1.5 trillion in extra assets would have a return of about $100 billion a year.
    That $100 billion is roughly 1% of an $11 trillion economy. Over ten years, then, complete elimination of the trade deficit might–might–have added a tenth of a percentage point to growth.
    That’s a good measure of the size of the virtues of savings–roughly a tenth of a percentage point on growth. That’s 0.1 percentage points.
    To put that in perspective, the estimates of long-term productivity growth have risen roughly a full percentage point over the past decade. The effects of technology more than swamp the effects of savings. ”

  5. pgl

    Meanwhile, Toyota is enjoying increasing sales and profits. Seems building fuel efficient cars is good business.

  6. RN

    USD-
    That’s exactly the kind of argument that sounds convincing (all the pretty numbers) but isn’t useful because it simply looks at one element of the savings picture. The other elements, of much more importance than GDP I’d argue, are 1) the artificial way the savings rate has been kept down by FCBs introducing a false stability and taking risk calculations off the table for many (why save if nothing ever goes wrong when you don’t), 2) interest rates (which should in a closed system be related to savings rates) and whose effect, should they rise to greater reflect the savings situation, could be very problematic since consumer demand has been largely tied to home value and equity extraction, and home value and equity extraction capacity is directly tied to interest rates, 3) the ability to weather a downturn. With this little savings, combined with this level of debt service (read Bill Gross’ latest), the ability to for the average family to weather an interest rate or dollar shock should FCBs decide oil or gold is a more useful place to invest their reserves than claims denominated in an asset of dubious value (the US dollar) is highly in doubt.
    In sum, don’t be taken in by analysts/colmunists who look at just one factor (like Kudlow, for example, and GDP) and try to say everything’s fine or the sky’s going to fall. Economics is hard because everything ultimately affects everything else and while certain basic cause and effect systems are well understood, the overall picture is extremely complex, and even the best minds don’t claim to be able to do more than just take their best guess based on data, trends, history, and their own personal beliefs.

  7. ed

    I don’t know why people are buying bicycles, but it’s hard to believe the high price of gas has much to do with it.
    Gas prices are hitting hardest those with long commutes that can’t be easilly replaced by bicycle. If you replace car with bicycle for 20 miles per week, it will only save you about a gallon of gas, and cost you up to an hour of extra time.
    Anyway, I once calculated that the extra calories you consume in food to ride a bicycle probably cost about as much as gasoline. If you ride your bike 25 miles it will burn around 1000 calories, a little less than what’s in two Big Macs, which cost more than a gallon of gas!
    (I’m an avid cyclist myself, but I do it for fun and excercise, not because I think it saves money.)

  8. odograph

    GM should have kept a diverse line-up, like Toyota.
    On biking and calories, I’ve noticed the same thing ;-). I tend to eat an extra meal on the day of a big ride.
    In terms of car replacement, I think there is more opporunity to replace short trips. An outing to the library, post office, cinema, or restaurant by bike is fun and healthy – even if it might take a few of those trips to add up to a gallon-equivalent …

  9. Rick

    In many ways we survived a planned failure in September with GM. 2005 inventories had diminished so dramatically in June and July that in August, and even more so in September, the remaining supply did not include high demand vehicles. In the first quarter GM announced full year production cuts and reduced quantities for sale to fleet daily rentals. GM also had their lowest incentive spending for the year by holding the line on 2006 models. HHR, Cobalt, and Impala are selling rapidly with little subvention. The move to value pricing (lower dependance on rebates), the introduction of more marketable models, and changing of public perception all take time for a mammouth entity like GM. We do, however, see dramatic gains in China (recently overtook VW for sales leadership), Europe has just gained net profitability for the first time in a long time, and Chevrolet and Cadillac in North America are doing very well. Despite all of the talk about Toyota GM still doubles their sales YTD.

  10. biker

    The commute by bicycle is certainly very variable and for many people not possible. People probably underestimate the danger also.
    That being said, a bike commute can be quicker by virtue of parking and traffic factors.
    If a family can eliminate one car that is a big economic savings, also.
    The US as a whole won’t be embracing the bike commute but maybe it will make inroads into “new” areas.

  11. xls

    The boost of bicycle sales is more likely due to the recent exercise recommendation issued by the department of agriculture.

  12. biker

    Rick,
    But maybe not with the same formula gm has used in the US – did you see the journal article about China wanting a 20% tax on gas guzzlers ? Ouch.

  13. nordicnomad

    One advantage it seems we have right now is that auto manufacturing is not as important as it once was in our country. I was fairly young at the time, but my reccolection is that the woes of the big 3 (or was it 4) was a top story nearly every night during the early ’80s.
    Transportation costs still affect us all directly (prices at Walmart for instance), but the economy as a whole appears to be more diverse and resilient than it once was.

  14. Outside The Beltway

    Automotive Sales Down and the Prospect of a Recession

    Prof. Hamilton notes that car sales are way down for the most part. GM’s North American division has lost $1.2 billion in the second quarter, Ford has seen sales decline 20% with sales of SUVs down 50%.
    Now that is bad for GM, Ford and other …

  15. Rick

    Biker,
    It’s true most of the success in China comes from the GM investment in Daewoo and partnerships with Chinese automakers.
    Little known fact: GM has more car and truck segment fuel economy leaders than any other manufacturer. Public perception is more of a killer than actual product offerings.

  16. ken melvin

    Natural selection ? Survival of the fittest? The auto industry has excess capacity, some say as much as 100%. So the the shakeout begins. GM was never smart, just big. Sounds familiar? They blew it in the seventies. This may be the final straw and at least positions them for bankruptcy so as to get them out from under pension and healthcare commitments.

  17. biker

    Rick,
    GM is going to have to figure out how to use public perception and marketing acumen like never before to make it in emerging markets. The vehicles are low margin.
    And I’m not counting them out, after all the entire SUV phenom was perception driven – but this one’s tougher, for sure.

  18. odograph

    “GM has more car and truck segment fuel economy leaders”
    … let me guess, they get those “leaders” by creating artificial market segments, and then “leading” in them, right?
    Funny how all the automakers can be leaders that way, by carefully creating segments. I think Honda also makes this same claim.

  19. M1EK

    To be fair, I think GM’s claim is true if you use the ‘typical’ segments, since a set of SUV and pickup segments seem to have come along over the last few years which are truly monstrous. For instance, even Consumer Reports now grants a ‘champ’ in a ‘large SUV’ category…
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byclass.htm shows the Feds’ segments.
    I’ve also noticed that GM focuses almost exclusively on highway MPG when making this claim, doubtlessly because they do better there. For instance, on the link above, check out “Large Sedans” – I’m sure GM counts the Impala as one of their “winners”, even though the Feds don’t. (and no, I don’t think highway MPG is more representative of peoples’ daily commutes – unless you live in a metro area where there hasn’t been any growth, like, I don’t know, Detroit).

  20. Rick

    Hey it’s my old pal ME1K. No cheap shots at Detroit please. I grew up in Grosse Pointe and it remains lovely to this day. You are right that GM is a bit prone to hyperbole in their claims. Who isn’t? I just grow weary of the press reporting only the bad news with GM. They’ve certainly got big challenges, but also many core strengths. I still make a very nice living thanks to the General, and it hasn’t waned even a little bit.

  21. M1EK

    “You are right that GM is a bit prone to hyperbole in their claims. Who isn’t?”
    Toyota, for one. Honda, for another. They don’t need to come up with excuses why they couldn’t sell a bunch of vehicles despite having $3K in incentives per.
    Best of all worlds would be GM getting slapped with the 2×4 of reality and building a good hybrid car. I’d cheerfully buy it if they did (I bought a Saturn over a slightly better Civic in the early 1990s, before your company culture screwed them up so badly – I’ll pay a bit more or accept a bit less to buy American). But with guys like you acting as apologists, it’ll never happen.

  22. JDH

    Let’s keep it friendly guys. I for one really appreciate the way that Rick is able to contribute an upbeat view that differs from the one people sometimes hear from me and many others. I also always enjoy M1EK’s contributions to the discussions. Let’s just always try to communicate with each other in a tone of mutual respect– I think we’ll always make more progress in the discussion that way.

  23. Rick

    Nope, never any propaganda from Toyota. Oh! what a feeling. My used car department is still reeling. Two trades last week 1 4runner with a simple little ABS light=$1,200. 1 Camry check engine light $400. My average reconditioning cost for imports runs $300 per car higher than domestics. In fairness this is partially due to being a domestic dealer. GM has a problem with perception of quality versus the Japanese. Reality is the quality equation is pretty darn close. I know from thousands of examples, it’s what I do every day. I’ll agree that GM missed an early marketing opportunity with hybrids.

  24. M1EK

    “I’ll agree that GM missed an early marketing opportunity with hybrids.”
    The only marketing going on is GM claiming that hybrids are all marketing (all hype) despite real-world evidence to the contrary. Even CR, with the worst real-world MPG recorded in road tests for hybrids, can’t recommend the Prius highly enough. (And please, no baloney about how diesels do just as well – they don’t; and no baloney about how 1980s era cars did just as well – they were tiny compared to today’s compacts, and the Prius is a midsize).

  25. odograph

    Well, to be constructive … I think we should let GM bring over some European models (Opels?) if the market continues to turn against them. I’d even support a temparary waiver, and let them offer cars with German safety/emissons standards.
    Though perhaps there are other places for them to acquire and re-badge US-ready cars.
    (On hybrids, my Prius consistently gets an honest 50 mpg)

  26. Robert Schwartz

    “GM should have kept a diverse line-up, like Toyota.”
    GM has a diverse line-up, like Toyota, their problem is that their cars stink. yes Toyota has more hybrids, but that is largely pr. GM’s problems are legacy costs, unimaginative design, and poor use of technology. How many GM cars have pushrod engines vs how many Toyota’s.

  27. Movie Guy

    JDH — “I would say that the employee discount program hasn’t worked out very well either for GM or for the United States.”
    GM information distributed among its senior executives disputes your claim as pertains to General Motors.
    First, GM learned that the employee level discount program resulted in less costly sales than its previous rebate/discount incentive programs. Some within GM were surprised.
    Second, GM dealers carried forward the lightest previous model year inventory that I have ever observed in all my experiences working with automotive manufacturers.
    Third, the U.S. most certainly did benefit from the sales of the vehicles by all manufacturers which undertook the employee level discount initiatives. The lack of dealer level tax writeoffs was a positive economic move for vehicles that would have eventually been sold anyway at higher discounts. An odd remark from an economist…
    Fourth, the sale of such vehicles by GM did not only involve the “gas guzzlers”.
    JDH — “the gas guzzlers that consumers bought earlier this summer may look like albatrosses to them now each time they pull out a C-note to fill ‘em up.”
    Plenty of GM autos were also sold during the program. Few would fall within the “gas guzzlers” definition that most informed observers or industry experts apply to such groupings of vehicles. Unless, of course, 28-32 mpg is now considered a “gas guzzler”.
    The sag in September sales by GM and Ford was anticipated. The positive consideration for this situation is that GM can now scale back its 2006 production levels without burying dealers under a pile of excess vehicles that will sit on the lots for the next ten months. Moreover, GM can adjust its supplied drivetrains in some models to capture higher consumer demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. Short term solutions, obviously, until GM’s hybrids come on line in the 2007 models.
    Yes, GM and Ford are in trouble. And adjustments will have to occur. The September sales figures will spur that effort.

  28. M1EK

    “Unless, of course, 28-32 mpg is now considered a “gas guzzler”.”
    GM doesn’t make a car which gets anywhere near that gas mileage in actual use. You’re being misleading by quoting EPA highway mileage only.
    And GM’s 2007 hybrids ARE a marketing effort – they’re a joke. Adding 1 or 2 MPG to a huge truck isn’t what consumers were looking for.

  29. biker

    it is a marketing effort, and as a late entrant to the hybrid market gm can appeal to its’ main customer base and aim for the maximum profit from their effort
    toyota has a hybrid suv, and they are marketing it like crazy

  30. odograph

    I guess an economist would try to figure the “utilty” people find in a Prius, Escape Hybrid, or one of these new GM light/mild hybrids.
    FWIW, I think if you need a big truck, one that turns its engine off is better than one that does not.
    On the other hand, I kind of suspect that there are Escape Hybrid owners who would find as much utility in a Prius. The group I’m thinking of is probably looking for “self branding” as a “utility” of the SUV. Geez .. buy a Prius and a bunch of North Face logo-wear!

  31. M1EK

    odograph,
    Utility from Prius is easy – the back legroom is Camryesque; it moves a bunch of stuff. It meets our needs as a family car for which we’d otherwise have to get another midsize car (Corolla class wouldn’t cut it) – so the economic comparison is NOT versus Corolla (as some people like to do) but versus Camry or Accord; and that economic comparison is easy to win even at $2/gallon.

  32. M1EK

    biker,
    Toyota’s hybrid SUVs have a much more difficult time with economic utility arguments than does the Prius (or even Civic Hybrid), but on their merits, they were good enough to score the top 2 sports in Consumer Reports’ overall rankings.
    Wanna bet the same won’t hold for these hybrid offerings from GM?

  33. odograph

    M1EK, I was really going for the intangibles that play in “utility.” I have a Prius too, and realize that it self-brands me as a smart person ;-)
    Relax, that’s a joke. Though I seem to remember that Prius ownership correlates well with “attended grad school.” I only did a little grad school before getting bored.
    On the more practical side of “utility,” with the back seats folded down my Prius accepts a bicycle more easily than my old Subaru WRX wagon. It lacks the “utility” of going fast, but life is never short of choices …

  34. Rick

    The hybrid hype machine is really remarkable. The beauty of the car business is how people love to rationalize decisions when they are really just buying what makes them feel good. The Prius is a silly looking vehicle that gets very good gas mileage. When you hear the proud owners speak of them, you’d think they were saving the environment with every mile. Those batteries are going to have be disposed of somehow. Direct quote from Toyota marketing synergy drive “What if the air were clean again? Would the grass be greener? Would you travel further? Would you live longer? Would the day never end? Would you see forever?” ME1K doesn’t that sound like perhaps a bit of hyperbole? GM was among the first to capitalize on SUV demand when that was making people feel good about themselves. GM is among the last to capitalize on hybrids now that they are the hot ticket. The future of the company rests on whether they are early or late to the party for the next craze.

  35. odograph

    Rick, there is a battery recycling program in place for Toyotas, and every battery has a phone number and the promise of a $200 bounty printed right on it.
    FWIW, I freely admit that I’ve been part of other “crazes” and have owned SUVs and 150mph sports cars … but here’s the difference. It’s hard to explain how my owning those other cars helped you, or your grandkids, Rick … with the Prius it’s easier.

  36. biker

    ME1K,
    I agree, but being a first mover with the most technolocically advanced offering in the USA – land of HST’s “270 million used car salesmen. . ” still might not be the be all and end all when you talk ROI
    you are selling to non-rational economic beings

  37. M1EK

    “When you hear the proud owners speak of them, you’d think they were saving the environment with every mile. Those batteries are going to have be disposed of somehow.”
    The mileage, compared to your company’s cars, is so very VERY high; and the emissions, compared to your company’s cars, are so very VERY low; that even if you were correct and the batteries were just thrown away (heck, even throw them at a baby seal for good measure), the environment still wins dramatically.

  38. biker

    the battery discussion is long, but a truncated version is :
    the batteries are going to improve
    existing packs can be fixed, as often only a cell or two is bad
    packs from cracked up cars are in demand, anyway
    emmisions are a localized effect – like a bunch of batteries in a landfill isn’t as bad as having to live next to a smoggy highway
    the technology had to start somewhere

  39. Rick

    Alright I’ll acquiesce. ME1K you’re correct that a Prius provides its owner a wholesome existence. And Prius owners seem awfully well represented among this group. You feel good driving a Prius. We just delivered an Escalade and a Suburban today. Those people feel good too. 3,539,442 people year to date have purchased new GM non-Prius vehicles(Double total Toyota sales). GM financial troubes have everything to do with expense, we’re still selling a bunch of cars and trucks. There are so many new players in each segment in the last 15 years even the finest companies lose market share. Toyota is plenty nervous about Hyundai these days. Can you imagine the discussion of resource scarcity if we all wanted a Prius? Perhaps it’s time we celebrated our diversity as a means of conservation.

  40. M1EK

    Rick,
    I’ll state this again for the record. I think you’re being disingenuous and misleading. I’ve said what I mean and meant what I said throughout this discussion; and you keep trying to paint me as some kind of anti-American-car-zealot.
    My only desire in setting the record straight WRT GM is in the hopes that it’ll have some kind of small (ant-size) effect on the likelihood that GM will not fail to learn the lesson of the 1970s and 1980s. Talk like yours, though, makes me doubt it will.
    Why do I care? I’m a member of the American economy. A big segment of which is auto production and sales. If you guys keep doing stupid crap and force more and more people to buy Honda and Toyota, it hurts me and mine.
    I’d much rather buy an American car which has at least near-Toyota-Honda quality and meets my other needs (size, fuel economy). I already put my money where my mouth was once before by buying that Saturn SL2 in 1991. It wasn’t QUITE as good as a Civic or Corolla, but it was tolerably close. I’ll do it again if you guys get the SUV chip off your shoulder before it’s too late.
    See, I WANT GM to do well by being responsible and serving the needs of its customers at the same time. Cutting a few more thousand bucks off the price of a Tahoe in order to keep going looks less like that and more like the desperate moves of an addict.

