Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

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  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Crisis Is The World’s Biggest Worry – Survey
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    Tuesday, February 26, 2008


    In response to a vigorous Internet assault on him for calling climate change a “total crock of s---“ General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz wrote this: "My thoughts on what has or hasn't been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make to advance the cause of General Motors…"

    In other words, GM’s decision to build the plug-in hybrid electric Chevy Volt or any other “environmentally friendly” vehicle is purely economic. Just like the company’s decision to stick with the Hummer and other SUVs until the company recorded losses and saw a better place to go in the market.

    GM deserves credit for its ahead-of-the-curve initiative. It took on the EV1 when nobody else was doing electric cars. And now it is trying to bring the PHEV Volt to the showroom.

    But Toyota’s current dominance in the hybrid market is not due entirely to the fact that its economists and accountants can add better than those at GM. Toyota execs saw the world a certain way and went to work on the Prius when GM was still selling the Hummer. Can a company whose exec is a climate change denier (long past the time when it is clear what is going on with the climate) bring a climate change-fighting car to market?

    Lutz: “The Chevrolet Volt program is occurring under my personal watch, because I -- and others in senior management -- believe in it. I fully expect that it will revolutionize the automotive industry, and I’m committed to seeing it successfully developed and in showrooms.”

    With this remark, Lutz has single-handedly dramatically lowered expectations for the Volt but wants to blame others for noticing the inherent contradiction of his position. As much as Lutz would like this to be about his readers and the people responding to his remark, it is just as much about Lutz and GM.

    Lutz thinks climate change is a crock but he is passionately committed to the Volt. Just like GM was once committed to the EV1. Until it wasn't. Like Romeo who was so madly in love with Rosaline until he saw Juliet, there is a dissonance that leads straight to tragedy.

    The public can't help but expect the usual shortsighted GM inspiration-followed-by-impatience act if the program is going to be overseen by a shortsighted climate change denier. Those public expectations could feed market performance.

    Lutz opposed Congressional efforts to enact stiffer mileage standards for U.S. vehicles, calling such an idea "…like trying to address the obesity problem in this country by forcing clothing manufacturers to sell smaller, tighter sizes." How did that work out? Last December, that out-of-control radical progressive George W. Bush signed into law a requirement to up fleet mileage 40% by 2020.

    The Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) Volt is a beautiful and exciting idea but GM has not brought it to market yet. (click to enlarge)

    GM exec calls global warming a “crock”
    Kevin Krolicki (w/Toni Reinhold), February 22, 2008 (Reuters)

    General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz

    Lutz defended his remark that climate change is a "total crock of s---…" only by distancing GM from the comment, asserting that his opinion would not impact GM’s decision to build the plug-in hybrid electric Chevy Volt.

    The EV1 was once a beautiful and exciting idea but GM fell out of love. (click to enlarge)

    - Lutz’s “Talk about a Crock” post came February 21.
    - Lutz has been in the auto industry 40 years.
    - GM is racing with Toyota to bring the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to market.

    Much of this controversy has been taking place at the GM FastLane Blog.

    - GM is the largest U.S. automaker by sales and market share.
    - Having failed to see growing impetus in buyer demand for fuel-saving hybrid technology, GM manufactured the Hummer and other SUVs in its product lines to dramatically slowing sales in recent years.
    - GM is currently advertising the Chevy Volt and promises to bring it to market in 2010.

    Will the Volt recharge America? Or will Lutz soon look elsewhere? (click to enlarge)

    Lutz, responding to internet attacks on him for his remark: "What [those responding with outrage] should be doing in earnest is forming opinions, not about me but about GM and what this company is doing that is ... hugely beneficial to the causes they so enthusiastically claim to support…"


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