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Old 01-15-2008, 09:52 PM   #1
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Oshawa, and CAFE....

Fuel rules guide GM in decision on cars for Ont. plant

GREG KEENAN
AUTO INDUSTRY REPORTER
January 15, 2008

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. is still studying which cars to build in Oshawa, Ont., alongside the new Camaro because the U.S. debate on fuel economy means it's difficult to assess the market for rear-wheel-drive cars, company chairman Rick Wagoner says.

"The issue we're looking at in the U.S. is just with the CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Requirements] - how big those segments are going to be," Mr. Wagoner told a small group of reporters yesterday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"It really is the $64,000 question."

He said GM has not concluded how sales of rear-wheel-drive vehicles will be affected by the U.S. government move to require fleets to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Front-wheel-drive vehicles provide better fuel economy.
"We've had a range of ideas," he said.

"In the latest developments on fuel economy some seem more feasible than others and others that were pretty good a while ago don't seem as logical now."

But he pointed out that there's likely to be high demand for a six-cylinder version of the Camaro and GM will offer a version.

That's another example of how the North American market is changing amid high gas prices because muscle cars typically have V8 engines with plenty of power.

GM is undertaking a massive redevelopment of its Oshawa car plants as part of the $2.5-billion Beacon Project, which received more than $400-million in financial assistance from the federal and Ontario governments.

One of the two car plants will be closed and the company will construct a leading-edge flexible plant that will allow it to assemble cars off more than one platform or basic underbody.

Sources said the original plan called for GM to manufacture as many as 500,000 rear-wheel-drive vehicles including the Camaro once the plant was running at full tilt by 2010.

Mr. Wagoner would say little about the negotiations this year between GM and the Canadian Auto Workers union.

"I think it's going to be a robust set of negotiations," he said.

CAW president Buzz Hargrove and his leadership are well informed about the issues to be discussed, Mr. Wagoner said.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:04 PM   #2
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If they make that Zeta platform Caddy flagship that would work real well. If it can handle two platforms, move Alpha there as well.
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Old 01-16-2008, 05:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoneye View Post

He said GM has not concluded how sales of rear-wheel-drive vehicles will be affected by the U.S. government move to require fleets to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
just to show that not all cars will have to meet this requirement. Just the average of all their fleets. This helps my logic that muscle cars are on the uprising just like imports where a couple years ago. Someday someone will roll out a factory tuned 800-1000hp car.....someday
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:13 AM   #4
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Once again, the "man" is keeping us down, LOL.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:17 PM   #5
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I think the thinking is that some cars just don't make sense from an engineering standpoint, to go through the trouble and expense for a car that's only going to hurt the fleet average. For high-power cars like the Vette it doesn't matter much since it's not a volume seller. The Camaro will be around for generations to come and GM engineers will surely keep a V8 up front in some Camaro models, while the V6 (or 6's) will make up for the majority of sales. No worries; the performance, rear-wheel-driven American muscle car is going nowhere.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:01 PM   #6
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I have no problem with RWD V8 powered performance cars being low-volume. It will make owning one even better.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:02 PM   #7
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The sky is falling..............
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:26 AM   #8
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I have no problem with RWD V8 powered performance cars being low-volume. It will make owning one even better.

So true.
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:07 AM   #9
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Ah, the good 'ol Beacon Project. Thanks GM! More on that below. As far as the CAFE goes, the projected sales of the Camaro are less than 200 000 world wide. 75% of these will likely be V6. That leaves fewer than 50k V8 Camaros a year. Assume that half of that will be for the US market. Then add in the Corvette, G8 and any other V8 car (I think that large trucks are still exempt, right?) and you have a total of perhaps 50k V8 cars sold in the US by GM per year. in 2007 they sold 3.87 million vehicles, taking off truck sales lets figure they sold about 2.5 million vehicles. So those V8 cars account would for 2% of their US car sales. Thats not a whole lot. Compare that to 200k cobalts sold each year. And the Volt which is anticipated at being over 100k in its first year.

Back to what I said earlier. A good portion of that beacon project is going into my University. We are getting a brand new facility out of it known as the Automotive Centre of Excellence. It will have a massive wind tunnel (large enough to fit a bus in) and a four post shaker rig. We will become their hub of academic research in Canada. Who are we? We are the University of Ontario, Institute of Technology. The goal is to have a Canadian university that is on par with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), or the California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:42 AM   #10
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Your statement of less then 200,000 camaros per year is astonishing. As is your fewer then 50k v8 camaros per year. Where did you get these figures?