  41. biker

    I don’t think consumers appreciate the costs they incur when they buy these large vehicles.
    Taking the car off the lot is an expensive day, of course magnified by incentives cratering the residual value.
    The Great Big American Car (truck) is facing a perfect storm – fuel price, consumer finance crunch, maybe a strong dollar
    Even if you want a rolling living room that can smash the crap outta lesser economic beings (AS PROMOTED IN very effective AUTOMAKER ADVERTISING)- you might not be able to stomach the cost.
    That is what the factual evidence tells me.
    BTW – everytime I rent a car they try to pawn off an SUV on me, nobody wants ‘em

  42. odograph

    Rick is stuck on an observation which is correct:
    People may enjoy either conspicuous consumption or altruisitic behaviour.
    He just doens’t follow that through to the secondary effects … the rest of us may benefit more from thier altruism than consumption.
    There are devils in the details of course, but for vehicle size and oil consumption in this environment it seems pretty easy to figure – we anonymous Americans all benefit more when some random person buys a Prius than when that random person buys an Escalade.
    Actually, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) recently called buying a Prius “the right thing to do.”
    http://www.eande.tv/transcripts/?date=100305#transcript

  43. Movie Guy

    MG: “Plenty of GM autos were also sold during the program. Few would fall within the “gas guzzlers” definition that most informed observers or industry experts apply to such groupings of vehicles. Unless, of course, 28-32 mpg is now considered a “gas guzzler”. ”
    M1EK: “GM doesn’t make a car which gets anywhere near that gas mileage in actual use. You’re being misleading by quoting EPA highway mileage only.”
    Really?
    It’s true that GM doesn’t make manufacture just one automobile which provides a combined highway/city mileage EPA average of 28 mpg or better.
    GM manufactured 16 vehicles/model variants in 2005 which provided a combined highway/city mileage average of 28 mpg or better.
    GM offered 43 different model combinations in 2005 which provide for highway mileage averages (according to the EPA standards) of 28 miles per gallon or better.
    Moreover, the mileage improvements in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 models will be worth noting. Some models will offer improvements representing fuel savings of 8% to 25%. Or better.
    The 2005 list:
    Buick Century – 30 hwy / 20 city (3.1 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Buick LeSabre – 29 hwy / 20 city (3.8 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Buick Park Avenue – 28 hwy / 19 city (3.8 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Chevrolet Aveo – 35 hwy / 27 city (1.6 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 30 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Aveo – 34 hwy / 26 city (1.6 liter, 4 cylinder) 29 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Aveo 5 – 35 hwy / 27 city (1.6 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 30 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Aveo 5 – 34 hwy / 26 city (1.6 liter, 4 cylinder) 29 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Cavalier – 36 hwy / 26 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 30 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Cavalier – 34 hwy / 24 city (2.2 liter 4 cylinder) 28 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Classic – 34 hwy / 25 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder) 28 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Cobalt – 34 hwy / 25 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 28 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Cobalt – 32 hwy / 24 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder)
    Chevrolet Corvette – 28 hwy / 18 city (6.0 liter, 8 cylinder)
    Chevrolet Impala – 32 hwy / 21 city (3.4 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Chevrolet Malibu – 35 hwy / 24 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder) 28 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Malibu – 32 hwy / 22 city (3.5 liter, 6 cylinder) 26 mpg combined
    Chevrolet Malibu Maxx – 30 hwy / 22 city (3.5 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Chevrolet Monte Carlo – 32 hwy / 21 city (3.4 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Chevrolet Monte Carlo – 30 hwy / 20 city (3.8 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Pontiac G6 – 32 hwy / 22 city (3.5 liter, 6 cylinder, L4)
    Pontiac G6 – 29 hwy / 21 city (3.5 liter, 6 cylinder, S4)
    Pontiac Grand Am – 34 hwy / 25 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder) 28 mpg combined
    Pontiac Grand Am – 29 hwy / 20 city (3.4 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Pontiac Grand Prix – 30 hwy / 20 city (3.8 liter, 6 cylinder)
    Pontiac Grand Prix – 28 hwy / 18 city (3.8 liter supercharged, 6 cylinder)
    Pontiac Grand Prix – 28 hwy / 17 city (5.7 liter, 8 cylinder)
    Pontiac Sunfire – 36 hwy / 26 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 30 mpg combined
    Pontiac Sunfire – 34 hwy / 24 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder) 28 mpg combined
    Pontiac Vibe – 36 hwy / 30 city (1.8 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 33 mpg combined
    Pontiac Vibe – 34 hwy / 29 city (1.8 liter, 4 cylinder) 31 mpg combined
    Pontiac Vibe – 32 hwy / 25 city (1.8 liter, 4 cylinder, manual, sport) 28 mpg combined
    Saab 9-3 – 32 hwy / 22 city (2.0 liter, 4 cylinder, manual)
    Saab 9-3 – 30 hwy / 22 city (2.0 liter, 4 cylinder)
    Saab 9-5 – 30 hwy / 20 city (2.3 liter, 4 cylinder, manual)
    Saab 9-5 – 28 hwy / 19 city (2.3 liter, 4 cylinder)
    Saab 9-5 Wagon – 30 hwy / 20 city (2.3 liter, 4 cylinder, manual)
    Saab 9-5 Wagon – 28 hwy / 19 city (2.3 liter, 4 cylinder)
    Saturn ION – 35 hwy / 26 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder, manual) 30 mpg combined
    Saturn ION – 32 hwy / 24 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder)
    Saturn L300 – 28 hwy / 21 city (3.0 liters, 6 cylinder)
    Saturn Vue – 29 hwy / 23 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder, manual)
    Saturn Vue – 28 hwy / 22 city (2.2 liter, 4 cylinder)
    Saturn Vue – 28 hwy / 20 city (3.5 liter, 4 cylinder)

  44. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “And GM’s 2007 hybrids ARE a marketing effort – they’re a joke. Adding 1 or 2 MPG to a huge truck isn’t what consumers were looking for.”
    Perhaps the following documented history of efforts by General Motors will help put such assertions in perspective:
    Excerpts:
    1968 – GM produced auto industry’s first operational fuel cell-powered vehicle.
    1996 – The EV1 was an all-electric vehicle conceived, developed and built by GM, and offered for lease through Saturn retailers in California and Arizona beginning in December 1996 and through August 2004. At its time, the EV1 was a stretch well beyond existing technological boundaries. EV1 owners were a proud, loyal group. Unfortunately, there were not enough of them. GM was able to lease only about 800 EV1s in four years– not enough to establish commercial viability.
    1997 – GM unveiled Opel experimental fuel cell vehicle at Geneva International Motor Show.
    1998 – GM introduced first driveable fuel cell concept (Opel Zafira minivan) at Paris Motor Show.
    1999 – GM signed five-year technical agreement with Toyota to develop advanced vehicle technologies, including fuel cells.
    2000 – January – GM unveiled Precept FCEV, fuel cell electric vehicle and PNGV demonstrator, at North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, USA. (Designed to achieve 108 m.p.g. gasoline equivalent.)
    2000 – March – GM created Giner Electrochemical Systems (GES) with Giner, Inc. to perform fuel cell research and development. (Giner is the leader in PEM-based technologies.)
    2000 – August – GM announced development of highly-efficient gasoline fuel processor for fuel cell vehicles with ExxonMobil.
    2000 – November – GM showcased HydroGen1 at fuel cell technology seminar in China. (HydroGen1 achieved full power nearly 12 times faster in freezing conditions than same design unveiled in 1999.)
    2001 – March – GM released comprehensive Well-to-Wheel study by GM, Argonne National Laboratory, BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell showing that hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles offer the cleanest and most efficient combination of fuel and propulsion system in long-term.
    2001 – May – GM set 15 international endurance records for fuel cell-powered vehicles by HydroGen1 at GM’s Mesa, Arizona Proving Grounds. HydroGen1 completed 862 miles in 24-hour endurance run.
    2001 – June – GM announced 25-year collaboration with General Hydrogen to accelerate the spread of a hydrogen infrastructure and to speed introduction of fuel cell vehicles into North America, Europe, Asia and emerging markets.
    2001 – September – GM showcased HydroGen3 at Frankfurt Auto Show. Announced that GM’s latest fuel cell stack sets new world standard for power density that packs 60% more power than any competitor.
    2001 – October – GM announced agreement with Suzuki Motor Corporation to collaborate on fuel cell vehicle development, focused on small cars.
    2001 – October – GM announced multi-year collaborative research agreement with ChevronTexaco to advance fuel cell technology and gasoline processing for fuel cell vehicles. Agreement will accelerate GM’s efforts to offer a gasoline-fed fuel cell vehicle to retail customers.
    2001 – October – GM participated in Michelin’s Bibendum Challenge showcasing the HydroGen1 fuel celled-vehicle and QUANTUM’s TriShield hydrogen storage cylinder. Announced HydroGen1 was the only fuel cell-powered vehicle to finish Bibendum’s 350-kilometer course from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
    2002 – January – GM unveiled AUTOnomy concept which is the first vehicle designed from the ground up around a fuel cell propulsion system and the first to combine fuel cells with x-by-wire technology.
    2002 – April – GM exhibited Phoenix at an Earth Day exhibit in Beijing with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans in attendance. The Phoenix is a fuel cell wagon developed jointly by the Pan Asia Automotive Technology Center (PATAC), a joint venture of GM and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
    2002 – April – GM demonstrated Chevrolet S-10 Gasoline-Fed Fuel Cell Vehicle, the world’s first drivable fuel cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity.
    2002 – August – GM provided a public preview of the Hy-wire, the world?s first drivable vehicle that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with by-wire technology, at the GM Product Seminar in Santa Barbara, Calif.
    2002 – December – GM announced a joint program with Federal Express to advance fuel cell technology by conducting the first commercial test of a fuel cell vehicle in Japan.
    2003 – GM’s Opel Zafira CNG (compressed natural gas) model is made available. The Zafira has a 14-liter gasoline reserve tank. This enables the driver to switch to gasoline when the CNG tanks are nearing empty and there are no natural gas filling stations in the area.
    2003 – GM introduced the GM Allison hybrid electric diesel propulsion system for transit buses.
    2003 – January – GM revealed, with the U.S. Army, a diesel hybrid military pickup truck equipped with a fuel cell auxiliary power unit that could become the model for the Army?s new fleet of 30,000 light tactical vehicles by the end of the decade.
    2003 – February – GM announced world?s first successful vehicle test of a 10,000 PSI (700 bar) hydrogen storage system. The new 20,000 PSI tank technology extends the range of the HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle by 60-70 percent compared to an equivalent-sized 5,000 PSI system.
    2003 – March – GM announced a partnership with Shell Hydrogen which includes a demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and fueling infrastructure technology in the Washington, D.C area. The demo features the nation?s first hydrogen pump at a Shell retail gas station to support a GM demo fleet of fuel cell vehicles.
    2003 – March – Japan?s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) granted GM the first-ever approval to drive a liquid hydrogen-fueled vehicle on public roads in Japan. With a driving range of 400 kilometer (250 miles), HydroGen3 has the highest driving range of any fuel cell vehicle approved for public roads in Japan.
    2003 – April – GM announced an agreement with the BMW Group to jointly develop refueling devices for liquid hydrogen vehicles and invited other carmakers and suppliers to join this initiative.
    2003 – July – GM and Federal Express announced a partnership where the HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle will be used by Federal Express in the first commercial use of a fuel cell vehicle in Japan.
    2003 – August – GM demonstrates wheel hub motor technology that can provide a 60 percent increase in torque at the launch in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
    2004 – GM introduced the world’s first full-size hybrid pickup in the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. The hybrid pickup uses GM’s flywheel alternator starter (FAS) hybrid system, delivers 10 percent improved fuel economy and the highest city fuel economy of any full-size truck.
    2004 – October 14 – GM took top honors in several categories with it?s HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle at the 2004 Michelin Bibendum competition in Shanghai. The competition pitted 74 hybrid, diesel and fuel cell vehicles, measuring everything from acceleration to fuel efficiency to CO2 emissions.
    2004 – November 10 – A retail hydrogen fueling station opened in Washington DC as the centerpiece in a partnership announced between Shell and GM to develop hydrogen-fueled vehicles on a commercial scale. The station is the first at a retail gas station to service. It will service six GM fuel cell vehicles. Both compressed and liquid hydrogen refueling are available.
    2005 – GM’s engine Displacement on Demand technology is introduced in some vehicles; program will expand in 2006 model lineup and beyond. General Motors announced that the 2005 Grand Prix and the 2006 Monte Carlo and Impala will join the GMC Envoy XL, Envoy XUV and Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT in providing Displacement on Demand fuel-saving technology. Enabled by GM’s powerful electronic powertrain controls, Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The fuel supply resumes and the valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads. Up to 8 percent better fuel economy than the traditional engine.
    2005 – GM continues its E85 flexible fuel vehicles program, expanding its usage. FFVs can use either gasoline or E85 alternative fuel. Some of GM’s most popular full-size pickup trucks and SUVs are E85 capable. More than 1 million vehicles on the road today are E85 capable, and cars will soon join the E85 lineup. GM is one of the largest producers of E85 FFVs in the U.S. E85, a renewable, domestically produced alternative fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is a clean alternative to petroleum based fuels that substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. GM was the first automaker to approve the use of 10 percent ethanol-gasoline blends in all of its vehicles more than 20 years ago. E85 is available in the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Chevrolet Avalanche, and Monte Carlo.
    2005 – January 6 – GM joined with Sandia National Lab in a partnership to design and test an advanced method for storing hydrogen. The 4-year, $10 million program is intended to develop and test tanks that store hydrogen in sodium aluminum hydride. The goal is to be able to store more hydrogen onboard that other hydrogen storage methods currently in use.
    2005 – January 10 – GM?s Sequel was unveiled in Detroit.
    2005 – January 27 – GM announced that it will be providing 13 fuel cell-powered vehicles and that Shell Hydrogen LLC intends to establish New York State?s first hydrogen service station in the New York City metropolitan area in 2006. GM and Shell will be the only team bringing fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling to the New York City metropolitan area under the U.S. Department of Energy?s Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation project.
    2005 – September 7 – The BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors Corporation today signed a “memorandum of understanding” governing the formation of an alliance of equals for the joint development of hybrid drive systems. The three global automakers are cooperating in order to pool their expertise for the accelerated and efficient development of hybrid drive systems. In Troy, Michigan, the new “GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center” will develop the overall modular system and the individual components: electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, safety systems, energy management, and hybrid system control units. In addition, the Hybrid Development Center will be responsible for system integration and project management.
    GM?s two-mode full hybrid system has been established as the starting point for the GM-DaimlerChrysler collaboration. Variants planned include rear-, front- and all-wheel drive versions for cars, trucks and other vehicles. The first mode provides fuel-saving capability in low-speed, stop-and-go driving, the kind of driving typical of urban commuting, with a combination of full electric propulsion and engine power. The second mode is used primarily at high speeds to optimize fuel economy, while providing full engine power when conditions demand it, such as trailer towing or climbing steep grades. It works synergistically with other technologies such as Displacement on Demand to reduce fuel consumption at highway speeds. GM feels it is best to employ hybrid technology first on large vehicles, such as buses and SUVs, because they generally are the largest consumers of fuel.
    2006 – The 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and Chevrolet Impala will offer Displacement on Demand engine technology.
    2006 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Saturn VUE Greenline (2007 model year). This hybrid system will offer good fuel economy savings over the conventional vehicle and will be one of the most affordable hybrids for consumers. The GM belt alternator starter hybrid is one of three innovative hybrid systems that GM plans to introduce on up to 12 models, providing consumers a broad portfolio of hybrid systems that will vary in fuel savings and cost.
    2007 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Chevrolet Malibu.
    2007 – GM will offer the Displacement on Demand engine technology on the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and other truck models. Displacement on Demand will be a standard feature of the vehicles’ optional 5.3-liter V-8 engine. The more efficient engine will boost the fuel efficiency of these vehicles by about 8 percent (based on an EPA testing procedure). Displacement on Demand will enhance fuel economy without compromising performance or the ability to carry heavy loads. Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The fuel supply resumes and the valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads. The V-8 engine always starts on eight cylinders, and in the case of the V-6 engine, six cylinders. But once the vehicle has accelerated to speed, the engine control module activates Displacement on Demand, providing improved fuel economy through a relatively inexpensive change in displacement to meet the vehicle load requirements.
    2007 – GM will introduce the world’s first two-mode full hybrid in full-size SUVs (Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon). Provides at least a 25 percent improved fuel economy. The vehicles use a two-mode full hybrid combined with a Vortec 5300 V-8 with Displacement on Demand (DoD) technology. The two-mode full hybrid system is based on GM?s successful diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system for transit buses, 364 of which are in service in 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada .
    2008 – GM estimates that up to 2 million GM vehicles with V6 and V8 engines will feature Displacement on Demand technology by 2008.
    2010 – GM may have a number of hydrogen fuel cell models on the market. And other additions may supplement GM’s three hybrid systems employed in a number of models.

