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Recent Dog-and-Pony Show Lacks Horsepower

Charles Krome
by Charles Krome
March 11, 2009

Well, Detroit was blessed by a recent visit from the president's automotive task force ... I wonder if they flew in? But seriously folks, I suppose it was a good thing that they showed up, especially as it was the first time actually in Detroit for some of them. While here, task force members took a few pre-production Volts for a spin, visited berus' Warren truck plant and chatted up UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. Excuse me, though, if I'm not too excited about all this. The thing is, the task force came and went, and. about a day later, announced it was putting its new 4.5-liter Duramax diesel engine on hold. Of course, the General 'remains optimistic' that the engine 'may be a viable option in its future portfolio.' Now, this may seem like just another drop in a bucket full of bad news, but it's also an example of a disturbing trend at GM and Chrysler. Reading the press release about the engine, it occurred to me that the Debt-ridden Duo haven't really shown they can do anything to become more viable. All they keep showing us is what they won't do. GM happens to make some world-class diesel engines, and this Duramax would have taken things to ye olde next level. It would have featured a groundbreaking new design that delivered a full range of diesel benefits, including higher gas mileage, starting in the General's 2010 . Who knows, it could have become the first step GM's push to increase its diesel offerings in the U.S. After all, the folks in Europe continue to rely on diesel technology as a way to build high-mpg cars and trucks, and some of their OEMs, like and , are trying to do the same in the U.S. But, again, this is something that GM is not going to do. And I have to ask myself, if I were a member of Obama's task force, which would be more impressive: getting a chance to see this new wonder engine or finding out GM isn't going to be making it? I mean, I'm sure everybody enjoyed their little Volt voyages, but haven't those pre-production things been around for months? And exactly what new improvements did the task force see at the Warren plant? When the Motor City Meltdown began in earnest last year, I thought we were in for some huge changes to the auto industry. But I also thought I'd eventually get to see some positive changes. Well, I'm still waiting '” and so is Obama's task force.


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