[opendtv] Re: News: Ditch Your TV

  • From: Albert Manfredi <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 20:52:10 -0500

Peter Wilson
> Coming from Europe I find it very strange that Ford and
> GM who produce class leading compact cars in Europe don't
> import the designs to the USA. Sure there are local
> regulation differences but they cannot be that big.
> European Emissions regulations are also very stiff.
They do, actually. It's not quite as bad as that. There are quite a few shared 
platforms and shared engines, even if they vary in some ways, as you said.
For instance, the Pontiac G6, the Saturn Aura, the Chevy Malibu, the Saab 9-3, 
the Opel Vectra, the Alfa Romeo 159, and also one of the Vauxhalls, all share 
the same platform and some of the same engines, or at least engine families. 
The Alfa V-6, for example, is now a GM 60-degree V-6 block, with Alfa heads. A 
BIG improvement, at least in terms of reliability, compared with their previous 
home-grown V-6 (sweet as it was to listen to). The Saab 9-3 has a 2.8 Liter 
turbo V-6 that is a very close relative to the US GM 3.6 Liter "high feature" 
The brand-new Opel Insignia will, in all likelihood, appear here as well, also 
branded as the above Pontiac etc.
Ford does the same thing, e.g. with the Fusion. Chrysler too, as long as 
Mercedes owned it, shared components across the pond. The Crossfire was, 
mechanically, a Mercedes SLK320, previous generation, including the German 
decals in the engine compartment. Now defunct, though. And the Chrysler 300 and 
Dodge Charger have Mercedes suspensions and transmissions.
And there are other examples, like the Aussie Holden Monaro, that was sold here 
as a Pontiac GTO, essentially imported and mostly unchanged.
The real problem is that American car buyers got mesmerized with large SUVs and 
gargantuan pickup trucks, the bigger and taller the better, so these good cars 
don't sell all that well. And now that the fashion is changing, American car 
buyers prefer to preen in cars like the Prius. In the past years, though, over 
50 percent of privately owned car sales were these monstrosities.
GM is looking for a bridge loan, in essence, to keep it solvent until credit 
loosens up a bit. Very simply, they are burning through their cash reserves too 
fast to make it to the beginning of next year, apparently. But I'm not so sure 
that even when loans become available, people will buy these US small-ish cars, 
even though now, they are very good.
> What's also galling is that although Ford and probably GM
> have pulled cash out of Europe for decades to prop up their
> US operations inefficiencies they expect the UK government
> to support a US company in a crisis.
Don't know about that. I hadn't seen that reported, but not saying it's not so.

Diesel emissions restrictions are getting tighter and tighter here, for 
particulates. So that's an issue. But better hybrids, direct injection gasoline 
engines, maybe even fuel cell cars, are coming or already available. The direct 
injection gasoline engines are now mostly for more power rather than better 
fuel economy, at least so far. My bet is that will change in short order.
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