  45. Movie Guy

    And what is on the horizon for Toyota?
    http://www.toyota.com/about/news/manufacturing/2005/05/17-1-kentucky-hybrid.html
    “May 17, 2005 – Georgetown, KY – Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America (TMMNA) today announced the company’s first North American gas-electric hybrid production will be at its Georgetown, Ky., plant Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) when production of a Camry hybrid begins in late 2006.”
    “TMMK will have the capacity to build approximately 48,000 Camry hybrid vehicles per year. The addition of hybrid production to TMMK will include a $10 million investment in the plant.”
    “TMMK was established in 1986 and is Toyota’s largest plant in North America. It employs approximately 7,000 team members and currently builds the Camry, Avalon and Solara. The plant has the capacity to build 500,000 vehicles annually.”
    “Toyota expects capacity and employment to stay the same at TMMK with the addition of the Camry hybrid. The production of these hybrid vehicles will take place on the plant’s existing lines, and no new construction is planned.”
    “By 2006, Toyota will have the annual capacity to build 1.66 million cars and trucks, 1.44 million engines, and 600,000 automatic transmissions in North America.”
    48,000 Camry hybrid units isn’t going to make much of a dent in North America’s overall automobile sales.

  46. Movie Guy

    CORRECTION to the GM info post above:
    The following entries indicated 2007, but the introductions will occur during early 2006 (Jan – Mar).
    2007 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Chevrolet Malibu.
    2007 – GM will offer the Displacement on Demand engine technology on the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and other truck models. Displacement on Demand will be a standard feature of the vehicles’ optional 5.3-liter V-8 engine. The more efficient engine will boost the fuel efficiency of these vehicles by about 8 percent (based on an EPA testing procedure). Displacement on Demand will enhance fuel economy without compromising performance or the ability to carry heavy loads. Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The fuel supply resumes and the valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads. The V-8 engine always starts on eight cylinders, and in the case of the V-6 engine, six cylinders. But once the vehicle has accelerated to speed, the engine control module activates Displacement on Demand, providing improved fuel economy through a relatively inexpensive change in displacement to meet the vehicle load requirements.
    —-
    Not sure about this one, but I believe that this will occur in 2006 also:
    2007 – GM will introduce the world’s first two-mode full hybrid in full-size SUVs (Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon). Provides at least a 25 percent improved fuel economy. The vehicles use a two-mode full hybrid combined with a Vortec 5300 V-8 with Displacement on Demand (DoD) technology. The two-mode full hybrid system is based on GM’s successful diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system for transit buses, 364 of which are in service in 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada .

  47. Movie Guy

    Second CORRECTION:
    Only the following entry should fall under 2006 based on current information:
    2006 – Jan/Feb/Mar – GM will offer the Displacement on Demand engine technology on the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and other 2007 truck models (early market entry in 2006). Displacement on Demand will be a standard feature of the vehicles’ optional 5.3-liter V-8 engine. The more efficient engine will boost the fuel efficiency of these vehicles by about 8 percent (based on an EPA testing procedure). Displacement on Demand will enhance fuel economy without compromising performance or the ability to carry heavy loads. Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The fuel supply resumes and the valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads. The V-8 engine always starts on eight cylinders, and in the case of the V-6 engine, six cylinders. But once the vehicle has accelerated to speed, the engine control module activates Displacement on Demand, providing improved fuel economy through a relatively inexpensive change in displacement to meet the vehicle load requirements.
    The same application on the 5.3 liter version of the forthcoming Cadillac Escalade should occur.

  48. M1EK

    “BTW – everytime I rent a car they try to pawn off an SUV on me, nobody wants ‘em”
    This just happened to me as well.
    And Movie Guy, the focus on hydrogen over hybrids is evidence to some of us that GM was more interested in stopping hybrids than in really moving off petroleum, considering how far away we STILL are from a feasible system.

  49. odograph

    Forbes had an interesting quote from GM on that:
    “With so many decks steeply stacked against GM, why does it even bother with hydrogen? Hydrogen has the virtue of removing the auto industry from the environmental debate, even if it creates the same or more pollution upstream. As Burns likes to point out: ‘If we want to have our market capitalization approach that of other industries, we cant have the car held hostage to the debates about energy dependence, resource usage, global climate change.’
    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2005/0425/078.html

  50. odograph

    Interesting, looking back on it, that their electric car also removed them from “energy dependence, resource usage, global climate change” debates, and also pushed those questions upstream.
    One wonders why they didn’t just keep their electric car in slow production and point to it as the answer.
    Maybe the real answer is that it worked too well.

  51. Rick

    That is a great timeline Movie Guy. I printed it off for my salespeople to use. Thanks. It certainly shows how GM is gambling on hydrogen fuel cells becoming mainstream. Let’s hope the investment is worthwhile. We have delivered several thousand E85 compatible Tahoe, Suburban, and Silverados over the past several years. I’d bet 90%+ of these owners have no idea that they have the flex fuel capability. If gas prices stay elevated it will be interesting to see if E85 becomes more viable as a fuel alternative. If so, there are lots of vehicles capable of switching immediately.

  52. M1EK

    On the serious hope that Movie Guy’s stuff wasn’t just hype, I went and read about GM’s most recently updated hybrid plans at hybridcars.com. I urge you all to do the same, because it’s seriously, SERIOUSLY underwhelming.
    The BEST offering I can see is a Malibu hybrid which purports to increase mileage by 10%. Seriously.

  53. odograph

    Rick, the best thing you could do is send the signal upward that you don’t want GM to avoid the issues of “energy dependence, resource usage, global climate change” but that instead, you want to be in the business of solving them.
    Using hydrogen as a screen from those issues got you in the position you are today … printing timelines off the internet while sales turn south.

  54. Rick

    Actually our GM sales have been really good this year. That’s why it’s so troubling for me to read every day about how GM is struggling. I realize that I’m just one dealer, but the market as a whole in 2005 is performing well. It’s not a record breaking year, but very profitable for a retailer. GM has serious problems, but I still contend that they have less to do with their products, and more to do with expense, structure, and image. If you read the press these days, you’d think about all GM is good for are gas sucking sport utilities. I sell every Impala and Cobalt I can get built. I have a two month waiting list for HHRs, and Cadillac is a steady performer (The STS AWD is an awesome, awesome machine). The press would also lead you to believe that big sport utilities have completely stopped selling. NOT TRUE. We continue to sell Tahoes, Suburbans, and Escalades every day. 1 Escalade and 1 Tahoe today! Yes I wish we had more Hybrid vehicles available, and I do believe GM missed the opportunity for leadership in this category, but don’t count the General out yet just for that reason alone. Pressure to create shareholder value today, legacy and healthcare costs, a stubborn union, and an inability to make swift changes cripple GM these days. As a dealer, however, GM has been great. When you read about market share loss, just consider how many more makes and models are available in the market today compared to just 10-15 years ago. If you wanted a mid-sized sport utility in 1991 you could have an Explorer, a Jeep Cherokee, an S10 Blazer, a Toyota 4Runner, or a Nissan Pathfinder. I may have missed one but you had about 5 or 6 choices. In 2005 you absolutely have no less than 35 to choose from. Even the poor performers are bound to get some market share. It’s simply not reasonable to expect any company to hold market share for any length of time in the US without enduring some dips and swells. GM is burdened with an expense structure lacks the flexibility required to absorb the dips, and therefore is in trouble. If there is a remedy for that situation, I have no doubt that we will continue to have success together.

  55. odograph

    Interesting coincidence. I did have a 1991 (hand me down) Jeep Cherokee. And now I have my Prius ;-)
    Just curous, do you have any idea on how many of the 35 are ‘doubles’ – essentially the same thing branded for another division?

  56. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “On the serious hope that Movie Guy’s stuff wasn’t just hype, I went and read about GM’s most recently updated hybrid plans at hybridcars.com. I urge you all to do the same, because it’s seriously, SERIOUSLY underwhelming.
    The BEST offering I can see is a Malibu hybrid which purports to increase mileage by 10%. Seriously.”
    Why are you basing your “thorough” analysis on a weak web site like hybridcars.com?
    Here’s a government web site that offers much better sources of information:
    Advanced Technology
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Advanced_Tech.shtml

  57. odograph

    Also, on one small thing that bothers me – I think GM had the right idea when they slotted Saturn as a Toyota/Honda competetor and had them make 40mpg cars.
    According to my copy of the ’05 EPA mileage spreadsheet (which may not have mid-year changes) the best Saturn mpg today comes from the Ion, with 26 city, 35 highway, 34.86 combined.
    Forget hyrbirds, why did they actually back away fromt the SL2 and SL4 slots, which got 29/40 (don’t know the combined) and made a place on the “Top 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars for 2001:
    http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/47000/article.html
    This is what I mean about GM not maintaining diverse products line as well as Toyota. If they had, they’d have improved, and not lost ground on Saturn mileage.
    It would of course have been a home run if they’d put a 50 mpg Saturn Hyrid in place for 2005 … but self-delusion on a future of low gas prices prevented that.
    Indeed, I think that is the key. They may a single predction of gas price, and based ALL of their division’s strategies on that price. Why keep Saturn mileage up when gas was going to be cheap, right?
    Anway, I don’t wish your GM ill, this is frustration talking.

  58. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “On the serious hope that Movie Guy’s stuff wasn’t just hype, I went and read about GM’s most recently updated hybrid plans at hybridcars.com.”
    Hype, eh?
    Anyone can locate the same information that I posted in the timeline. Visit the GM web site. Then do a little work rounding it up.
    Here is the General Motors documented information that I used to build the timeline. Note that I didn’t use all of it.
    General Motors Information
    GM Global Technology Strategy
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/sustainability/reports/04/400_products/410_our_ove.html
    Fuel Cells – Power Systems
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/sustainability/reports/04/400_products/422_alt_fue.html
    Fuel Cell Vehicles – Overview
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/400_fcv/index.html
    Fuel Cell Vehicles – Milestones
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/400_fcv/fc_milestones.html
    * A primary source for the blog post timeline
    Fuel Cell Vehicles – News
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/400_fcv/index_fc.html
    * note the list of news releases for specific developments
    Fuel Cell Vehicles – Fact Sheets
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/400_fcv/fact_sheets.html
    EV1: Lessons Learned
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/300_hybrids/hyb_ev1.html
    Hybrids – Power Systems
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/sustainability/reports/04/400_products/421_alt_hyb.html
    Hybrids – Overview and Index
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/300_hybrids/index.html
    Hybrids – Timeline
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/300_hybrids/hyb_timeline.html
    * Stated on the Timeline page: 2006 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Saturn VUE Greenline (2007 model year). 2007 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Chevrolet Malibu. GM will introduce the world’s first two-mode full hybrid in full-size SUVs (Tahoe and Yukon). Provides at least a 25 percent improved fuel economy.
    Hybrids – Fact Sheets
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/300_hybrids/fact_sheets.html
    GM’s NEW HYBRID Provides Additional Options for Consumers
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/hybrid_082505.html
    Saturn VUE – Belt Alternator Starter Hybrid System
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/images/fact_sheets/saturn_vue_bas.html
    GM Hybrid Truck – Flywheel Alternator Starter Hybrid System
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/images/fact_sheets/gmc_sierra_pht.html
    Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT – Displacement on Demand
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/images/fact_sheets/chev_trail_ext.gif
    GMC Yukon Hybrid – Two Mode Full Hybrid (TMFH)
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/images/fact_sheets/gmc_yukon.html
    * 25-percent composite improved fuel economy over single mode systems
    Chevrolet Hybrid – Two Mode Full Hybrid (TMFH)
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/images/fact_sheets/chevy_tahoe.html
    * 25-percent composite improved fuel economy over single mode systems
    GM Alternate Fuel Vehicles
    http://www.gm.com/automotive/innovations/altfuel/
    GM and E85
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/environment/e85/index.html
    Opel Zafira CNG
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/images/fact_sheets/zafira.html
    GM Advanced Technology
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/
    * Open up sublinks for E85 vehicles
    Advanced Internal Combustion Engines
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/200_ice/index.html
    Advance Engines – Fact Sheets
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/200_ice/fact_sheets.html
    GM Advance Technology Recent News
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/index.html
    GM 2005 Advance Technology news releases:
    Global Alliance for Hybrid Drive Development: Cooperation between BMW, DaimlerChrysler and GM
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/hybrid_090805.html
    GM’s NEW HYBRID Provides Additional Options for Consumers
    http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=17540
    * Saturn will be the first to debut the belt alternator starter hybrid system in mid-2006, when it introduces the 2007 Vue Green Line.
    GM Announces Additional Vehicles will Feature Displacement On Demand
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/200_ice/dod_050803.html
    GM Demonstrates Future Technologies to Improve Future Powertrain Efficiency
    http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=17541
    GM, Bosch Team with Stanford on Technologies to Make Gas Engines 20 Percent More Efficient, with Near-Zero Emissions
    http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=17292
    New Hydra-Matic 6T70 Six-Speed Automatic Delivers Performance and Fuel Economy
    http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=17537
    New Allison 1000 Transmission Offers Six-Speed Performance and Range Selection Mode
    http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewmonthlyreleasedetail.do?domain=74&docid=16956
    GM 3.9 V-6 Breakthrough Technology
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/pop_mechanics_award_093005.html
    GM Delivers First Fuel Cell Truck to U.S. Army
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/fc_army_040105.html
    Survey Finds Americans Support Energy Independence, Hydrogen-Based Economy
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/hydrogendependence_062905.html
    Opel Astra Diesel Hybrid Concept Demonstrates Easy Scalability of Innovative Two-Mode Full Hybrid System
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/astra_011005.html
    GMC Graphyte’s Two-Mode Full Hybrid Points To The Future Of SUVs
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/graphyte_011005.html
    GM Sequel: Reinvented Automobile No Longer Just a Dream
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/sequel_011005.html
    GM 2004 Advanced Technology news
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/index_2004.html
    GM and DaimlerChrysler Join Forces to Develop Two-Mode Full Hybrid Propulsion System
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/hybrid_121304.html
    GM, SAIC to Pursue Joint Development of Clean Vehicles in China
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/china_110104.html
    GM Announces Plans for 50 New Powertrain Variants By The End of The Decade
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/hybrid_092004.html
    GM, U.S. Postal Service Agree To Move Mail With Fuel Cells
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/postal_061504.html
    GM Delivers The World’s First Full-Size Hybrid
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/hybrid_050304.html
    GM 2003 Advanced Technology news
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/index_2003.html
    GM Adds Full-Size SUVs and Pick-up Trucks to Advanced Technology Portfolio
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/suv_110603.html
    GM Announces Additional Vehicles will Feature Displacement On Demand
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/200_ice/dod_050803.html
    GM Hybrid Technology To Achieve Massive Fuel Economy Gains, Emissions Reductions in Mass Transit
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/100_news/seattle_102003.html
    FedEx Express and GM move fuel cell technology another step toward commercialization
    http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/400_fcv/gm_fedex_delivery_070903.html