I know for a FACT how many will be built per year, i know how many will be built for the first year production run, and i know how many shift"s" got eliminated on the new camaro line. Whoever gave/wrote down those figures you got are way off. But i wont tell you how many are slated for production runs as i dont want to give away our secrets


EDIT
when i said "astonishing" i should have said "laughable" We are not building a "me too" car like the Impala.
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:03 AM   #11
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I just pulled them out of my ass. I think I heard that they were anticipating 150k being sold and assumed that it would do better than expected. Then I figured about 25% would be V8's, no particular reason there but the guess felt right. Dodge is selling 10 000 or so STR8 Challengers, double what they originally planned. But even if the numbers I had for the Camaro are high, it helps my point further since the fewer V8 cars there are, the less impact they will on CAFE, correct? Oh, and those numbers for GM's sales are just slightly educated guesses as well. Do not take any of that stuff as fact. But if anyone can provide solid numbers for any of that stuff, please correct me
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:50 PM   #12
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Well, if you are guessing 100K Camaros per year, I'd say it's safe to assume that 25 to 30% of those could be Z28's and SS's....maybe up to 35% tops...depending on price and demand.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:12 PM   #13
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Whatever the case I will most definately be driving one of the V8's.
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:12 PM   #14
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thats some BS that they say every car has to have a35mpg average by2020. so what if they dont get it then that meens it gets the gas guzzler tax ???
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:27 PM   #15
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either that or the company get fined heavily. Thanks georgie pie bush.
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:54 PM   #16
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Every car doesn't have to average 35 mpg. The entire auto industry as a whole has to hit 35 mpg. So each model doesn't have to average that. Entire brands don't even have to average that. Not even whole manufacturers have to average that. Just the industry. So there will be plenty of sub-35 mpg cars and they won't necessarily be subject to to a gas-guzzler tax.
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
The sky is falling..............

wow that wasn't read...

everyone has a small peice of the right information.. just not all of it.

First you have to realize this is by 2020.. got 12 years to get there.. by then we are looking at the phased out gen 6 and drooling over the gen 7.

Second, the 35mpg average is taken from an entire manufacturers lineup. IE, silverado 1500, 2500, HD, malibu, impala, beat, volt ect. added up and then devided by the number of models. Hence the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)


Third, the government did the same thing back in the 60's, did it kill V8's then? Nope, not gonna happen this time either. Personally I think a plug in variant like the volt (only on the tesla level) is more than feasible by 2020. Just 1 model in the lineup WAY over steps low (relitively) MPG of several models..

IE
GM lineup without a plug in
corvette 28MPG
camaro 25mpg (EST)
cobalt 28MPG
silverado 1500 20mpg
silverado hd 16 mpg

Cafe - 23.4MPG

GM linupe with a Plug-in
corvette 28MPG
camaro 25mpg (EST)
cobalt 28MPG
silverado 1500 20mpg
silverado hd 16 mpg
Volt - 99mpg (established due to NO fuel usage, aka Infinite mpg)

Cafe - 36.0 MPG

So by adding 1 count it ONE hybrid to the lineup RIGHT NOW GM can meet cafe and do as it pleases. Oh and yes I realize these numbers are not accurate, but it shows the concept of what happens in the REAL world.

Edit:

Oh and 1 more item to chew on...

Quote:
Europe currently requires 40 miles per gallon average fuel economy and will soon push up to 49 miles per gallon, while Japan is expected to reach 47 miles per gallon in its 2015 standard.
Src
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:23 AM   #18
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^Excellent post.
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:53 AM   #19
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^Excellent post.
+2.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:37 PM   #20
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thats kinda stupid how it works, but ...whatever!
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:21 AM   #21
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Well, for guys like us (those who LOVE V8's and serious power), it's great. It not only helps our economy, helps to save the environment, helps to keep more money in our own pockets, etc, etc, but, it helps us to keep our high horsepower V8's in our garages.

Not only that, but car manufacturers have to meet standards to continue building...which means better engines w/ better gas mileage. Personally, I'm all for it.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:39 AM   #22
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Interview With GM's Lutz -- A Voice From The Other Side

I s'pose this fits in here.
Here's an article featuring Bob Lutz explaining a few ins-and-outs of the CAFE bill...and why it's going to potentially be expensive:
Quote:
DETROIT (Dow Jones) -- He is a former Marine jet attack aviator who later rose to the top echelons of General Motors. And like a Marine, Bob Lutz is blunt and to the point when it comes to talking about the future of the industry he loves.

He told MarketWatch the government is putting automakers "at war" with their customers, that the cars of the future will be more fuel efficient but very different and more expensive, and that GM is seeing some encouraging economic signs. We talked with GM's Vice Chairman for Global Product Development at the Detroit auto show this past week.

Lutz said the new government requirement that automakers have a Corporate Average Fuel Economy of 35 miles a gallon by the year 2020 will change the way we go from Point A to Point B.

"The cars that get 35 miles per gallon...will not be like the cars and trucks that get 20 miles per gallon today. They will be somewhat smaller...they will contain lots of fuel-saving technology, and that technology will not come for free," Lutz said. He predicted those cars would cost "five, six, seven thousand dollars more."

