It appears that all is not well for Holden's US export program. According to an article in today’s Chicago Tribune, General Motor’s rear-drive initiative is in trouble. Yes, reality has caught up with GM and their fuel guzzling, inefficient engines and designs might be put to rest.
The US administration hasn't exactly stood up to the US car industry to help reduce emissions and build more economical engines. However, things are changing. A current proposal by the Bush administration would raise corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards by 4% a year, with fleets expected to average 34mpg by 2017 – 30% higher than today’s levels.
What does that mean? It means that GMs current engines (such as the V8s found in the Commodore) will simply not pass the emission laws. Similar laws have been passed in Europe long ago, with Japan following closely. Australia still lacks tough emission standards.
GM’s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said
“we’ve pushed the pause button. It’s no longer full speed ahead. anything after that is questionable or on the bubble,”
By anything after that, Mr Lutz is referring to the Camero which is too far down the production line to stop, however this directly affects the new Pontiac GTO, better known to us as the Holden VE Commodore SSV which was set and ready to start exporting next year.
Whilst GM Holden's CEO never admits defeat, his American counterpart is more humble:
“We don’t know how to get 30 percent better mileage” GM’s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said
A good start would be to hire some Japanese and German engineers who have spent the last 10 years developing what the world has been asking for, efficient engines.
However, environmentalist should not get their hopes up just yet, these laws have not yet come into affect. There is a possibility that given the outcry from all the US manufacturers (and surely a great deal of bribes), the US government might not go ahead with the proposed tougher emissions and fuel-economy standards. Stay tuned.
It would be interesting for not only GM American but also for Holden in Australia if these laws are passed. It would result in a lot of GM engines being rendered useless.