  59. Movie Guy

    * Information sources listed in the post above.
    General Motors Alternate Fuels and Hybrids Advanced Powertrain Technologies Timeline
    1968 – GM produced auto industry’s first operational fuel cell-powered vehicle.
    1996 – The EV1 was an all-electric vehicle conceived, developed and built by GM, and offered for lease through Saturn retailers in California and Arizona beginning in December 1996 and through August 2004. At its time, the EV1 was a stretch well beyond existing technological boundaries. EV1 owners were a proud, loyal group. Unfortunately, there were not enough of them. GM was able to lease only about 800 EV1s in four years– not enough to establish commercial viability.
    1997 – GM unveiled Opel experimental fuel cell vehicle at Geneva International Motor Show.
    1998 – GM introduced first driveable fuel cell concept (Opel Zafira minivan) at Paris Motor Show.
    1999 – GM signed five-year technical agreement with Toyota to develop advanced vehicle technologies, including fuel cells.
    2000 – January – GM unveiled Precept FCEV, fuel cell electric vehicle and PNGV demonstrator, at North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, USA. (Designed to achieve 108 m.p.g. gasoline equivalent.)
    2000 – March – GM created Giner Electrochemical Systems (GES) with Giner, Inc. to perform fuel cell research and development. (Giner is the leader in PEM-based technologies.)
    2000 – August – GM announced development of highly-efficient gasoline fuel processor for fuel cell vehicles with ExxonMobil.
    2000 – November – GM showcased HydroGen1 at fuel cell technology seminar in China. (HydroGen1 achieved full power nearly 12 times faster in freezing conditions than same design unveiled in 1999.)
    2001 – March – GM released comprehensive Well-to-Wheel study by GM, Argonne National Laboratory, BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell showing that hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles offer the cleanest and most efficient combination of fuel and propulsion system in long-term.
    2001 – May – GM set 15 international endurance records for fuel cell-powered vehicles by HydroGen1 at GM’s Mesa, Arizona Proving Grounds. HydroGen1 completed 862 miles in 24-hour endurance run.
    2001 – June – GM announced 25-year collaboration with General Hydrogen to accelerate the spread of a hydrogen infrastructure and to speed introduction of fuel cell vehicles into North America, Europe, Asia and emerging markets.
    2001 – September – GM showcased HydroGen3 at Frankfurt Auto Show. Announced that GM’s latest fuel cell stack sets new world standard for power density that packs 60% more power than any competitor.
    2001 – October – GM announced agreement with Suzuki Motor Corporation to collaborate on fuel cell vehicle development, focused on small cars.
    2001 – October – GM announced multi-year collaborative research agreement with ChevronTexaco to advance fuel cell technology and gasoline processing for fuel cell vehicles. Agreement will accelerate GM’s efforts to offer a gasoline-fed fuel cell vehicle to retail customers.
    2001 – October – GM participated in Michelin’s Bibendum Challenge showcasing the HydroGen1 fuel celled-vehicle and QUANTUM’s TriShield hydrogen storage cylinder. Announced HydroGen1 was the only fuel cell-powered vehicle to finish Bibendum’s 350-kilometer course from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
    2002 – January – GM unveiled AUTOnomy concept which is the first vehicle designed from the ground up around a fuel cell propulsion system and the first to combine fuel cells with x-by-wire technology.
    2002 – April – GM exhibited Phoenix at an Earth Day exhibit in Beijing with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans in attendance. The Phoenix is a fuel cell wagon developed jointly by the Pan Asia Automotive Technology Center (PATAC), a joint venture of GM and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
    2002 – April – GM demonstrated Chevrolet S-10 Gasoline-Fed Fuel Cell Vehicle, the world’s first drivable fuel cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity.
    2002 – August – GM provided a public preview of the Hy-wire, the world’s first drivable vehicle that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with by-wire technology, at the GM Product Seminar in Santa Barbara, Calif.
    2002 – December – GM announced a joint program with Federal Express to advance fuel cell technology by conducting the first commercial test of a fuel cell vehicle in Japan.
    2003 – GM’s Opel Zafira CNG (compressed natural gas) model is made available. The Zafira has a 14-liter gasoline reserve tank. This enables the driver to switch to gasoline when the CNG tanks are nearing empty and there are no natural gas filling stations in the area.
    2003 – GM introduced the GM Allison hybrid electric diesel propulsion system for transit buses.
    2003 – January – GM revealed, with the U.S. Army, a diesel hybrid military pickup truck equipped with a fuel cell auxiliary power unit that could become the model for the Army’s new fleet of 30,000 light tactical vehicles by the end of the decade.
    2003 – February – GM announced world’s first successful vehicle test of a 10,000 PSI (700 bar) hydrogen storage system. The new 20,000 PSI tank technology extends the range of the HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle by 60-70 percent compared to an equivalent-sized 5,000 PSI system.
    2003 – March – GM announced a partnership with Shell Hydrogen which includes a demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and fueling infrastructure technology in the Washington, D.C area. The demo features the nation’s first hydrogen pump at a Shell retail gas station to support a GM demo fleet of fuel cell vehicles.
    2003 – March – Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) granted GM the first-ever approval to drive a liquid hydrogen-fueled vehicle on public roads in Japan. With a driving range of 400 kilometer (250 miles), HydroGen3 has the highest driving range of any fuel cell vehicle approved for public roads in Japan.
    2003 – April – GM announced an agreement with the BMW Group to jointly develop refueling devices for liquid hydrogen vehicles and invited other carmakers and suppliers to join this initiative.
    2003 – July – GM and Federal Express announced a partnership where the HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle will be used by Federal Express in the first commercial use of a fuel cell vehicle in Japan.
    2003 – August – GM demonstrates wheel hub motor technology that can provide a 60 percent increase in torque at the launch in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
    2004 – GM introduced the world’s first full-size hybrid pickup in the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. The hybrid pickup uses GM’s flywheel alternator starter (FAS) hybrid system, delivers 10 percent improved fuel economy and the highest city fuel economy of any full-size truck.
    2004 – October 14 – GM took top honors in several categories with it’s HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle at the 2004 Michelin Bibendum competition in Shanghai. The competition pitted 74 hybrid, diesel and fuel cell vehicles, measuring everything from acceleration to fuel efficiency to CO2 emissions.
    2004 – November 10 – A retail hydrogen fueling station opened in Washington DC as the centerpiece in a partnership announced between Shell and GM to develop hydrogen-fueled vehicles on a commercial scale. The station is the first at a retail gas station to service. It will service six GM fuel cell vehicles. Both compressed and liquid hydrogen refueling are available.
    2005 – GM’s engine Displacement on Demand technology is introduced in some vehicles; program will expand in 2006 model lineup and beyond. General Motors announced that the 2005 Grand Prix and the 2006 Monte Carlo and Impala will join the GMC Envoy XL, Envoy XUV and Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT in providing Displacement on Demand fuel-saving technology. Enabled by GM’s powerful electronic powertrain controls, Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The fuel supply resumes and the valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads. Up to 8 percent better fuel economy than the traditional engine.
    2005 – GM continues its E85 flexible fuel vehicles program, expanding its usage. FFVs can use either gasoline or E85 alternative fuel. Some of GM’s most popular full-size pickup trucks and SUVs are E85 capable. More than 1 million vehicles on the road today are E85 capable, and cars will soon join the E85 lineup. GM is one of the largest producers of E85 FFVs in the U.S. E85, a renewable, domestically produced alternative fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is a clean alternative to petroleum based fuels that substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. GM was the first automaker to approve the use of 10 percent ethanol-gasoline blends in all of its vehicles more than 20 years ago. E85 is available in the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Chevrolet Avalanche, and Monte Carlo.
    2005 – January 6 – GM joined with Sandia National Lab in a partnership to design and test an advanced method for storing hydrogen. The 4-year, $10 million program is intended to develop and test tanks that store hydrogen in sodium aluminum hydride. The goal is to be able to store more hydrogen onboard that other hydrogen storage methods currently in use.
    2005 – January 10 – GM’s Sequel was unveiled in Detroit.
    2005 – January 27 – GM announced that it will be providing 13 fuel cell-powered vehicles and that Shell Hydrogen LLC intends to establish New York State’s first hydrogen service station in the New York City metropolitan area in 2006. GM and Shell will be the only team bringing fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling to the New York City metropolitan area under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation project.
    2005 – September 7 – The BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors Corporation today signed a “memorandum of understanding” governing the formation of an alliance of equals for the joint development of hybrid drive systems. The three global automakers are cooperating in order to pool their expertise for the accelerated and efficient development of hybrid drive systems. In Troy, Michigan, the new “GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center” will develop the overall modular system and the individual components: electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, safety systems, energy management, and hybrid system control units. In addition, the Hybrid Development Center will be responsible for system integration and project management.
    GMs two-mode full hybrid system has been established as the starting point for the GM-DaimlerChrysler collaboration. Variants planned include rear-, front- and all-wheel drive versions for cars, trucks and other vehicles. The first mode provides fuel-saving capability in low-speed, stop-and-go driving, the kind of driving typical of urban commuting, with a combination of full electric propulsion and engine power. The second mode is used primarily at high speeds to optimize fuel economy, while providing full engine power when conditions demand it, such as trailer towing or climbing steep grades. It works synergistically with other technologies such as Displacement on Demand to reduce fuel consumption at highway speeds. GM feels it is best to employ hybrid technology first on large vehicles, such as buses and SUVs, because they generally are the largest consumers of fuel.
    2006 – The 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and Chevrolet Impala will offer Displacement on Demand engine technology.
    2006 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Saturn VUE Greenline (2007 model year). This hybrid system will offer good fuel economy savings over the conventional vehicle and will be one of the most affordable hybrids for consumers. The GM belt alternator starter hybrid is one of three innovative hybrid systems that GM plans to introduce on up to 12 models, providing consumers a broad portfolio of hybrid systems that will vary in fuel savings and cost.
    2006 – Jan/Feb/Mar – GM will offer the Displacement on Demand engine technology on the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and other truck models. Displacement on Demand will be a standard feature of the vehicles’ optional 5.3-liter V-8 engine. The more efficient engine will boost the fuel efficiency of these vehicles by about 8 percent (based on an EPA testing procedure). Displacement on Demand will enhance fuel economy without compromising performance or the ability to carry heavy loads. Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of the engine’s cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The fuel supply resumes and the valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads. The V-8 engine always starts on eight cylinders, and in the case of the V-6 engine, six cylinders. But once the vehicle has accelerated to speed, the engine control module activates Displacement on Demand, providing improved fuel economy through a relatively inexpensive change in displacement to meet the vehicle load requirements.
    2007 – GM will introduce the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system in the Chevrolet Malibu.
    2007 – GM will introduce the world’s first two-mode full hybrid in full-size SUVs (Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon). Provides at least a 25 percent improved fuel economy. The vehicles use a two-mode full hybrid combined with a Vortec 5300 V-8 with Displacement on Demand (DoD) technology. The two-mode full hybrid system is based on GM’s successful diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system for transit buses, 364 of which are in service in 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada .
    2008 – GM estimates that up to 2 million GM vehicles with V6 and V8 engines will feature Displacement on Demand technology by 2008.
    2010 – GM may have a number of hydrogen fuel cell models on the market. And other additions may supplement GM’s three hybrid systems employed in a number of models.

  60. odograph

    Since I’m back here posting … did you notice that the only GM on the 2005 top 10 mpg list is the Vibe, a rebadged Toyota? The only Dodge is the Neon, which as I understand it is already canceled.
    That leaves the showing by “US Automakers” pretty thin … though I suppose they do better in other “segments” (irony).

  61. M1EK

    Movie Guy,
    As my old boss pointed out, “displacement on demand” is arguably decades-old technology. The remainder of your list is pathetic – “hybrids” which add 10 or 15% to the already sad MPG of the models they’re being added to, so that GM can claim to be making hybrids “too”.

  62. Movie Guy

    M1EK,
    I wonder if you have an adequate technical understanding of how the new GM displacement on demand system works. It is a very odd remark for someone making a comparison to the old system if based on an informed judgment.
    Mating an already efficient engine in terms of power to weight ratio (small displacement V6 and V8 variants) and tightness of machining tolerances (for emission purposes) and offering electronic/mechanical displacement on demand technology with a six speed automatic transmission (perhaps with dual overdrive) is a smart move.
    Belittling the new displacement demand system is ridiculous. It improves fuel efficiency inexpensively by at least 10% and that’s the whole point. Moreover, the potential need for additional torque is still there, whether needed for acceleration or towing/hauling. Add in the further potential savings from transmission improvements and the picture looks even better.
    Similarly, using the same engine example, let’s add GM’s two-mode full hybrid system. That what happens with the 2007 model options. The net result is very large savings in terms of fuel economy and reductions in national fuel demands. Vehicles using these powertrain combinations will benefit from fuel savings of at least 25%.
    An estimated two million GM vehicles will be saving 10 – 25% or more in fuel consumption by 2008. The reduction in national fuel demand requirements is significant. The fuel savings impact will be larger than the small market share percentage of total vehicle sales in North America that limited production of small hybrid vehicles will represent.
    It remains to be seen if Toyota’s hybrid SUV mileage performances will match those of the forthcoming GM hybrid SUVs. Toyota’s Highlander and RX400h only average 22 mpg and 23 mpg respectively according to Consumer Reports testing, which are only very slight improvements over the gasoline versions of the same vehicles when comparing such to the model versions utilizing the 3.3 liter engines, and only match the performance offered by the version using the 2.4 liter engines. That’s an expensive premium for consumers to pay for near zero improvements in average mileage. Consumer complaints are already being received by Toyota.

  63. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “The remainder of your list is pathetic – “hybrids” which add 10 or 15% to the already sad MPG of the models they’re being added to, so that GM can claim to be making hybrids “too”.”
    It’s not a list that I invented from thin air as you suggested previously. The timeline is simply a documented record of various efforts that General Motors has undertaken in addressing needs to reduce emissions and improve powertrain efficiencies, including fuel cell developments, alternate fuels, and powertrain combinations or substitutions.
    Your single-minded focus appears to be on small hybrid vehicles such as the 2890 pound 1.5 liter 76 horsepower Toyota Prius or Honda’s models. That’s fine, but a narrow focus hardly addresses the spectrum of transportation fuel savings being addressed by General Motors with regard to other transportation modes as well as its broader approach to improving fuel savings for vehicles throughout its fleet. As an example, General Motors undertook major efforts to switch its vehicle models over to regular gasoline usage. That’s a claim that Toyota can not make across the board, as it still marketed vehicles in 2005 which still required premium gasoline (93 octane).
    GM’s list of alternate fuel/hybrid design/fuel cell/fuel mileage improvements other than Displacement on Demand efforts to date is “pathetic” in your opinion.
    Where is your similar criticism of Toyota’s lack of effort to improve fuel efficiencies in some of its other models?
    I suggest that Toyota is not far along in improving its fleet problems with low average highway and city mileage vehicles which represent a major portion of its more profitable vehicle sales. This consideration includes the Toyota Lexus lineup. The use of premium 93 octane versus 87 octane in some of Toyota’s automobiles (cars) speaks volumes about Toyota’s problems with achieving given horsepower levels to handle some of its vehicles’ power to weight ratio performance issues.
    And Toyota is still losing money on the limited production of its current three hybrid models. Only one model is being produced on scale (large volume).

