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Old 04-16-2007, 11:16 PM   #1
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RWD not dead yet....

Ran accross this thought some might be interested.


Phelan: Rear-Drive Cars Not Dead
Detroit Free Press

By Mark Phelan

April 15, 2007

Let's kill a couple of myths over our morning coffee.

1. New fuel economy and emissions rules will ruin Detroit 's automakers by forcing them to build boring, mediocre cars.

2. Rear-wheel-drive cars burn more fuel, so tougher mileage and emissions standards rule them out.

These canards come to mind as folks pronounce General Motors' new family of rear-wheel-drive cars dead-before-arrival, victims of new carbon-dioxide limits that have yet to be written.

The speculation began when GM product boss Bob Lutz said the company had "pushed the pause button" on development of its new rear-wheel-drive models until it knows how U.S. regulators respond to the U.S. Supreme Court's reasonable ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate carbon dioxide emissions, which are widely thought to contribute to global warming.

The new family of rear-wheel-drive cars, which includes the exciting Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac G8, plays a large role in GM's plans to restore excitement and prestige to brands like Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick.

It was a short jump from Lutz's "pause" to reports that GM had scrapped the program.

Not necessarily.

The development of GM's new cars is far enough along that it makes sense to pause until the company understands the CO 2 emissions standards likely to come, but several technologies and fuel sources may still put them on American highways.

Diesel, biofuel, E85 and hybrid gasoline-electric power plants already exist. Plug-in hybrid power – like the Chevrolet Volt concept car that wowed the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January – might also work. That technology isn't ready today, but it might be around the end of this decade.

It all depends on how the regulations are written. If legislators emphasize reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption, any of those technologies could become major players.

And any of them would work in the new rear-drive cars, the layout best suited to the style and performance GM was developing to resuscitate its brands.

But wait, you say. I keep reading that rear-drive cars use more fuel. If I want to save the Earth, isn't front-wheel-drive mandatory?

Not so much.

The diesel engines that account for more than 50 percent of European car sales prove it. A rear-drive six-cylinder diesel Mercedes-Benz E320 will use less fuel in a year than a front-drive V6 Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, according to the EPA's Web site.

An experimental diesel in the rear-drive Mercedes C-class gets nearly 43 m.p.g. in European tests.

Detroit 's automakers made big, inefficient rear-drive cars before fuel economy mattered. They switched to front-drive for a quick fix, but there are other alternatives today, and they are looking at all of them.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:06 AM   #2
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"Detroit 's automakers made big, inefficient rear-drive cars before fuel economy mattered. They switched to front-drive for a quick fix, but there are other alternatives today, and they are looking at all of them."

Yep. And it's called a V8 diesel putting out 350hp, some great torque, and gets something like 35mpg's. It is also supposed to be patented and released somewhere around 2010 according to that article a few months back.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:56 PM   #3
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This is very good news, I mean I didn't freak out as much as some. But This does reassure me.

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Old 04-18-2007, 07:07 AM   #4
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Thats great to hear don't get me wrong. But why would Lutz say it is on hold than if it seriously isn't? Maybe he is just messing with us all, i hear he is a funny guy. That would be some dirty trick if he was joking about this, since this move back to rear wheel drive is his brain child.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:16 AM   #5
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I don't doubt that the RWD program is in any realy danger. IMO this is GM playing politics just like the politicians. Washington comes at the automkers with this drastic proposal to cut emissions and improve fuel efficiency, so GM makes this big public relations hoopla about how this new bill is going to affect their business plans for the next 10 years.

I think he is just illustrating his point and creating a stir by putting it on hold.

It is also possible that he is just playing it safe and has decided to put it on hold until he sees exactly what the bill will include. I mean, it would really suck if they continue development with certain assumptions about the regulations and then all of the sudden the bill comes out with major changes and by that time the RWD program is so far ahead that they can not stop it.

Who knows.... but I really think the program will be safe. They are just being cautions.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Casull View Post
I don't doubt that the RWD program is in any realy danger. IMO this is GM playing politics just like the politicians. Washington comes at the automkers with this drastic proposal to cut emissions and improve fuel efficiency, so GM makes this big public relations hoopla about how this new bill is going to affect their business plans for the next 10 years. Right, GM is not a little child anymore. And with Wagoner and Lutz at the Helm, they're not taking any more crap from ANYBODY. They're going to make a big stink about this to raise awareness, but the RWD is too important, it can't be scrapped. Too much money has gone into the Holden Division to develop this and IMO, it will if anything, be updated to withstand Gov't Regulations...

I think he is just illustrating his point and creating a stir by putting it on hold.

It is also possible that he is just playing it safe and has decided to put it on hold until he sees exactly what the bill will include. I mean, it would really suck if they continue development with certain assumptions about the regulations and then all of the sudden the bill comes out with major changes and by that time the RWD program is so far ahead that they can not stop it. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Who knows.... but I really think the program will be safe. They are just being cautions.
This is just my take.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:39 AM   #7
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That sounds like a huge possibility. It would make complete sense for him to do that.
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:03 PM   #8
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Makes me feel a little proud to think about it that way, too...
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Old 04-18-2007, 11:33 PM   #9
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More on the environmental front

Here is part of another article I read today. Sounds like Mr. Lutz is really coming at the environmentalists.

GM Challenges the Eco-Critics
The Detroit News

By David Shepardson

April 18, 2007

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz met with one of the company's strongest environmental critics on Tuesday, following up on an earlier challenge.