GM is working with battery makers to get the much-talked-about electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt, to market by 2010.
"We are working on the electrification of the automobile because my personal theory is the best way to save fuel is to use none at all," Lutz said.

He noted that environmentalists "like Al Gore" point to the cars GM sells in Europe with higher fuel economy than in the U.S. and say, "they know how to do it."

"Well 'they know how to do it' at eight bucks a gallon where everybody buys tiny little cars with tiny, tiny diesel engines...that don't have to meet US diesel emissions regulations," he charged.

The GM executive would like to see a gradual increase in gasoline prices in this country to a level closer to what consumers pay in other parts of the globe. Such a move, he feels, would then increase customer acceptance of smaller cars here and make production economically viable for automakers.

"Because with the federal mandates at 35 miles per gallon coupled with cheap fuel, it puts us at war with our customers. At $3 a gallon (for gas) many people still want full-sized pick up trucks (and) full-sized sport utilities with V8 engines...and we're not going to be able to sell it to 'em because we if we do we won't make (the federal mandates)," Lutz told us, adding, "It's ridiculous."
Lovers of big SUV's such as the Chevy Suburban should not expect the automaker to produce a four or five thousand-pound vehicle that gets 35 miles a gallon because "it just runs counter to the laws of physics," Lutz said.

As for U.S. sales, Lutz and GM (GM) are looking at up to 16.3 million industry-wide this year. Some experts have forecast sales as low as 14-plus million. Lutz notes that demand has been strong for the GMC Acadia and its sisters, the Cadillac CTS and the North American Car of the Year, the Chevy Malibu.

"So all of our newly introduced products are experiencing very high demand," he said.

While acknowledging that a weak economy is not good for sales, Lutz maintains that bankers the company talks to think the worse is over for the "mortgage meltdown crisis and the liquidity crisis." He praised Fed Chief Ben Bernanke for his prediction of further interest rate cuts and for doing what he can to head off a recession.

"So we are cautiously optimistic that things are not going to be as bad as we feared (economically)", Lutz said.

Like other makers at the Detroit show, Lutz is quick to point to growing sales overseas, in markets like Latin America, Europe and China.

"So if everything goes well in the rest of the world, we can take a couple hits in the U.S. and still be okay," adding "with half our growth here in the United States, one would like to do well here too."

With a twinkle in his eye, Lutz said the working name for the new high performance Corvette ZR1 was the "Blue Devil" for the alma mater of GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. However, that name did not make it to market because, " what do you do if someone orders a "Blue Devil" in red?"
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:09 AM   #23
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Quote:
With a twinkle in his eye, Lutz said the working name for the new high performance Corvette ZR1 was the "Blue Devil" for the alma mater of GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. However, that name did not make it to market because, " what do you do if someone orders a "Blue Devil" in red?"
^Well, that was kinda off topic. The entire story about CAFE and requirments....then this? Hmm....ok. That has a lot to do w/ your (editors) story?.? uh...

I see his point. But, I do think that more engines will be built which can meet CAFE standards. Then, when you order your vehicle, you check the SC option under the engine packages. Technically, the car meets CAFE requirments before....only now, you just added another 150hp on your engine after the fact. But, that doesn't matter, because the car was built to "specs." Ok...this prolly won't work. But, it's worth a shot.
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #24
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^Well, that was kinda off topic. The entire story about CAFE and requirments....then this? Hmm....ok. That has a lot to do w/ your story?.? uh...

I see his point. But, I do think that more engines will be built which can meet CAFE standards. Then, when you order your vehicle, you check the SC option under the engine packages. Technically, the car meets CAFE requirments before....only now, you just added another 150hp on your engine after the fact. But, that doesn't matter, because the car was built to "specs." Ok...this prolly won't work. But, it's worth a shot.
Sounds like a COPO loophole . . .

The simplest way to gain fuel economy is to make cars lighter. That means getting rid of alot of those power accesories and comforts. Then you use a less powerfull engine. So you end up with cars that weigh 2000 lbs and have 70 hp, with no comfort features. Sporty versions may get 100 hp!. Those will be the 'midsized' cars, others will get smaller still. And all will get obliterated by the SUV's, pickups, and even fullsized cars like the 300 that are going to dominate the roads for another decade.

I know that they say the Smartcar is supposed to be very good in crashes. But to me, the laws of physics dictate that if you get hit by something that weighs 3x as much as you do, you need to absorb a very large amount of energy to avoid injury. Imagine playing football at full speed with full contact, against a 7 year old. The differance in mass dictates that when he hits you, you will probably feel it but it won't do anything to stop you. You hit him and he is going to get seriously injured. It is the same way with cars. A small car is more crash resistant in a single vehicle accident, but if it gets hit, game over.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:47 PM   #25
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Americans are never going to give up their cars nor are the all the sudden going to buy smaller cars they can't even fit their families into. It's not practical, maybe for the business but not the consumer, it's the latter that dictates the trends.
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