  64. Movie Guy

    In Jim Hamilton’s original and intriguing post, he made the remark that “the [GM] gas guzzlers that consumers bought earlier this summer may look like albatrosses to them now each time they pull out a C-note to fill ‘em up.”
    Ok. What about Toyota’s fleet of vehicles? Any “gas guzzlers” in that group? [Oops...]
    We should apply fair play to Jim’s remark as well as the opinions of M1EK who also has taken General Motors to task for being “pathetic”.
    Let’s take a look at the mileage performance of Toyota vehicles. Fair is fair.
    As some may recall…
    MG: “Plenty of GM autos were also sold during the program. Few would fall within the “gas guzzlers” definition that most informed observers or industry experts apply to such groupings of vehicles. Unless, of course, 28-32 mpg is now considered a “gas guzzler”. ”
    M1EK: “GM doesn’t make a car which gets anywhere near that gas mileage in actual use. You’re being misleading by quoting EPA highway mileage only.”
    MG: “Really? It’s true that GM doesn’t make manufacture just one automobile which provides a combined highway/city mileage EPA average of 28 mpg or better.”
    “GM manufactured 16 vehicles/model variants in 2005 which provided a combined highway/city mileage average of 28 mpg or better.”
    “GM offered 43 different model combinations in 2005 which provide for highway mileage averages (according to the EPA standards) of 28 miles per gallon or better.”
    And then I listed the vehicles concerned. (That list is posted further up the thread for those who aren’t aware.)
    The ‘I love Toyota’ “Gas Guzzler” Analysis:
    Toyota manufactured 16 vehicles/model variants in 2005 which provided a combined highway/city mileage average of 28 mpg or better.
    Toyota offered 27 different model combinations in 2005 which provide for highway mileage averages (according to the EPA standards) of 28 miles per gallon or better.
    Toyota offered 38 different model combinations in 2005 which provide less than 28 miles per gallon for highway mpg averages.
    Toyota offered 34 model combinations which do not exceed 20 miles per gallon for city mpg averages.
    Here’s the Toyota model and variant lineup:
    Source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
    Toyota Avalon
    6 cyl, 3.5 L, Auto(5) – 31 hwy / 22 city / 25 combined
    Passenger Volume 107 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 14 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Camry
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(5) – 34 hwy / 24 city / 28 combined
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Man(5)- 33 hwy / 24 city / 27 combined
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5)- 29 hwy / 21 city / 24 combined
    6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(5) – 28 hwy / 20 city / 23 combined
    Passenger Volume 102 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 17 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Camry Solara
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Man(5) – 33 hwy / 24 city / 27 combined
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4) – 32 hwy / 23 city / 26 combined
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(S5) – 29 hwy / 21 city / 24 combined
    Passenger Volume 92 ft3 (2D)
    Luggage Volume 14 ft3 (2D)
    Toyota Camry Convertible
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 29 hwy / 21 city / 23 combined
    Passenger Volume 89 ft3 (2D)
    Luggage Volume 12 ft3 (2D)
    Toyota Celica
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4) – 36 hwy / 29 city / 32 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5) – 33 hwy / 27 city / 29 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(S4), SPORTS – 31 hwy / 25 city / 27 combined
    Premium Gasoline – Required
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(6), SPORTS – 33 hwy / 24 city / 28 combined
    Permium Gasoline – Required
    Passenger Volume 78 ft3 (HB)
    Luggage Volume 17 ft3 (HB)
    Toyota Corolla
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5) – 41 hwy / 32 city / 36 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4) – 38 hwy / 30 city / 33 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(6), SPORTS – 34 hwy / 26 city / 29 combined
    Premium Gasoline – Required
    Passenger Volume 89 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 14 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Echo
    4 cyl, 1.5 L, Man(5) – 42 hwy / 35 city / 38 combined
    4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(4) – 39 hwy / 33 city / 36 combined
    Passenger Volume 86 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 14 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Lexus ES 330
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 29 hwy / 21 city / 24 combined
    Passenger Volume 96 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 15 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Lexus IS 300
    6 cyl, 3 L, Man(5) – 25 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(S5) – 24 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    Premium Gasoline – Required
    Passenger Volume 89 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 10 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Lexus GS 300 / GS 430
    6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(S5) – 25 hwy / 18 city / 21 combined
    8 cyl, 4.3 L, Auto(5) – 23 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    Premium Gasoline – Required
    Passenger Volume 100 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 15 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Lexus LS 430
    8 cyl, 4.3L, Auto(5) – 25 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    Premium Gasoline – Required
    Passenger Volume 107 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 16 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota Matrix
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5) – 36 hwy / 30 city / 33 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4) – 34 hwy / 28 city / 31 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Auto(4) – 31 hwy / 26 city / 28 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(6), SPORTS – 32 hwy / 25 city / 28 combined
    Passenger Volume 94 ft3 (4D)
    Luggage Volume 22 ft3 (4D)
    Toyota MR2
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(6) 33 hwy / 26 city / 29 combined
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5) – 32 hwy / 26 city / 29 combined
    Passenger Volume 46 ft3 (2D)
    Luggage Volume 2 ft3 (2D)
    Toyota Prius
    4 cyl, 1.5 L, 76 hp gas / 67 hp elec, Auto (VG) – 60 hwy / 51 city / 55 combined
    Average User MPG – 48.4
    MPG Range – 36 to 59
    Passenger Volume 96 ft3 (HB)
    Luggage Volume 16 ft3 (HB)
    Curb weight: 2890 lb
    Source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=mpgData&vehicleID=20934&details=on
    Toyota Lexus SC 430
    8 cyl, 4.3 L, Auto(5) – 23 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    Premium Gasoline – Required
    Passenger Volume 75 ft3 (2D)
    Luggage Volume 9 ft3 (2D)
    Toyota 4Runner 2WD
    6 cyl, 4 L, Auto(5)- 22 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    8 cyl, 4.7 L, Auto(5) – 20 hwy / 17 city / 18 combined
    Toyota 4Runner 4WD
    6 cyl, 4 L, Auto(5) – 21 hwy / 17 city / 18 combined
    8 cyl, 4.7 L, Auto(5) – 19 hwy / 16 city / 17 combined
    Toyota Lexus GX 470 4WD or AWD
    8 cyl, 4.7 L, Auto(5) – 19 hwy / 15 city / 17 combined
    Toyota Highlander 2WD
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4) – 27 hwy / 22 city / 24 combined
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 25 hwy / 19 city / 21 combined
    Hybrid 6 cyl, 3.3 L, 208 hp/212 lb-ft (CVT) – 33 hwy/ 28 city / [22 mpg combined per Consumer Reports]
    Hybrid curb weight: 4070 lb
    * Highlander hybrid real-world mileage far less than claimed.
    ** Some report mileage as low as 21-25 mpg.
    > Highlander hybrid excluded from numbers rollup.
    Toyota Highlander 4WD
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4) – 25 hwy / 21 city / 23 combined
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 24 hwy / 18 city / 21 combined
    Hybrid 6 cyl, 3.3 L, 208 hp/212 lb-ft (CVT) – 31 hwy/ 27 city / [23 mpg combined per Consumer Reports]
    Hybrid curb weight: approx. 4200 – 4365 lb
    * Hylander hybrid real-world mileage far less than claimed.
    ** Some report mileage as low as 21-25 mpg.
    > Highlander hybrid excluded from numbers rollup.
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Vehicle_Reviews/Hybrids_Electrics/2006_Toyota_Highlander_Hybrid.S274.A8429.html
    Toyota Land Cruiser Wagon 4WD
    8 cyl, 4.7 L, Auto(5) – 17 hwy / 13 city / 14 combined
    Toyota Lexus LX 470 4WD or AWD
    8 cyl, 4.7L, Auto(5) – 17 hwy / 13 city / 14 combined
    Toyota RAV4 2WD
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Man(5) – 30 hwy / 24 city / 26 combined
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4) – 29 hwy / 24 city / 26 combined
    Toyota RAV4 4WD
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Auto(4) 27 hwy / 22 city / 24 combined
    4 cyl, 2.4 L, Man(5) – 27 hwy / 22 city / 24 combined
    Toyota Lexus RX 330 2WD
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 25 hwy / 19 city / 22 combined
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(S5) – 25 hwy / 19 city / 22 combined
    Toyota Lexus RX 330 4WD or AWD
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 24 hwy / 18 city / 21 combined
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(S5) – 24 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    Toyota Lexus RX 400h
    Hybrid 6 cyl, 3.3 L, 208 hp/212 lb-ft (CVT) – 31 hwy/ 27 city / [23 mpg combined per Consumer Reports]
    Curb weight: 4365 lb
    * RX 400h hybrid real-world mileage far less than claimed.
    ** Some report mileage as low as 21-25 mpg.
    > RX 400h hybrid excluded from numbers rollup.
    Toyota Sequoia 2WD
    4.7 liter, 8 cylinder – 18 hwy / 15 city / 16 combined
    Toyota Sequoia 4WD
    4.7 liter, 8 cylinder – 18 hwy / 15 city / 16 combined
    Toyota Sienna 2WD
    3.3 liter, 6 cylinder – 26 hwy / 19 city / 21 combined
    Toyota Sienna 4WD
    3.3 liter, 6 cylinder – 24 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    Toyota Tacoma 2WD
    4 cyl, 2.7 L, Auto(4) – 26 hwy / 21 city / 23 combined
    4 cyl, 2.7 L, Man(5) – 27 hwy / 20 city / 23 combined
    6 cyl, 4 L, Auto(5) – 22 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    6 cyl, 4 L, Man(6) – 21 hwy / 16 city / 18 combined
    Toyota Tacoma 4WD
    4 cyl, 2.7 L, Man(5) – 23 hwy / 19 city / 20 combined
    6 cyl, 4 L, Auto(5) – 21 hwy / 17 city / 19 combined
    6 cyl, 4 L, Man(6) – 20 hwy / 16 city / 17 combined
    Toyota Tundra 2WD
    6 cyl, 4 L, Auto(5) – 22 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined
    6 cyl, 4 L, Man(6) – 20 hwy / 16 city / 17 combined
    8 cyl, 4.7 L, Auto(5) – 18 hwy / 16 city / 17 combined
    Toyota Tundra 4WD
    8 cyl, 4.7 L, Auto(5) – 18 hwy / 15 city / 16 combined

  65. Movie Guy

    Autoweek
    September 23, 2005
    “Jim Farley, Toyota Division’s vice president of marketing, rejects criticism that Toyota is hawking hybrids to deflect attention from its increasing sales of SUVs and pickups. Toyota wants its redesigned full-sized Tundra pickup [non-hybrid], coming in early 2007, to have substantially higher sales volume. “Consumers are smart,” Farley says. “They understand Toyota makes a lot of different vehicles. Hybrid Synergy Drive is not a conflict with us building Sequoia or Tundra.”
    http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=103229
    Uh, huh…
    >

  66. M1EK

    Movie Guy,
    Ref Toyota’s hybrid SUVs: Your comments do not match what Consumer Reports has actually said about those vehicles (I have the issue at home – it came out this month). They LOVED both of them; gave them the highest rankings for the class.
    As for the GM “combined 28 mpg” – note that the best you can do is 28-30 on EPA tests. The Prius does 55 combined on the EPA test. Prius gets 44 on CR’s test; how do the Ion and Cobalt do there?
    Hint: If you want people to respond to you, try writing shorter comments. Some of what you’ve said has gotten lost in the torrent.

  67. Rick

    ME1K there’s more to life than MPG brother. While driving your Prius makes you feel good, I prefer the many joys of a v8 Cadillac STS. I’ll pay $3, $4, even $10 per gallon before I change. I love it, and I’m not alone. Go ahead and start bashing me. I’m is car sales, next to a politician we have the thickest skin around.(Which will come in handy after I burn a few more holes in the ozone layer)

  68. M1EK

    “M1EK there’s more to life than MPG brother.”
    Can I quote this the next time you try to mislead people about GM’s supposedly high-mileage cars?

  69. odograph

    Rick … a good high school friend’s dad was an Oldsmobile dealer as we graduated in 1976.
    The fuel shakeout in the next couple years was not good for that family.
    Sure, talk big … but be sure to hedge your bets.

  70. Nick

    It’s easy to get distracted by questions of morality, or US vs asian car companies.
    Is it immoral, or unethical, to sell SUV’s? I think we can agree that the answer is no, because consumers do want them. If they should be limited, it should be society as a whole, through government, that makes that policy choice. Car companies in a competitive market can’t afford to, and we in fact see that asian car companies are selling more SUV’s.
    Is it unwise to bet on SUV’s in a peak oil world? I think we can all agree that the answer is yes, and that GM in particular made a mistake on hybrids.
    Is it unwise and immoral to mislead consumers about fuel efficiency and SUV safety, and use political influence to prevent a shift in policy away from low efficiency vehicles (as both american and asian companies are doing), because it benefits the car industry in the short term? I think we can agree that the answer is yes, but that it’s understandable that they would do so, especially for GM and Ford, who are fighting for their survival.
    So what’s our role? First, I think we should try to avoid being judgemental: in this case, its seems clear asian car companies are no more moral than american ones, they just have a different history (like not having cheap truck production to leverage in making SUV’s, and having a domestic market focused on high MPG).
    Second, as bloggers we should try to come come to a consensus about the facts of the situation, the likely future, and the best strategies for the car companies, consumers and government. We’ll be more likely to get there if people don’t feel personally criticized, and therefore feel freer to admit mistakes.
    Whadda you think, everyone?

  71. odograph

    “Is it immoral, or unethical, to sell SUV’s? I think we can agree that the answer is no, because consumers do want them. If they should be limited, it should be society as a whole, through government, that makes that policy choice. Car companies in a competitive market can’t afford to, and we in fact see that asian car companies are selling more SUV’s.”
    Well … we are a social species, and government is just one of our social interactions.

  72. Nick

    “Well … we are a social species, and government is just one of our social interactions.”
    Good point. I don’t mean that government is the only place to make change. I just mean that it’s hard for a company to swim against the current in a competitive market. I definitely feel that we should try to persuade people to new ideas, especially as bloggers.

  73. JDH

    Very interesting points, Rick and Movie Guy. But I’m curious, purely from a business perspective of trying to make the most profit for GM (avoiding Nick’s moral questions), do you think that the employee discount program was a good idea?
    Also, for what it’s worth, I didn’t mean to be focussing on GM alone but rather the general market for big cars. My reading is that consumers did want them but now they don’t.

  74. Movie Guy

    Jim,
    As I mentioned in my first post, it was a very smart move on GM’s part.
    The vast majority of the old inventory is gone. And GM corporate did not lose more money with the employee discount program over its various previous incentives programs. That’s corporate source info.
    The dealers could be sitting there with miniumum order requirements from GM for the new 2006 models, only to be staring out the storefront windows looking at hundreds of 2005 models cluttering their sales lots.
    One of the obvious advantages of clearing out the old inventory quickly is that the move cleared the way for GM’s price reductions on many of the 2006 models.
    I rate the effort as one of the best moves that GM has made in recent years. They avoided a potential nightmare.

  75. Movie Guy

    MG — “Toyota’s Highlander and RX400h only average 22 mpg and 23 mpg respectively according to Consumer Reports testing, which are only very slight improvements over the gasoline versions of the same vehicles when comparing such to the model versions utilizing the 3.3 liter engines, and only match the performance offered by the version using the 2.4 liter engines. That’s an expensive premium for consumers to pay for near zero improvements in average mileage. Consumer complaints are already being received by Toyota.”
    M1EK — “Movie Guy, Ref Toyota’s hybrid SUVs: Your comments do not match what Consumer Reports has actually said about those vehicles (I have the issue at home – it came out this month). They LOVED both of them; gave them the highest rankings for the class.”
    Really? And I misstated information from Consumer Reports? Not hardly…
    My comments match exactly what Consumer Reports has stated regarding mileage averages for the Highlander and RX400h hybrids.
    The sources of my information for the three quoted sentences above are (1) Consumer Reports, (2) Car Connection test reports, (3) EPA comparative mileage data, and (4) Edmunds.
    It is a fact that Consumer Reports stated fuel mileage averages of 22 mpg and 23 mpg for the Toyota Highlander and Toyota Lexus RX400h hybrids.
    These mileage figures represent negative performance deviations of -20.68 to – 27.86% from EPA fuel economy averages for the Highlander hybrid and -20.68% for the RX400h hybrid.
    These fuel mileage figures are 8.5 mpg less that the EPA hybrid figures for the Highlander 2WD, 6 mpg less for the Highlander 4WD/AWD mode, and 6 mpg less for the RX400h. Comparatively, the normal gasoline only versions of the Highlander provide EPA average mileage of 21 mpg for the 3.3 liter engine; 24 mpg (2WD) and 23 mpg (4WD) for the 2.4 liter engine. The comparative gasoline only versions of the RX330 in four powertrain configurations provide EPA average mileage of 20-22 mpg.
    If it is the case that the EPA average mileage figures are similarly inaccurate for the gasoline only Highlander models and RX330 models, then those models could be averaging less than 13-19 mpg depending on the model and powertrain configuration.
    My remarks on fuel mileage comparisons to gasoline only Highlander and RX300 models are based on EPA testing information. And that information is posted above in this thread. Anyone can verify the info elsewhere.
    It is also a fact that Toyota is being pressured to address consumer complaints regarding poor fuel performance issues. And Toyota has now mounted a public relations technical explanation campaign to address the issue of poor fuel mileage issues.
    SOURCE 1:
    Doug Douglas, Consumer Reports, 914-378-2437 or dlove@consumer.org
    10/3/2005 6:02:00 PM
    Information released via U.S. Newswire
    http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=54471
    October 3, 2005: “Two new hybrids, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Lexus RX400h, are now Consumer Reports’ top-rated midsized SUVs following tests for the November issue. The sport-utility vehicles earned “Excellent” overall scores — the only midsized SUVs tested by Consumer Reports to earn that distinction.”
    “The Highlander Hybrid and RX400h are excellent overall packages, providing an inviting blend of performance, fuel economy, comfort, and features for those who don’t mind paying extra. The 22-mpg overall for the Highlander Limited ($39,885 as tested) and 23 mpg-overall for the RX400h ($49,883 as tested) are the best Consumer Reports has measured in a midsized SUV.”
    “But for drivers considering a hybrid to save money, it’s hard to build a dollars-and-cents case for either of these SUVs based on fuel-savings at the gas pump. Both vehicles cost thousands of dollars more than the conventionally-powered versions of these vehicles. It could take 10 years or more to recoup that cost through savings at the pump-assuming that you’re driving about 15,000 miles a year and that gas costs about $3 a gallon.”
    “Both vehicles use a 3.3-liter V6 coupled with three electric motors to produce 268-hp.”
    SOURCE 2:
    Automakers, Government Tackle Complaints About Hybrids’ Fuel-Efficiency
    Date Posted 10-06-2005
    Edmunds.com – Inside Line
    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=107505
    “A groundswell of complaints about the flawed mileage claims of hybrid vehicles is spurring the federal government and automakers to step up efforts to let drivers know why they might not get the anticipated fuel economy.”
    “Toyota has begun distributing through dealerships a pamphlet on the RX 400h, Lexus’ luxury hybrid SUV, listing the reasons the vehicle may not get the 31 miles per gallon that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated for the vehicle in city driving.”
    SOURCE 3:
    2006 Lexus RX400h
    The Car Connection
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Vehicle_Reviews/Hybrids_Electrics/2006_Lexus_RX400h.S274.A8104.html
    SOURCE 4:
    2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
    The Car Connection
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Vehicle_Reviews/Hybrids_Electrics/2006_Toyota_Highlander_Hybrid.S274.A8429.html
    SOURCE 5:
    Comparative fuel economy measurements for Highlander models using gasoline only powertrains – data in Movie Guy post above (see The ‘I Love Toyota’ “Gas Guzzler” Analysis) or use this government link: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

  76. biker

    for Prof. Hamilton :
    with reguard to “used to want them but now they don’t”
    I have a friend who got a Nissan Armada, he used the tax deduction for his consulting business.
    He liked the vehicle until gas went up and the value of the vehicle dropped.
    But, there is a perception issue also – he says it feels stupid and wasteful to be spending so much on gas. He means this in a narrow personal sense, not a saving the world sense.
    He makes alot of money so it doesn’t affect him alot, but that perception is a component of the new dislike of big, or at least “extra big” cars.