Earlier this month, Lutz called on the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that has lobbied for higher fuel economy standards, to visit GM, talk to his staff and show them the gasoline-saving technology the group says is readily available but ignored by automakers.

"This is a challenge I want to put out to people who think they have a solution, and are so much smarter than we are," Lutz told the Wall Street Journal. "Let them come and see us. If the technology were readily and easily available, what on earth would our motive be for withholding it?"

Meeting in Lutz's office at GM's headquarters, David Friedman, head of the Clean Vehicle Research program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Lutz discussed the group's contention that with off-the-shelf technology, the automaker could build a minivan that would reduce tailpipe emissions by 40 percent – and cost just $300 per vehicle.

In March, the group's engineers unveiled a minivan design they said showed automakers can build affordable vehicles with existing technology that meet or exceed pollution standards adopted by California and other states.

Following the two-hour meeting Wednesday, Friedman said GM and the group remained at "loggerheads." Both sides agreed to keep details confidential.

But Friedman noted, "I think we will have to build a driveable vehicle" to convince GM the technology works. "We didn't change any minds."

Lutz declined comment. GM spokesman Chris Preuss said, "The challenge with the environmentalists is that there is a complete lack of business and technical experience from which they can draw conclusions.

"The fact is that we must balance dozens of complex regulatory and consumer issues in producing vehicles – safety, performance, fuel economy and affordability, to name but a few The more we can inform and engage the misconceptions, the more robust the societal discussion will be. For that reason, we think the meeting was very worthwhile."
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:47 AM   #10
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I'm glad he is taking it to them. Like I've said elsewhere I'm for a clean environment, but some environmentalists are just plain consipiracy nuts and wack jobs that are pushing an agenda just like everyone else.

I'm glad Mr. Lutz is calling them out.

The idea that automakers are concealing enviromental friendly techonology for the sake of making money is ridiculous.

In fact, I believe the first automaker to mass produce such effective green techonology (if it exists) would actually make lots and lots of money.
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:07 AM   #11
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Couldn't agree with you more Rock.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:27 AM   #12
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RWD safe for now

More Rear Drive at GM?
Bloomberg

By Jeff Green

May 3, 2007

General Motors Corp. probably will resume development of larger, rear- wheel-drive cars after pausing because the U.S. may raise fuel- economy standards, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Wednesday.

The sedans, which share engineering with the planned Chevrolet Camaro sports car, may have to have more fuel-efficient engine options, Lutz said in an interview for the program "Autoline Detroit" to air Sunday on Detroit Public Television.

"It's terrifically important for GM to build these cars," said John Wolkonowicz, an analyst at Lexington, Massachusetts- based Global Insight Inc. "It goes back to real American cars for real American buyers. Too many of their cars have been bad copies of Japanese cars."

Lutz's comments softened from last month, when he said rear- drive cars were among future models "paused" as the U.S. considers tougher fuel-economy rules. GM needs models popular with more buyers to keep pace with Toyota Motor Corp., which passed GM in global sales last quarter.

GM put its lineup under review after President George W. Bush earlier this year said he has a goal of lifting new vehicles' average fuel economy by 4 percent a year during the next decade.

Any delay in future models won't affect the Camaro, slated to go on sale in 2009, or a rear-drive Pontiac G8 model that GM introduced at the New York auto show for sale next year.

"The Camaro certainly is safe and after that I would say it's pretty safe," Lutz said. "Frankly, I think we'll wind up concluding that we should go ahead and do the cars, albeit possibly with some different powertrain options and so forth."
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Old 05-04-2007, 03:31 AM   #13
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That is what I like to hear!!! GM going ahead w/ the rear wheel drive! They would pretty much be screwed if they couldn't make their lineup. That would kill GM and again, have all the american dollars going back over to foreign companies.
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Old 05-04-2007, 10:30 AM   #14
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YES!!! OH THANK YOU CAR GOD...GM still has some brains left. Oh, what have I been saying for ages, the Detroit Automakers will come back with a Vengeance! Look out Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsu-something!! YES!
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:07 PM   #15
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gm rwd plan still a go




General Motors had not paused its program to get a Pontiac G8 version of the Commodore SSV into the US for the 2008 model year.

The vice-president of communications for GM, Steve Harris, told a briefi ng of business writers in Melbourne this week that there was “no threat at all to the rear-wheel drive program” in the wake of new potentially onerous US fuel economy standards, and that GM had high hopes for the car that is projected to sell between 30,000 and 40,000 units a year.

“There is a lot of anticipation around that vehicle (within GM),” Mr Harris said. “I think people feel there is a segment for that and
that it will do well.”

Mr Harris said the global RWD program was not affected in the wake of US regulators flagging much more stringent fuel economy and CO2 standards. GM had reason to “reflect in our minds on what was happening from a fuel economy standpoint as it affected our total portfolio – not only rear-wheel drive”.

“We have not stopped and never did stop any work on any rear-wheel drive activity,” he said. “But it is a concern to us what is going on from a CAFE and CO2 discussion in the United States and some of the proposals look unbelievably difficult to achieve.”

Mr Harris said the proposals were a concern of all car-makers, not just GM, but at this stage GM had not altered its investment strategy.

“There is no slow-down and no putting any investment on hold.”



Pontiac Exec: "No Hold On G8 - Production Starts In October"




Pontiac G8
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