• Sep 19, 2006
Earlier this month, an editorial writer for the Boston Globe wrote a piece entitled the 'Folly of automakers' in which he lambastes Detroit's big-two-point-five, and specifically GM, for producing too many large SUVs and generally ignoring the trend towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

GM, not content with being denigrated in public, wrote a retort, which was not published in the Boston Globe, due to their policy of not printing op-ed responses. However, the Miami Herald, who also published Derrick Jackson's column on the automakers, did allow a portion of GM's response to be published in their 'letters to the editor' section.

As is often the case, the General wanted their side of the argument voiced in its entirety, and so, GM's Fast Lane Blog enters from stage left.

General Motors' veep of Global Communications, Steven Harris, took Jackson's column to task, pointing out that reading four columns about the auto industry does not an analyst make and going so far as to list off all of GM's accomplishments towards reducing fuel consumption and America's reliance on foreign oil. Most of his points are well made, although their claim of making more 30-MPG vehicles than any other manufacturer can be debated, as real world experience has shown that the EPA's estimates are "optimistic."

Our interest is mainly centered on the argument and how each party makes their case. Your thoughts, as always, are welcomed.

[Source: Boston Globe, GM Fast Lane Blog]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      hamud,

      i smile every time i look at my japanese/american-made acura and driving it to work each day makes my drive a whole lot more pleasant... and by the way, people are obviously not looking for a sporty, fun ride when they buy a prius - they are usually buying it for the perks (carpool lane usage, fuel consumption). people want different things from their cars and that reflects the car market.

      and you sincerely don't want a reliable, well made means of transportation? wow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris are miserable cars to drive. They are uncomfortable and slow. It seems obvious to me that these cars were not designed for people who commute on the highway or drive long distances. It's strange how much people will compromise. If the media said driving a turd sandwich was cool people would probably do it and brag about it aswell.

      If all the other cars disappeared off the face of the Earth and I was left to choose from either the Fit or the Yaris, I'd probably slit my wrists.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mike (times two?),

      your comment about interior quality is fucking hilarious! i'd love to see you back up that information somehow, although i doubt that's possible anyhow considering how silly it is. and yes, i've been in plenty of wrecking yards in my day, although i wasn't intent on comparing the interiors of domestic
      vs. foreign cars while i was there (guess you were?). Too bad the interior of foreign cars start off 10x better (the Fit's interior, for example, looks LUXURIOUS when compared to a Cobalt).

      and just to answer your question about the keyless ignition system and how it works...in the rare circumstance that the keyless entry battery were to be dead at midnight when getting in the car at the airport (cause that is SOOO common and i love your example) the keyfob has a key inside for just that occasion.

      "how about when you lose the keyless entry? can I go online and buy a replacement for $30, like I can for a lowly domestic?"

      if you lose the keyless ignition, well, you're just a fucking IDIOT. i just love these examples, like i said.

      keep 'em coming.

      anyway, my point with that was not that the keyless
      ignition system is available on a foreign car (the versa) and not domestics (it is available on the cadillac STS, for example) but just to disprove your idea that tiny cars such as the Fit and the Versa are 'shitboxes' simply because of their size.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I guess people in north-america are overrating about the gas prices and car's consumption. Not that this is not important, but hey, we pay more than 2,2 Reals (local currency) for each liter of gasoline and the medium income here is way lower than yours in north-america.

      I love american cars, all of them, mainly from the big 2.5 and i would have no problem in getting a car with personality, power and a GM, Ford or Chrysler logo in the front grille instead of a low consumption, no personality, no fun to drive, Toyota. What's the point on getting around in a car that does 40 MPG if you don't enjoy the ride??? That would be my case with a Prius. At the end of the month i would have a little more money on my pocket and a well made, reliable mean of transportation in my garage. But, sincerely? I don't want a well made and reliable mean of transportation, i want an automobile, a car that makes me smille when i look at it, that makes me proud of my purschasing and not a car that makes me remember that when i fill up the tank i save some money.

      Only my two cents.
      • 8 Years Ago
      AZMike (#13), My point was that Chrsler tends to get a free pass (and the key word in your retort is will have...by 2007) Ford and GM already have these vehicles out. People seem to like bashing GM and Ford, Toyota lately for their recalls. People take no responsibility, you want gas prices to come down? Ride your bike, take public transportation, quit waitiing for someone else to design a "perfect" machine, because physics 101 says that it is impossible.
      • 8 Years Ago
      OMG mike, you sometimes get over 20 MPG (!!) in your big ass truck! congratulations!

      i'd rather have any of those 'shitboxes' than your Ram. i bet i could fill up twice (or maybe three times?) with what it costs you to fill up your tank once...

      anyway, i call BS on your "I always look at life with everything on a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD" comment. funniest thing i've heard all day, considering your penchant to add comments about how wonderful all your 83,393 American cars are while calling the fit and the versa "shitboxes". Personally I think the interior finish of the Fit is ten times better than your Ram...and funny how the Versa (one of the 'shitboxes', remember?) can be had with a keyless ignition system (intelligent key system) and bluetooth while this isn't even available on your RAM...

      it just hurts to see the truth, doesn't it?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think it is amusing that people always pick on Ford and GM. Does the big 0.5 (aka - Chrysler) even have a hybrid, E85, hydrogen car? This is just writing an argumentative piece for publicity when the writer has a complete lack of imagination and/or ability.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Derrick Jackson is probably the worst of the Globe columnists, and I've been reading that editorial page for years now. Take a look at his previous columns (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/jackson/)
      and you will see a trend of arguments that make absolutely no sense, exaggerations, labels, poor fact checking and so on.