  77. Movie Guy

    M1EK,
    Where is your similar criticism of Toyota’s lack of effort to improve fuel efficiencies in some of its other models?
    Toyota offered 38 different model combinations in 2005 which provide less than 28 miles per gallon for highway mpg averages.
    Toyota offered 34 model combinations which do not exceed 20 miles per gallon for city mpg averages.

  78. Movie Guy

    M1EK,
    Look at Toyota’s larger automobile lineup.
    Toyota Avalon – 6 cyl, 3.5 L, Auto(5) – 31 hwy / 22 city / 25 combined
    Toyota Camry – 6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5)- 29 hwy / 21 city / 24 combined
    Toyota Camry Solara – 6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(S5) – 29 hwy / 21 city / 24 combined
    Toyota Lexus ES 330 – 6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5) – 29 hwy / 21 city / 24 combined
    Toyota Lexus IS 300 – 6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(S5) – 24 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined (93 octane)
    Toyota Lexus GS 300 / GS 430 – 6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(S5) – 25 hwy / 18 city / 21 combined (93 octane)
    Toyota Lexus LS 430 – 8 cyl, 4.3L, Auto(5) – 25 hwy / 18 city / 20 combined (93 octane)
    And we haven’t talked about Toyota’s trucks and SUVs…

  79. Movie Guy

    Nissan Debates Hybrids and Diesels
    October 3, 2005
    “Less than a year from the launch of its first hybrid vehicle, a hybrid version of the next-generation Altima, Nissan officials made it clear they are still less than enamored with the high-profile technology.”
    “Two things need to be advanced before hybrids can be considered successful,” cautioned Mark McNabb, general manager of the automaker’s U.S. Nissan division. A manufacturer like Nissan needs to be able to make money on the technology, he stressed, adding that hybrids also need to deliver a sound advantage for consumers, something that must include more than the feel-good factor that has driven many environmentally-sensitive early adapters.”
    “Carlos Ghosn, now serving as CEO for both Nissan and its French partner, Renault, made it clear in a Tokyo news conference, last week, that he is skeptical, at best, about hybrids. But market pressures require Nissan to at least test the waters.”
    “Nissan is also looking at other high-mileage options, including diesels, said U.S. product planning chief Jack Collins. There are no plans to launch a diesel in the market, however, as Nissan is not yet convinced the technology can meet increasingly stringent emissions standards, Collins warned.”
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/Auto_News/Industry_Report_Oct_3_2005.S175.A9389.html

  80. Movie Guy

    GM’s Bob Lutz
    October 3, 2005
    “GM’s management has been skeptical about the utility of hybrids given the extra cost, complexity and weight that come with putting gas and electric motors in each car. However, even though Toyota is probably still losing substantial sums on each hybrid-vehicle it sells, the Japanese auto giant has gotten a big lift from the technology, Lutz acknowledged. Toyota’s image as a technology leader and a company that cares about the environment has been enhanced enormously, he said, thanks to the hybrids. “If Toyota had spent $300 million on corporate advertising campaign, it would have nowhere near the same effect,” said Lutz.”
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/Auto_News/Industry_Report_Oct_3_2005.S175.A9389.html

  81. M1EK

    MG,
    #1: Shorter posts. I don’t have all day for your stuff.
    #2: Picking one obvious error:
    “These mileage figures represent negative performance deviations of -20.68 to – 27.86% from EPA fuel economy averages for the Highlander hybrid and -20.68% for the RX400h hybrid.”
    Yes, CR figures are almost always lower than EPA. So what? Your Cobalt gets 22, according to CR. I’ll use EITHER CR or EPA in showing that Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage — you tend to prefer to spout EPA numbers for GM and CR numbers for Toyota.

  82. M1EK

    For Prof Hamilton:
    I hope you’re treating MG’s sunny interpretation of the huge drop in sales in September with some healthy skepticism, given the signals of the market (for both GM and Ford) – i.e., the lowering of their bond ratings to “junk”. Everything’s clearly not coming up roses.

  83. Movie Guy

    M1EK — #2: Picking one obvious error:
    MG — “These mileage figures represent negative performance deviations of -20.68 to – 27.86% from EPA fuel economy averages for the Highlander hybrid and -20.68% for the RX400h hybrid.”
    M1EK — “Yes, CR figures are almost always lower than EPA. So what? Your Cobalt gets 22, according to CR. I’ll use EITHER CR or EPA in showing that Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage — you tend to prefer to spout EPA numbers for GM and CR numbers for Toyota.”
    I didn’t make an error. The math is correct.
    Counter to your false claim, I stated both the EPA and Consumer Reports numbers for the three Toyota hybrids in question. On all other vehicles, regardless of manufacturer, I cited only EPA figures.
    Try being truthful in your communications.
    Your continued poor choice of words when challenging any poster is childishly dismissive and, of course, not based on any facts that you are willing to present. Repeatedly telling another poster that his/her information is misleading, misstatement of facts, hyping, or any other cheap shot you chuck out is disingenuous.
    I have answered each of your assertions. You haven’t acknowledged a single factual response nor answered a few simple questions.
    I would like to see you prove that Toyota “beats the crap out of GM on mileage”. Do that on ALL of Toyota’s models on a comparable interior cubic foot size basis and similar displacement motors for each model comparison. And state the available horsepower from each motor. That’s where a valid comparison comes into play.
    Just jawboning is one thing. Proving something is another matter. Step up.
    Many of Toyota’s models are getting a free ride in the news media and among bloggers. Among such models are the larger cars, most of the trucks, and some SUVs produced by Toyota. And, of course, those Toyota cars still using 93 octane gasoline through the 2005 model year.
    Consumer Reports made the mistake of cheering Toyota’s hybrid average mileages which such represent no meaningful percentage improvement over existing Toyota SUV platforms upon which the two hybrids were built. The decision was theirs to make, but it’s a lame way to ‘push’ hybrid SUVs.
    The issue isn’t that GM alone needs to improve its vehicle fleet. The real issue is that all automobile manufacturers need to improve their automobile fleets. That applies to Toyota as well.

  84. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “For Prof Hamilton: I hope you’re treating MG’s sunny interpretation of the huge drop in sales in September with some healthy skepticism, given the signals of the market (for both GM and Ford) – i.e., the lowering of their bond ratings to “junk”. Everything’s clearly not coming up roses.”
    Again, you have misrepresented what I stated in my first post and subsequent related post to Jim.
    Had GM not unloaded its 2005 inventory early on, it would be in a huge economic hole right now. Not only would GM have to deal with the very weak sales of many of its new 2006 models, but it would have dealers seeking corporate support for GM incentives to push the 2005 inventories off of the sales lots. There would have been a lot of battling going on within GM to resolve that mess.
    Rick’s post of October 4, 2005 07:32 AM does an excellent job of addressing the situation.
    What I actually said with regard to the September sales was the following:
    “The sag in September sales by GM and Ford was anticipated. The positive consideration for this situation is that GM can now scale back its 2006 production levels without burying dealers under a pile of excess vehicles that will sit on the lots for the next ten months. Moreover, GM can adjust its supplied drivetrains in some models to capture higher consumer demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. Short term solutions, obviously, until GM’s hybrids come on line in the 2007 models.”
    “Yes, GM and Ford are in trouble. And adjustments will have to occur. The September sales figures will spur that effort.”

  85. M1EK

    “I have answered each of your assertions. You haven’t acknowledged a single factual response nor answered a few simple questions.”
    Dude, I don’t have all day for this. I’ve noted that you haven’t made apples-to-apples comparisons, and I have corrected a couple of them for you. I don’t have time to go through the entire freakin’ model list, nor do I care to, because I am interested in CARS, not TRUCKS.
    I already showed you how the Cobalt gets its butt kicked by competing CARS made by Toyota. You pick another CAR segment (JUST ONE) and show me an APPLES TO APPLES comparison (use EPA for both, or use CR for both; not CR for Toyota and EPA for GM).

  86. M1EK

    Oh, and
    “And state the available horsepower from each motor.”
    shows you don’t get it. Seriously. In a comparison ABOUT MILEAGE, why would horsepower enter into it at all? You’re moving the goalposts.

  87. Anonymous

    “I would like to see you prove that Toyota ‘beats the crap out of GM on mileage’.”
    Easy, the only GM in the top 10 most efficient cars of 2005 … is a rebadged toyota.
    You can print 1000 column inches of links to distract from that … but I’m afraid I’ll take it as that, distraction.

  88. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “I’ve noted that you haven’t made apples-to-apples comparisons, and I have corrected a couple of them for you.”
    This is simply not true.
    Both lists of vehicles that I posted were based on the EPA fuel economy numbers. I added some real world fuel economy performance number to three vehicles and only three vehicles. Those were the three hybrid models from Toyota. But I also didn’t include any numbers from those three vehicles in the rollup on the Toyota vehicles that I provided.
    I will continue to discuss hybrid performances in other posts unrelated to the rollup lists. The issue is simple. If an individual is to pay a heavy premium for the hybrid model, then it should be worth the additional cost.

  89. Movie Guy

    M1EK — I’ll use EITHER CR or EPA in showing that Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage…”
    You haven’t shown any information to back up this statement.
    Four and a half days later…

  90. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “Oh, and
    [MG:]“And state the available horsepower from each motor.”
    “shows you don’t get it. Seriously. In a comparison ABOUT MILEAGE, why would horsepower enter into it at all? You’re moving the goalposts.”
    It’s rather simple.
    First, any comparison of vehicles involves a comparison of available horsepower to curb weight, allowable gross weight, emissions, and vehicle mass/shape. This is the power to weight ratio issue that I mentioned previously. Manufacturers are heavily focused on this issue. In the strict sense of comparing vehicles, one should include the curb weight, horsepower, and fuel efficiency. I haven’t used curb weight in any of the comparisons I have posted because it takes so long to track down all of the curb weights and EPA doesn’t factor in such considerations as curb weight or power-to-weight ratios for its vehicle comparisons (but should).
    For whatever reasons, a careful review of current (2006 models) and future years’ developments (those already announced or indicated) among manufacturers reveals that the head-to-head horsepower game is still in place. The next group of Toyota models are going to be offering horsepower gains, and some are quite substantial. Moreover, the move over to hybrids for existing Toyota models involves net available horsepower gains, not power decreases. The Toyota Camry hybrid, Lexus GS 450h, and Lexus LS 600h models will represent horsepower plus up efforts, not horsepower reductions or holding the line. Same story for most other manufacturers.
    Second, the entire industry transition to hybrid models involves principal considerations: (1) reduction of emissions, (2) vehicle curb weight (including added weight of hybrid components), (3) horsepower levels (for curb and gross vehicle weight considerations), and (4) achieving potential fuel savings at reasonable production costs to the manufacturers and (5) premium add-on costs that consumers are willing to pay.
    The manufacturers, including Toyota, are headed down the path of holding the line on existing gasoline engine horsepower levels and adding whatever level of additional horsepower with the inline engine-elec motor-transmission and wheel hub elec motors. Some are bragging about their “added” vehicle performances including 0-60 mph performances. Note Honda’s web site statements, as an example.
    Granted, anyone can take issue with the manufacturers’ goals of increasing horsepower as they make available their hybrid models.
    Here’s the fine point: Any manufacturer which doesn’t offset the overall horsepower gains with additional fuel savings from the primary gasoline engine are missing the boat. This is where variable value and displacement on demand technologies come into play. Both such technologies provide for reductions in fuel consumption and marry in with hybrid components that also provide for potential fuel savings. The meaningful alternative, of course, is to duplicate the approach that Ford utilized with its hybrid SUV. Ford elected to focus on a small displacement gasoline engine in its hybrid model. Smart move if the goal is to provide significant fuel savings as long as the power-to-weight ratio can still be supported with regard to curb and gross vehicle weight considerations.
    The issues of gasoline engine displacement on demand and variable value timing technoloty become major factors when discussing hybrid vehicles. Obviously, the technologies can account for an additional 10% in fuel savings.

  91. Movie Guy

    Anonymous at October 8, 2005 11:36 AM — “Easy, the only GM in the top 10 most efficient cars of 2005 … is a rebadged toyota.
    Actually, GM nor Toyota have any vehicles in the overall vehicles/models EPA fuel efficiency rankings. See http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

  92. Movie Guy

    Correction: GM nor Toyota have any vehicles in the top ten ranking of fuel efficient vehicles/models.

  93. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “I’ll use EITHER CR or EPA in showing that Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage…”
    Let’s look at the facts.
    Here is an EPA vehicle testing comparison of 2005 General Motors and Toyota vehicles by vehicle class and number of engine cylinders.
    All vehicles are sorted by EPA Annual Fuel Costs and Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions estimates to establish overall rankings within each class. Separately, the vehicle rankings are further sorted by number of engine cylinders to approximate a more realistic comparison within each class and engine group.
    Data Source:
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
    ——
    Four-Door Sedans – Large Cars
    13 vehicles in this class – Toyota Avolon ranked 3; Toyota Lexus LS430 ranked 13.
    6 cyl – 9 models – Toyota ranked 3 of 9 vehilces
    8 cyl – 4 models – Toyota ranked 4 of 4 vehicles
    ——
    Two-Door Coupes – Large Cars
    No vehicles in this class
    ——
    Four-Door Sedans – Midsize Cars
    34 vehicles in this class – Toyota Prius ranked 1; Toyota Camry ranked 4, 5, 10, 16; Toyota Lexus ES 330 ranked 9; Lexus GS 30/GS400 ranked 30, 32
    4 cyl – 9 models – Toyota ranked 1, 4, 5 of 9 vehicles
    6 cyl – 20 models – Toyota ranked 4, 5, 11, 20 of 20 vehicles
    8 cyl – 5 models – Toyota ranked 3 of 5 vehicles
    ——
    Two-Door Coupes – Midsize Cars
    3 GM vehicles. No Toyota vehicles in this class
    ——
    Four-Door Sedans – Compact Cars
    32 vehicles in this class – Toyota Echo ranked 1, 3; Toyota Corolla ranked 2, 4, 18; Toyota Matrix 5, 7, 15, 20; Toyota Lexus IS 300 ranked 31, 32 (the only 6 cyl models in this class)
    4 cyl – 20 models – Toyota ranked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 15, 18, 20 of 20 vehicles
    6 cyl – only Toyota models offered 6 cyl (though GM’s web site shows the 6 cyl Pontiac G6 models as Compacts)
    ——
    Two-Door Coupes – Compact Cars
    9 vehicles in this class – Toyota Camry Solara ranked 3, 4, 5, 7
    4 cyl – 4 models – Toyota ranked 3, 4 of 4 vehicles
    6 cyl – 3 models – Toyota ranked 1, 3 of 3 vehicles
    8 cyl – 2 models – No Toyota vehicles
    ——
    Four-Door Sedans – Subcompact Cars
    6 Toyota sedans. No GM vehicles.
    ——
    Two-Door Coupes – Subcompact Cars
    10 vehicles in this class – Toyota Celica ranked 1, 2, 6, 7 of 10 vehicles.
    ——
    Two-Door vehicles – Other vehicles
    Minicompact vehcles – 3 vehicles – Toyota MR2 (manual and auto); Toyota Lexus SC 430
    Those not classified or identified by EPA with regard to interior space, the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac XLR could be compared in this grouping based on design. If so, Toyota scores 1, 2, 3 out of five vehicles.
    ——
    Minivans
    Toyota Sienna ranked 3, 4 of 12 vehicles.
    ——
    2005 Sport Utility Vehicles
    97 vehicles in three classes of SUVs (small, midsize, large)
    * No full comparison by engine size alone included; rank ordered based on the full listing.
    4 cyl – Toyota RAV4 (4 cyl – Small SUV) ranked 1, 2, 6, 8; Toyota Highlander (4 cyl – Midsize SUV) ranked 5, 10
    6 cyl – Toyota Highlander (6 cyl) ranked 17, 22; Toyota Lexus RX330 (6 cyl) ranked 12, 13, 21, 26; Toyota 4Runner (6 cyl) ranked 27, 30
    8 cyl – Toyota 4Runner (8 cyl) ranked 32, 45; Toyota Lexus GX (8 cyl) ranked 58; Toyota Sequoia (8 cyl) ranked 65, 76; Toyota Lexus LX 470 (8cyl) ranked 91; Toyota Land Cruiser Wagon (8 cyl) ranked 92
    ——
    Pickup Trucks
    74 vehicles in two classes of pickup trucks (midsize, large), excluding 4 GM natural gas pickups trucks which rank higher than all gasoline pickups on lower fuel costs, but have higher emissions.
    * No full comparison by engine size alone included; rank ordered based on the full listing.
    4 cyl – Toyota Tacoma (4 cyl) ranked 5, 6, 19
    6 cyl – Toyota Tacoma (6 cyl) ranked 24, 36, 49, 55; Toyota Tundra (6 cyl) – 25, 51
    8 cyl – Toyota Tundra (8 cyl) ranked 56, 65
    ——

