The average cost for Detroit's Big Three automakers to meet the proposed fuel efficiency targets of 31.6 miles per gallon by 2015 has been pegged at $30.6 billion. In contrast, the average cost for the Japanese automakers sits at less than half that amount at "only" $14.85 billion. These numbers come courtesy of a recent study by Global Insight. In a real shocker, General Motors alone is expected to pay out $15 billion alone. Why the disparity? Simple: the Japanese brands already offer more fuel efficient models. With that reasoning, it seems unlikely that the U.S. companies will get much sympathy from the buying public.
Global Insight also predicts that many new technologies which are just beginning to make a dent in sales today will make up a huger percentage of sales by 2015. These new developments include direct injection, turbocharging and diesel engines. Hybrids, the current darling of the fuel efficient crowd, will continue to gain market share, especially as more new models are rolled out which feature the hybrid drivetrain as an option or as standard equipment.

There is a glimmer of hope out there for automakers which are finding it tough to move vehicles in today's troubled climate. Global Insight predicts that there will be a pent-up demand for the replacement of aging models which owners have clung to in the face of high gas prices and a poor U.S. economy sometime around the year 2015.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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