Fri
Jan 18 2008
12:14 pm

No kidding. GM had a big, green, full page ad in the Sunday New York Times entitled "We need to talk." It touts their commitment to the environment and energy efficiency.

It says that because they have a large environmental footprint they have an obligation to change. They say the are one of the leading users of renewable energy, that they have reduced CO2 emissions at their facilities by 80% since 1990, that they have 14 facilities that send no waste from production operations to landfills.

So far so good.

But then they say "there is no greater proof of our commitment to change than the ongoing development of gas-friendly to gas-free fuel solutions by our Chevrolet brand" and that they are "making vehicles with better fuel efficiency than ever before."

Really?

As an example, they cite their new Tahoe Hybrid full-size hybrid SUV, and their Chevy Malibu Hybrid, the "most affordable midsize hybrid in the industry." Has anyone seen either of these vehicles in real life?

At any rate, I'm surprised these vehicles aren't an embarrassment to GM instead of feathers in their PR cap. Check out the numbers from the 2008 EPA Fuel Economy Guide:

Chevy Malibu Hybrid MPG: City: 24, Highway: 32, Combined: 27
Chevy Tahoe Hybrid MPG: City: 21, Highway: 22, Combined: 21

That's pathetic. For all major makes and models ranked by MPG, the Malibu Hybrid comes in at number 45, and the Tahoe Hybrid comes in at number 314. The first GM vehicle to appear in the top MPG ranking is the Pontiac Vibe at 21st on the list. It's made by Toyota.

GM is (for now) the world's largest auto manufacturer with 246 models and $207 billion in revenues last year. They should be able to do better than this. GM's overall fleet average for all makes and models is 17.6 MPG, which ranks near the bottom at 15th out of 17 major manufacturers (ahead of only Chrysler and Mercedes Benz).

GM should take a look at their own failed product strategy (and what their competitors* are doing) to improve the bottom line and spend less time and money on propaganda campaigns that deliver lip service instead of solutions.

*EPA top 25 most fuel efficient vehicles for 2008 according to the EPA:

MAKE MODEL COMB MPG
TOYOTA PRIUS 46
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID 42
TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID 34
NISSAN ALTIMA HYBRID 34
MERCURY MARINER HYBRID FWD 32
FORD ESCAPE HYBRID FWD 32
TOYOTA YARIS (M) 32
MAZDA TRIBUTE HYBRID 2WD 32
TOYOTA YARIS (A) 31
HONDA FIT 31
TOYOTA COROLLA 31
HONDA FIT 30
HYUNDAI ACCENT 29
KIA RIO 29
KIA RIO 29
HONDA CIVIC 29
HONDA FIT 29
NISSAN VERSA 29
TOYOTA SCION XD 29
HONDA CIVIC 29
PONTIAC VIBE 29
TOYOTA COROLLA 29
TOYOTA COROLLA MATRIX 29
TOYOTA SCION XD 28
NISSAN VERSA 28
113
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metulj's picture

I would gladly invest in GM

I would gladly invest in GM if they would, tomorrow, come out and say that they would only offer gas burners as an option in the year 2013 and you would have to pay extra to get that option. Right now, if given the choice between a GM product and one of the air-powered Tatas from India, me and my family would be dancing with Ganesh.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Factchecker's picture

Audi S5, Mmmmm....

Funny one of the sponsors on the right, but it brings up a rant (or another one). For all their technical prowess and general greenness, the Germans are leading the world in the ridiculousness that is the current horsepower race. A generation ago, few vehicles had as much as 200hp. Even the Corvette barely had that much.

German automakers could apply their considerable R&D to plug-in hybrids and the like, with significant trickle down and trend setting effect. But instead it's all about beating the other two at raw power nobody ever needs or uses (between Audi, BMW, and M-B).

Odd for a country taking such a bold lead in PVs and other environmental areas. Too bad.

R. Neal's picture

Maybe it's the Autobahn. As

Maybe it's the Autobahn. As compared to Tokyo, where everybody not on a train is sitting in traffic (with their hybrid engines shut off).

metulj's picture

Well, I have to agree and

Well, I have to agree and disagree. The big German makers also have scads of business they don't do here. In Europe, they offer lots of little models that run around on diesel and get huge numbers in terms of mileage (VW Polo, comes directly to mind). It is the stupidity of the American car buyer that has them puking these things onto our shores. If a German owns one, he doesn't commute in it. It's used exactly as it should be the weekend jaunt LUXURY car.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

bizgrrl's picture

I alwasy thought New Yorkers

I alwasy thought New Yorkers were supposed to be smart savy, no bs kind of people.

Who is GM marketing to in this ad? The government, politicians, other corporations?

redmondkr's picture

Who is GM marketing to in

Who is GM marketing to in this ad?

That is the American way, if it's marketed heavily enough, it's true.


Visit us at

Wearybottom Associates

Nelle's picture

OK, I'm laughing so hard I can hardly breathe here

... but I just have to say that the phrase "the Corvair in action" is the funniest thing I've heard in weeks.

Weeks, I tell you!

A million thanks, redmondkr.

Factchecker's picture

Funny at any speed

Yeah, that's a hoot!

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