  94. Movie Guy

    Car companies tackle hybrid mileage complaints
    October 7, 2005
    “…there have been increasing complaints that many cars, and especially hybrids, don’t deliver the miles per gallon estimated by the EPA. According to a study by Consumer Reports that tested the mileage of vehicles in real world conditions, hybrids had some of the biggest disparities, with fuel economy averaging 19 miles per gallon below the EPA city estimate. The problem is that the EPA estimates assume that drivers are operating under certain ideal conditions, such as not using air conditioning and accelerating slowly, that can be very unlike what people actually do on the road.”
    “The groundswell of complaints is spurring the EPA to act. The agency says that by the end of this year it will propose changes to the methods used in calculating fuel economy ratings for vehicles. The EPA said the new rules will more accurately reflect how people actually drive and will consider the impact of air conditioning, aggressive driving and traffic congestion on fuel economy.”
    “When Amy Quirk bought her Toyota Prius, the pricing sticker said it got 60 mpg. So when the San Francisco-based environmental lawyer saw she was consistently getting only 30 mpg, she complained to her dealer’s service department. First she was told the problem was the cold weather. Then she was told that the Prius didn’t get the mileage that was advertised on the vehicle sticker price. Ms. Quirk now gets about 40 mpg on her Prius, which she bought a year ago, by coasting down hills when she drives. You have to be very mindful of how you drive to get good mileage,” she says.”
    http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0510/07/0auto-341018.htm

  95. Movie Guy

    Based on available information.
    Current Hybrid Models:
    Ford Escape
    Ford Mercury Mariner
    General Motors Chevrolet Silverado
    General Motors GMC Sierra
    Honda Accord Hybrid
    Honda Civic Hybrid – new goal of 28,000 production per year
    Honda Insight
    Mazda Tribute Hybrid (or future?)
    Toyota Highlander
    Toyota Lexus RX400h
    Toyota Prius
    Future Hybrid Models:
    2007 General Motors Saturn VUE Greenline (2006 entry)
    2007 General Motors Chevrolet Malibu
    2007 General Motors Chevrolet Tahoe (full two mode hybrid)
    2007 General Motors Chevrolet Yukon (full two mode hybrid)
    2007 Nissan Altima hybrid
    2007 Toyota Camry hybrid – 48,000 production per year capacity
    2008 General Motors – 15 hybrid vehicles
    2008 Ford Fusion
    2008 Ford Mercury Milan
    Date Unk – Toyota Lexus GS 450h
    Date Unk – Toyota Lexus LS 600h
    General Motors Displacement on Demand initiative (potential 8-10% fuel economy savings):
    2005 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
    2005 GMC Envoy XL
    2005 GMC Envoy XUV
    2005 Pontiac Grand Prix (3.4 liter)
    2007 Pontiac G6
    2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
    2006 Chevrolet Impala
    2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    2007 Chevrolet Tahoe (2006 entry)
    2007 GMC Yukon / Denali (2006 entry)
    2007 Cadillac Escalade (2006 entry; 5.3 liter and 6.2 liter engines
    *2005/2006/2007 – variable value timing on 3.5 liter and 6.2 liter engines (fuel improvements)
    General Motors E85 vehicles:
    Chevrolet Avalanche
    Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    Chevrolet Suburban
    Chevrolet Tahoe
    GMC Yukon
    GMC Yukon XL
    GMC Sierra 1500

  96. Movie Guy

    Correction: “variable value” and “variable value timing” in October 12, 2005 06:15 PM post should read:
    variable valve
    variable valve timing

  97. M1EK

    “Actually, GM nor Toyota have any vehicles in the overall vehicles/models EPA fuel efficiency rankings.”
    I saw the same top-ten he did, and the vehicle he was referring to was the Pontiac Vibe (Toyota Matrix).
    And for you to claim that the Prius isn’t in whatever top list you’re seeing is beyond ridiculous. Cite the exact link, please, so we can see how you’ve screwed this one up.
    Finally, responding to “You can print 1000 column inches of links to distract from that” by printing another 1000 column inches of links kind of proves his point.
    [edited by JDH]

  98. Movie Guy

    Yes, of course, the Toyota Prius is in the top ten overall best fuel economy list. I meant to say that GM wasn’t anywhere in the top ten overall list. Toyota, in fact, has two vehicles in the 2006 top ten overall list.
    Sincere apologies to Jim and all readers for my posting error. For those who know me on the various econ blogs, I attempt to do decent research. But when I am in error, I readily acknowledge it. Again, sorry for slighting Toyota on the overall top ten fuel efficiency list.
    Creating the overall top ten list requires more than one search effort. Use the following link, then search by year, small cars, and other vehicle groupings: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byMPG.htm
    Here’s the 2006 top ten list of most fuel efficient vehicles based on mileage:
    1. Honda Insight
    3 cyl, 1 L, Man(5), HEV, Regular 60 66
    2. Honda Insight
    3 cyl, 1 L, Auto(variable), HEV, Regular 57 56
    3. Toyota Prius (MIdsize Car classification – the only one to make the top ten overall list)
    4 cyl, 1.5 L, Auto(variable), HEV, Regular 60 51
    4. Volkswagen New Beetle
    4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel 37 44
    5. Volkswagen Golf
    4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel 37 44
    6. Volkswagen Jetta
    4 cyl, 1.9 L, Man(5), Diesel 36 41
    7. Volkswagen New Beetle
    4 cyl, 1.9 L, Auto(6), Diesel 35 42
    8. Volkswagen Jetta
    4 cyl, 1.9 L, Auto(6), Diesel 35 42
    9. Volkswagen Golf
    4 cyl, 1.9 L, Auto(S5), Diesel 33 44
    10. Toyota Corolla
    4 cyl, 1.8 L, Man(5), Regular 32 41
    ——
    The list that the other person (Anonymous) and M1EK appear to be referring to is the best fuel economy by EPA Size Class list. That list is called ’2006 Most and Least Fuel Efficient Vehicles’, but the list only covers the top two vehicles in each EPA Size Class (top three in station wagon category) . The list doesn’t provide a sublink for the best overall fuel economy of all vehicle in a rank ordering.
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sitemap.shtml

  99. Movie Guy

    M1EK – October 13, 2005 07:06 AM — “Finally, responding to “You can print 1000 column inches of links to distract from that” by printing another 1000 column inches of links kind of proves his point.”
    You are referring to part of the post by Anonymous at October 8, 2005 11:36 AM.
    —-
    Movie Guy [responding to one of M1EK's positions on GM vehicles]: “I would like to see you prove that Toyota ‘beats the crap out of GM on mileage’.”
    Anonymous: “Easy, the only GM in the top 10 most efficient cars of 2005 … is a rebadged toyota. You can print 1000 column inches of links to distract from that … but I’m afraid I’ll take it as that, distraction.”
    —-
    The poster, Anonymous, appeared to take the position that the EPA ’2006 Most and Least Fuel Efficient Vehicles’list answered the mail on my reply to your accusation, M1EK — “I’ll use EITHER CR or EPA in showing that Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage…”
    If Anonymous or anyone else wants to take the position that the short EPA top two vehicle best fuel economy performers in each EPA Size Class serves to define all efforts by automobile manufacturers to improve fuel economy, they are welcome to do that. It’s a layman amateur approach, though. Moreover, it’s certainly not a meaningful answer that offers any significant economic appreciation for the impacts of automobile manufacturers efforts or lack of efforts to improve overall vehicle performances in terms of fuel efficiency or anything else.
    I view such an answer as part of the American sound bite mentality that so many people substitute for thinking through issues and subjects. It is an attempt to drown out real analysis and more thorough examination of issues. It’s slamming the door on real thought.
    Sound bites are killing our country, and creating more polarization. We don’t think anymore. Not really think, because so many people hate to put out that level of effort. We sound bite to each other and act like those are the only answers to questions. It’s a childish display that is dragging down our society.
    I was impressed that Jim Hamilton opened the door on discussing the impacts of changes in the automobile industry on the American economy.
    It is a worthy subject. The implications are deadly serious for the U.S. economy. We, as posters, can do a better job of examining the details behind the various manufacturing decisions being made to include fuel mileage, horsepower games, emissions requirements, hybrid considerations, alternate fuels, and further offshoring of automobile parts/components/subassembly production.
    Hopefully, we can move beyond the sound bites and study what the manufacturers are really doing, good and bad.
    [edited by JDH]

  100. JDH

    Good discussion, all. But please everyone try to keep it to statements about facts and ideas without using words that might be taken by some people as a personal insult. I reserve the right to edit or delete any comments that in my judgment run a risk of stepping over that line.

  101. Movie Guy

    M1EK at October 7, 2005 03:29 PM — “I’ll use EITHER CR or EPA in showing that Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage…”
    M1EK at October 8, 2005 07:29 AM — “You pick another CAR segment (JUST ONE) and show me an APPLES TO APPLES comparison (use EPA for both, or use CR for both; not CR for Toyota and EPA for GM).”
    Ok, I provided a summary rollup comparison of General Motors and Toyota vehicles by EPA Size Class of vehicles.
    Not that M1EK acknowledged the comparison or the results.
    All vehicles were sorted by EPA Annual Fuel Costs and Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions estimates to establish overall rankings within each class. Separately, the vehicle rankings are further sorted by number of engine cylinders to approximate a more realistic comparison within each class and engine group.
    M1EK’s claim that “Toyota beats the crap out of GM on mileage…” is one that can be viewed in a number of ways, bias aside. Toyota does very well on fuel economy with some vehicles, and not so well on others. GM held up rather well in a number of classes. And both manufacturers offer vehicles for which the other manufacturer has no similar size class offerings.
    Anyway, the summary provides an overview of the results. The specifics are even more interesting.

  102. M1EK

    “Ok, I provided a summary rollup comparison of General Motors and Toyota vehicles by EPA Size Class of vehicles.”
    I asked for ONE. JUST ONE.
    You provided another 100 lines. No thanks.
    Here’s some specifics for you: when I went looking to buy a car, I looked at everything from “family car” down to “compact car”. GM does not have a credible offering anywhere in any of those classes which comes within a mile of the Prius in any way, shape, or form.
    GM’s best effort in fuel economy in each and every one of those classes falls short of what Toyota or Honda can provide TODAY. GM’s FUTURE offerings in those classes are just as underwhelming – putting the “mild” in “mild hybrid”.
    And as I said before, I am willing to give GM (or Ford, or Chrysler) a handicap so I can buy American. But at the current time, trying to buy a good fuel-efficient car that is also American is simply not possible, despite your efforts to drown out the facts with verbiage.

  103. M1EK

    A good summary on real-world fuel economy by class:
    http://www.consumerreports.org/main/content/display_report.jsp?WebLogicSession=Q06x0CkxuIfIl6Q4R5oGRC6299kDjBlMollKjPDzAA1kNQ1Y2s7s|8068121851914044378/169937910/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1|-564904816055595269/169937902/6/7005/7005/7002/7002/7005/-1&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=772795&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=389451&bmUID=1129230800898
    Things to note:
    There are 8 segments (counting both manual and automatic small cars). Let’s be generous and collapse those into one — call it 7 segments.
    GM does not show up in the “best” list in ANY segment.
    Toyota shows up in all 7 “best” lists, outright winner in 4.
    Honda shows up in 4 “best” lists, and doesn’t make vehicles in at least 2 of the other 3. They won one outright.
    Ford shows up in 2 “best” lists and wins one.
    Chrysler shows up in no “best” lists.
    “worst” lists: GM shows up in 2, Ford in 2, and Chrysler in 4. Neither Toyota nor Honda shows up in any.

  104. Movie Guy

    Future Toyota Production and Focus
    Here are some news briefs on forthcoming Toyota vehicles. Note the continuing focus on increasing horsepower.
    Toyota’s Hybrid Plan
    September 15, 2005: Toyota “is aiming to make as many as 400,000 gasoline-electric vehicles in 2006, including Prius cars, Camry sedans, Highlander sport-utility vehicles and Coaster buses. That number would represent 60 percent more than 2005′s target.” Other 2006 Toyota hybrids will include the Lexus RX 400h and Lexus GS 450h.
    September 23, 2005: “Toyota sold 72,849 Prius hybrids in the first eight months of 2005. That was a 132.0 percent increase over the same period of 2004.”
    “Through August, Toyota sold 8,358 units of the Highlander Hybrid, which went on sale in June. Toyota could sell the hybrid sport wagon in greater volume, executives say, but its plants are running at full capacity.”
    “Next fall [Fall 2006], the redesigned Camry sedan will get a hybrid version. Nearly every Toyota model could have a hybrid application within the next decade, executives predict.”
    “Jim Farley, Toyota Division’s vice president of marketing, rejects criticism that Toyota is hawking hybrids to deflect attention from its increasing sales of SUVs and pickups. Toyota wants its redesigned full-sized Tundra pickup [non-hybrid], coming in early 2007, to have substantially higher sales volume. “Consumers are smart,” Farley says. “They understand Toyota makes a lot of different vehicles. Hybrid Synergy Drive is not a conflict with us building Sequoia or Tundra.”
    September 30, 2005: “Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. , seen as a leader in hybrid technology along with Honda Motor Co. Ltd. , plans to boost hybrid sales to 1 million units by the early part of next decade.” [Toyota's current production facilities in the U.S. alone produce more than 1.5 million vehicles per year at this time. So, Toyota's plan to convert all of its vehicles to hybrid designs will not take place with the next five-eight years.]
    October 3, 2005: “Toyota has already promised to have ten hybrids in production before decade’s end, and Honda is looking to add a number of new models, too.”
    (Various article sources)
    —-
    2007 Toytoa Lexus GS 450h Midsize Sedan
    Available: Spring 2006
    “At the heart of the vehicle is an all-new powertrain, which features a 3.5-liter V6 and a high-output electric motor, together, which are said to be capable of more than 300 horsepower and 0-to-60 acceleration in less than 6 seconds. Lexus is claiming that the miles-per-gallon consumption is in the high-20s. The only way in which the hybrid version will be distinguishable from the regular GS 450 is through the addition of special 18-inch alloy wheels and a power meter, which replaces the tachometer. The GS 450h goes on sale in the spring of 2006.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/lexus/gs450h/100530912/preview.html
    —-
    2007 Lexus LF-A Compact Coupe
    Available: TBA
    “The concept hinted at an engine with less than 5 liters of displacement and more than 500 horsepower.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/lexus/lfa/100529937/preview.html
    —-
    2006 Toytoa Lexus IS Compact Sedan
    Available: October 2005
    “In the U.S., the IS will come in three flavors: the IS 250, the IS 250 AWD and the IS 350. Both IS 250 models will use a 2.5-liter V6 with just over 200 horsepower while the IS 350 gets a 3.5-liter V6 engine that will deliver 306 hp. The standard transmission in the IS 250 will be a six-speed manual. The IS 250 AWD and IS 350 get a six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission as standard. All IS sedans will offer wider and longer dimensions.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2006/lexus/is/100401889/preview.html
    —-
    2007 Lexus LS 460 Large Sedan
    Available: Fall 2006
    “Lexus is currently working on a fully redesigned version of its flagship LS430 luxury sedan. Dubbed the LS460, the new model will not only feature a larger 4.6-liter V8 and more expressive styling, it’s also expected to add both hybrid and long-wheelbase models to the lineup. The 2006 LS430 is known for having a shorter wheelbase than competitors like the Mercedes S Class and BMW 7-Series, but the long wheelbase version of the 2007 LS460 will compete favorably with anything in its class. With a larger displacement V8 under the hood, more power is certainly on the way, but what will really set the new LS apart is the option of a hybrid drivetrain.”
    “Expected to be one of the world’s first hybrids to couple a V8 gasoline engine with an electric motor, the LS600h will be the top of the line Lexus sedan.”
    “Expect to see the LS460 and LS460L go on sale in the Fall of 2006 with sales of the LS600h following soon thereafter.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/lexus/ls460/100535121/preview.html
    —-
    2007 Toyota Supra Compact Coupe
    Available: null 2007
    “Toyota’s new sportscar should have plenty of performance thanks to a high powered V6 that will produce at least 300 horsepower. Expect to see its debut at the Tokyo Motor show in October, with sales starting sometime next year.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/toyota/supra/100486034/preview.html
    —-
    2007 Toyota Yaris Compact Sedan
    Available: Spring 2006
    “In a lineup of surefire market favorites, the Echo always stood out as being one of the least-enticing of Toyota’s vehicles, which is why the company will replace it with the Yaris for the 2007 model year. … the Yaris likely to feature a small four-cylinder engine when it arrives in the U.S, which is bound to be economical of fuel and obstinate in terms of passing power.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/toyota/yaris/100650424/preview.html
    —-
    2006 Toyota RAV4 Compact SUV
    Available: Spring 2006
    “The third-generation 2007 Toyota RAV4 will grow significantly in all dimensions compared to its predecessors, allowing the vehicle to much more closely resemble a genuine SUV. The 2007 RAV4′s wheelbase has increased 3 inches to 101 inches, while the overall length of the vehicle will now total 173 inches, up from nearly 167 inches on past editions. The width of the RAV4 has also been expanded by 3 inches, although the height will stay roughly the same.”
    “The U.S. versions of the 2007 RAV4 will most likely be powered by 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engines capable of 155 horsepower, while the transmission choices of both five-speed manuals and six-speed automatics will stay the same.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2006/toyota/rav4/100553264/preview.html
    —-
    2007 Toyota Tundra Large Truck
    Available: null 2006
    “Toyota knows that in order to compete with the big boys it needs a bigger truck. The next-generation Tundra will be a full-size truck in every respect, with a larger V8 power plant and comparable dimensions to Detroit’s biggest and best.”
    “In fact, Toyota is so intent on building a credible truck, it’s constructing an all-new plant in San Antonio, Texas, to build it.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/toyota/tundra/100392461/preview.html
    —-
    2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser Midsize SUV
    Available: February 2006
    “Under the skin, the FJ Cruiser is all 21st century as it incorporates a shortened version of the 4Runner’s frame and an all-aluminum 4.0-liter V6. With 245 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque, the FJ should be one of the quicker sport-utes in its class. A five-speed automatic transmission will be standard, but 4×4 models can be equipped with a six-speed manual.”
    http://edmunds.nytimes.com/future/2007/toyota/fjcruiser/100511163/preview.html
    —-