      I'm generally pretty much a moderate person politically, and will generally listen to anyone of any political bent, but Derrick really needs to look deeper into what he's saying. But of course in today's age of black/white, left/right, right/wrong with no gray areas, you don't need to bother with that because you are always preaching to your personal choir and they adore you for it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      8. The Boston Globe...what country are they from? It cant be american...because:
      Their editorial policy is totally anti-american in all ways. Political or consumer issues such as american cars it doesnt matter to them... I believe they even pushed for that anti-american presidential candidate: John F(ing)Kerry...but he is French/Jewish isnt he?
      Rant away.

      Posted at 9:49AM on Sep 19th 2006 by bob h. 0 stars

      Bob,
      right on! Why in the world would ANYONE give a bleep about what some stiff @ the Boston Globe writes, while looking through his bi-focal glasses, puffing on a pipe? For that matter, any-other (or at least 90%) of the Liberal high-brow editorials in most of the newspapers in this country? You know, the "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude. Talking down to their readers as if they were put on this earth to teach all of us who are dumber than them the lessons of life. Does John Kerry come to mind anyone?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've driven the Prius and it's got better handling characteristics than most give it credit for. But that's besides the point - the issue here is whether GM should be responding to critics who are only pointing out the obvious (that it missed the big neon signs as far back as the late 90s, that indicated fuel efficiency would only b/c more important as time went on), or whether they should just take their lumps and get on with the business of straightening their mess out.

      Personally, I vote for the latter.

      Let me say for the record that I think GM is making some of the best cars & trucks in it's history. I think they are on the right track specifically with the Equinox, the Cobalt, the HHR, the Malibu Maxx, the Colorado, and the Avalanche. All are winning designs (inside AND out) at good price points. A few years ago I would never have thought I'd ever see such good cars from the General. The rest of their line-up needs some work to 'un-plain' them, but considering how far behind the curve Ford is in that department, it's a good base for GM to move forward from.

      However, the sad but true fact is that GM - like Ford - let the ball drop when it came to engineering. It is particularly glaring that GM has almost no diesels in their line-up, except for big trucks. These big bore gas hogs are another area where they took the easy way out. The Japanese & Europeans are doing wonders with smaller displacements and turbo/supercharging - why are we still living in the 60s?? Style-wise, I have no problem with 'retro', but 'cutting edge' should always be under the sheetmetal.

      Also lacking are GM's relatively antiquated transmissions. Frankly, 6speed autos AND manuals (very important for keeping fuel economy numbers up) are the bare minimum of what's acceptable these days, in every car/truck, and shouldn't be something a company like GM needs to outsource, or partner, or take forever to accomplish. If they want to get ambitious, they should develop a CVT too, but enough of the current slushboxes that are perennially a gear or two short.

      Last I would say that all automakers should be working on a crash weight-loss program for their vehicles, no exceptions. Cars & trucks today are way too heavy considering how much materials technology is available.

      Those are my 'Quick Three' suggestions for both the domestics. Stop wasting time and money on American Idol celebrity ads and 'answering the critics' ... your situation is too dire for needless excersices. Get to work.
      • 8 Years Ago
      4. hamud,

      i smile every time i look at my japanese/american-made acura and driving it to work each day makes my drive a whole lot more pleasant... and by the way, people are obviously not looking for a sporty, fun ride when they buy a prius - they are usually buying it for the perks (carpool lane usage, fuel consumption). people want different things from their cars and that reflects the car market.

      and you sincerely don't want a reliable, well made means of transportation? wow.

      Posted at 8:50AM on Sep 19th 2006 by Rob 0 stars
      -------------------------------------------------------
      Do you want our approval? Is it congratulations you want?
      Have you ever made an independent dedision to purchase a car based on its looks and merits as opposed to what your neighbors and co-workers think about whatyou drive?
      Or what the media tells you will be "best for you"?
      I say nope--I'll answer for you.

      Only import drivers feel the need to continuously remind others about what kind of cars they drive and "justify" their purchases.
      Your cars are no more reliable than others. Please try to contribute something to these boards. Look for validation elsewhere.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rob,

      it's interesting that you focus on comparing a little teeny car to a full size pickup. my truck is hauling a trailer weighing over 5,000 pounds all the time (and over 100,000 miles per year); which of these high-mileage tin boxes will do that?

      as for interior quality, let's look down the road about five years. if you don't believe me, go look in a wrecking yard. the interior of any domestic car will still be in unfaded, unripped condition; be prepared to find an import interior to be in tatters, and all that "quality plastic" crumbling.

      as for the other things you mention, they really aren't of any significance to me. by the way, how does that keyless ignition system work when you find that your keyless entry battery is dead at midnight when you get in your car at the airport? how about when you lose the keyless entry? can I go online and buy a replacement for $30, like I can for a lowly domestic?

      technology is not always progress.

      Mike

      Mike
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