  105. Movie Guy

    M1EK,
    I only posted the summary results. Less than SEVEN lines of extremely brief information for most of the EPA Size Classes. That’s too many lines to read for any given class of vehicles?
    I haven’t thus far posted the specifics on any EPA Size Class comparing General Motors and Toyota vehicles.
    I’ve read the Consumer Reports information. Some of the rollup presentation is very amateur. I don’t agree with all of their classifications, as they have collapsed a few of them together into one class. That overlooks cubic footage space, curb weight, and power-to-weight considerations, as well as seating in a few examples. In some cases, their information doesn’t compare apples-to-apples. And that’s a fact.
    I believe that we will benefit from the forthcoming changes within the EPA measuring system which is supposedly going to provide a more realistic real world analysis of fuel consumption.

  106. M1EK

    “Future Toyota Production and Focus”
    followed by what seems like another 1000 lines.
    I don’t know any way to respond to this tactic which isn’t going to result in another moderator edit. It’s difficult to see how this is an attempt at anything OTHER than hiding the short but much more on-topic post I wrote about Consumer Reports’ ‘best’ and ‘worst’ by segment, and the absence of GM from the ‘best’ (and their presence in the ‘worst’).

  107. M1EK

    And whatever you think of CR’s class definitions, they found your Cobalt to be clearly sub-par on fuel economy. Despite that, you keep bringing it up as evidence that GM makes fuel-efficient cars.

  108. Movie Guy

    I posted Toyota information that gives readers some ideas regarding Toyota’s future production intent. I am not focused on one narrow aspect of the overall subjects on Jim’s thread.
    Jim’s original post, which he subsequently clarified rather clearly, is that American buyers appear to be turning away from larger vehicles. That was my take on what he was saying. Yet, what we are seeing with Toyota and other manufacturers are concurrent efforts to sell vehicles in the larger vehicle categories. Honda, for example, recently advised that it may build a V8. And Toyota is pushing its horsepower performance way up on a few vehicles. These moves appear to counter what we have seen in the past two months with regard to vehicle sales. Yet, the foreign manufacturers comments were provided by senior spokesmen during the same period. It really doesn’t make good sense, unless they’re not all that serious about the supposed purpose of hybrid vehicle production.
    Because Jim’s original post focused somewhat on General Motors, most comments posted since the original post focused on GM’s situation – failures and all else. Which was fine. GM deserves the scrutiny. But any analysis of GM should view the corporation’s efforts as well as obvious failures. I built a brief history which attempted to outline some of GM’s efforts. People can scoff at those efforts, but the facts are there for anyone to read.
    Comparing GM to Toyota probably isn’t a bad idea as Toyota is certainly moving in on each market segment that GM covers. Obviously, GM is in trouble for a multitude of reasons, but that doesn’t mean that Toyota is perfect down the line. It isn’t. It’s building bigger vehicles now and included in the fleet are some horsepower hogs.
    —-
    It’s not a matter of what I “think” of Consumer Reports class definitions. They fudged. In some examples they are not comparing apples-to-apples. It’s just a fact.
    What EPA Size Class do you think that Cobalt is in?
    I don’t own a Cobalt. Nor do I intend to own one. I’ve never made a big deal out of Cobalt’s performance or fuel economy. I’m not impressed with the vehicle.
    —-
    I wrote and posted the “Future Toyota Production and Focus” post before I ever saw your Consumer Reports post. I didn’t intend any slight toward you or that information. Seriously.
    —-
    I will part or all of the some the EPA Size Class information for some of the research that I did. It’s not an attempt to ignore the facts or bury any other information. Some of the results are interesting.
    —-
    I agree that General Motors isn’t building the best vehicles in the world. But some of them deserve more credit than they are receiving on this blog, other blogs and in the news media. It doesn’t take much to talk an auto company down into the dirt.
    And, yes, General Motors is certainly behind the power curve on building hybrids and more fuel efficient vehicles. But I don’t expect General Motors to build a Prius type model with limited annual production. General Motors does have a few world platforms that might work for such an effort, but I expect that we will see such a GM vehicle pop up in Europe before in the USA. GM needs to fix its fuel economy problems in its larger vehicles. That’s the first priority for that corporation. It’s the only way that GM will survive.
    Similarly, when Nissan says that it is having misgivings about entering into the hybrid fray, perhaps some should pay attention to what that corporation is saying. There is more to the hybrid marketing game that actual production. Otherwise, we would see declining horsepower in more of the hybrid engines. And that’s not the case.
    The overall discussion of problems and potential solutions in the auto industry is very interesting. Brad Setser (on his blog) is concerned about the issue of offshoring auto parts/components production.
    We’re witnessing a huge mess that is growing in complexity based on the events of recent months.
    Exchanges like you and I are having are fine. They focus a bit more attention on the auto industry. That is needed because most of the econ blogs are taking a pass on the subject. The auto industry is a huge economic player in this great country of ours. And it’s very close to coming apart at the seams.

  109. Movie Guy

    Hybrid and ‘Hybrid Plus’ Models
    Let me follow up on a few issues that I touched on in a previous post. (Movie Guy at October 12, 2005 06:15 PM)
    Any vehicle bearing a hybrid badge will draw more attention in the near future. But for different reasons. For different buyers.
    What do I mean?
    I believe that some, if not most, of the hybrid vehicle manufacturers are working at cross purposes to an extent. Sure, the end results provide fuel savings, but it’s a question of the overall fuel savings that could be achieved if a full fledged effort was applied. And, of course, the manufacturers are capturing the vehicle fleet benefits of reduced emissions which help them with Fed compliance. I don’t believe that some are trying very hard to maximize fuel savings, though. Here is what I mean:
    We have some manufacturers which are promoting some of their hybrids as performance plus hybrids. These manufacturers are citing the horsepower gains that the additional electric motors provide for existing vehicle platforms and models. So, these vehicle models are certainly classified as hybrids, but we could just as easily call them ‘hybrid plus’ models or ‘performance plus’ hybrids. Some of these vehicles are literally promoted based on their 0-60 mph track times, among other sales promotions mixed in with rational purchaser considerations that still focus on some considerations for fuel savings. Make no mistake, some of the manufacturers are pushing their ‘hybrid plus’ as the next generation of high performance street machines. Check out their literature and web sites. Same story for the test reports provided by many auto magazines and industry supporters.
    The hybrid vehicle drivers and their goals? (My opinions)
    First, we have the hybrid vehicle buyers who seriously want to save as much fuel as possible. These are the purists who are not necessarily seeking additional horsepower in their hybrids, though they may get the extra horsepower anyway. They’re really focused on maximizing fuel savings. And these type of buyers are focused on ‘primary fuel savings hybrids’ or hybrid combination vehicles that are specifically designed to maximize fuel savings above all else. Note the ‘all else’. This includes driver considerations like turning off the air conditioner or using the brakes lightly. And whatever else works toward improving fuel savings. These people are serious enthusiasts of hybrid fuel savings.
    We have a second group of buyers who will buy many of the ‘hybrid plus’ models, assuming that such models really do offer significant fuel savings. But many in this group aren’t fully prepared to sacrifice much in order to achieve fuel savings. They’re not going to turn off their air conditioners, or run the risk of having an accident by using their brakes lightly (as some manufacturers are now promoting as standard practice). Nor are they going to coast downhill. These are people who will assume that their high (or higher) horsepower gasoline engines and relatively high horsepower electric motors will offer all of the benefits of big fuel savings with little driver effort. But this crowd is learning that the manufacturer claims are based on changing driving and comfort habits as well.
    We have a third group of buyers who will pay close attention to the manufacturer promotions citing increased horsepower resulting from hybrid vehicles. These drivers could be called the ‘hot rod crowd’. They’re “into” the hybrid scene, but for different purposes. They want faster 0-60 mph times. And to a lesser extent, they want higher mileage as well. Best of both worlds thinking, but with a clear focus on horsepower gains and acceleration improvements.
    Which type of hybrid vehicles are most automobile manufacturers focused on building? ‘Hybrid plus’ models. By a very wide margin. Over 90 percent of the forthcoming hybrid models fall within this group.
    If the manufacturers are primarily going to build ‘hybrid plus’ models, then the manufacturers should be focusing appropriate attention on improving the fuel efficiency of their gasoline engines. Those that do will be in a position to offer consumers additional fuel savings of perhaps 10 percent or more. Those manufacturers that do not improve the fuel efficiencies of their gasoline engines which will operate in hybrid vehicles are just playing the ‘hybrid’ marketing game. Fuel savings, yes. Maximum fuel savings, no. More fuel efficient gasoline engines in hybrid models? Study the information…
    Hybrid or Hybrid Plus model in your future? You decide.

  110. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “And whatever you think of CR’s class definitions, they found your Cobalt to be clearly sub-par on fuel economy. Despite that, you keep bringing it up as evidence that GM makes fuel-efficient cars.”
    At the time you made the above post (October 13, 2005 12:59 PM), I had only mentioned the Cobalt by name ONE TIME (two vehicle model entries on the list back to back) and that was when I put up the list of GM vehicles that the EPA stated provided 28 mpg or better highway mileage. I made that post on October 5, 2005 at 05:38 PM.
    Once by name. That’s it.

  111. Rick

    This discussion has really become fuel economy dominated. Up until about a month ago, and even in the face of climbing fuel prices, the words “what kind of fuel economy can I expect?” were rarely uttered in our showroom. MPG awareness may represent a permanent change in buying motives, but I’m not completely convinced.
    Customer motivations still largely reflect a strong desire to present a specific image, or a definitive need for a specific use (4 kids in football, ride quality for trips to Arizona in the winter, trailering a 7,000lb boat, etc.). ME1K you’re a classic example. Selling to you would be a joy as your motivations are so clear. Rare, however, is the customer who partakes in exhaustive research. People are still emotional creatures, excitement and impulse still rule. A remark by a cute neighbor is far more likely to affect a purchase decision than a grid analysis. What GM really needs are more cute neighbors taking notice of their vehicles.

  112. Movie Guy

    Rick,
    I agree that fuel economy wasn’t strong on the consumer radar until the 2005 rounds of gasoline price increases. If the retail gasoline pump prices stay up in this range, though, consumers are going to focus more on fuel economy. How much more is the question.
    I think that 30-35 mpg on the highway and 22-25 mpg in city driving may be the new magic bullets for many buyers. If they can still buy vehicles that they like which offer these levels of fuel mileage (or better), then most will be happy. Many people I know who are on the fence are focusing one thing: “Gotta have 30.” Not much discussion beyond that.
    If gasoline goes to $4.00 a gasoline, the “gotta have” number will probably go to 40.
    I have nicknamed this relationship the ‘rule of 10 to 1′. Every dollar increase at the pump will require a 10 mpg increase from whatever starting point the consumer had when gasoline was a dollar cheaper.
    Rolling this idea over to ‘hybrid plus’ and ‘primary hybrid’ vehicles, I expect that each category will need to offer additional 10 mpg and 20 mpg (respectively) increases over comparable gasoline engine only vehicles.

  113. M1EK

    “I agree that General Motors isn’t building the best vehicles in the world. But some of them deserve more credit than they are receiving on this blog, other blogs and in the news media.”
    Name a car that GM makes that gets good fuel economy and is a credible competitor to the Japanese.
    Just one.

  114. Movie Guy

    Here is one example (two GM vehicles):
    Four-Door Sedans – Large Cars
    Chevrolet Malibu Maxx – Large Hatchback Car $1758 7.3
    6 cyl, 3.5 L, Auto(4), Regular 22 30 25
    Passenger Volume 106 ft
    Luggage Volume 23 ft
    Chevrolet Impala – Large Car $1758 7.6
    6 cyl, 3.4 L, Auto(4), Regular 21 32 25
    Passenger Volume 105 ft
    Luggage Volume 18 ft
    Toyota Avalon – Large Car $1758 7.6
    6 cyl, 3.5 L, Automatic (S5), Regular 22 31 25
    Curb Weight: 3490
    Passenger Volume 107 ft3
    Luggage Volume 14 ft
    Chevrolet Impala – Large Car $1912 8.1
    6 cyl, 3.8 L, Auto(4), Regular 20 30 23
    Passenger Volume 105 ft
    Luggage Volume 18 ft

  115. Rick

    How about a 2006 Impala 3.5 V-6 vs 2006 Camry v-6 and Accord v-6. We’re selling Impalas at a particularly crisp pace. I think it compares well side by side, but I admit some bias.

  116. Movie Guy

    Rick,
    Good point. My comparison was for 2005 models.
    Here’s some 2006 info:
    EPA Comparison:
    Vehicle – Annual Fuel Cost / Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    engine, transmission, type gasoline, city hwy average
    Chevrolet Malibu – $1692 / 7.4
    6 cyl, 3.5 L, Auto(4), Regular 22 32 26
    Chevrolet Impala – $1833/ 7.8
    6 cyl, 3.5 L, Auto(4), 21 31 24
    Toyota Camry – $1833 / 8.0
    6 cyl, 3.3 L, Auto(5), Regular 21 29 24
    Honda Accord – $1912 / 8.1
    6 cyl, 3 L, Auto(5), Regular 20 29 23
    Source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm

  117. M1EK

    I rented a Malibu Maxx in Hawaii early this year. It was the worst car I’ve rented in quite some time. For its size, the turning radius was abyssmal, which, since I live in a city, is a deal-breaker. The acceleration was no better than our Prius; and the only space which seemed subjectively bigger was the trunk. It got crappy mileage in the real world too.
    I’ve never driven an Impala; but the reviews are underwhelming. One example:
    http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/ConsumerReportsSnapshot.aspx?year=2005&make=Chevrolet&model=Impala
    In 1991, I bought a Saturn SL2, since it was reviewed ALMOST as good as a Civic or a Corolla. And the reliability ended up ALMOST as good as well.
    That’s the bar you need to meet to satisfy me, and most others in my generation, unless you’re trying to sell in a segment where the Japanese don’t compete, and those are nearly gone.

  118. Movie Guy

    2006 Models – EPA Size Class – Turning Radius:
    Toyota Prius – Midsize car – 17.05 feet
    Chevrolet Malibu – Midsize car – 18.0 feet
    Honda Accord – Midsize car – 18.1 feet
    Toyota Camry – Midsize car – 18.7 feet
    Chevrolet Malibu Maxx – Large car – 18.8 feet
    Chevrolet Impala – Large car – 19.0 feet

  119. Movie Guy

    M1EK — “For its size [Malibu Maxx], the turning radius was abyssmal, which, since I live in a city, is a deal-breaker.”
    I guess that consideration would also rule out the Toyota Camry. :)

  120. M1EK

    I haven’t driven a Camry, but if it turned as poorly as that Malibu did, yes, I wouldn’t buy one. Turned like a gigantic car; felt like a midsize car.

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