• May 6th 2010 at 2:07PM
  • 47
Sometimes, little more than a quote is needed to basically tell the entire story. This is one of those times. The quote below comes from Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche and his words are poignant, shocking and targeted directly at the thirsty automotive market in China which is growing at an extremely rapid rate. Zetsche openly voiced his thoughts during a round table event in Beijing stating:
If you look at the population and the growth here, you quickly reach the conclusion that it would be unthinkable to provide these people with traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. There just isn't enough oil for that. So there has to be personal transportation that is not dependent on oil and is CO2-free to the greatest possible extent. In this regard, BYD is clearly a front runner.
Wow! It's one of those take it and deal with it type of quotes. This is how it is and this is exactly what needs to be done, if you don't like it, tough. There's one problem we have with his words though. Why is China singled out here? Couldn't another country be forced to go without oil rather than China? And who are "these people"? Is Zetsche referring to the Chinese population? If so, he better hope that "those people" don't get wind of his words.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Natalie Maynor - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      April: "Mom, can I have some lemonade?"
      Mom: "No, sweety."
      April: "That's not fair, you gave Johnny lemonade."
      Mom: "Johnny asked first, so he got the lemonade."
      April: "But now it's my turn to have lemonade!"
      Mom: "Life isn't fair, kid."

      Replace lemonade->oil, April->China, Johnny->USA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        April: Hey, Johnny . . . you owe me a ton of money!
        Johnny: Uh . . . I can't pay you back right now . . . is there something I can do?
        April: You can start by giving me that lemonade.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hahahaha spec, so true
        • 5 Years Ago
        April: I'l just go take Johnny's lemonade because I'm stronger than him.
        Replace lemonade with oil (or any other scarce resource) and that's how wars start.
        • 5 Years Ago
        April: Hey, Johnny . . . give me that lemonade or I'll make you pay me the money you owe me!
        Johnny: If you do that, I'll stop buying the stuff you make.
        April: But, but, I won't have any money to buy lemonade from ANYONE!
        Johnny: Life sucks sometimes, doesn't it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Peak Oil has been here since we used oil to power our lives 100yrs ago, it's now hitting us in the face. China is how America was 100 yrs ago, hungry, young population, thinking outside the box. We made the assembly line & the Euros laughed at our quality of products we produced, they stuck their noses up at us. Well in less than 50 yrs ( 1950s ) we become the biggest economic power on the planet. Now look at the current age and we laugh at the Chinese products, well give them time & watch just like how we were the power in the fossil fueled powered engines, they will become the power in the EV engines. While China is gearing up for a non fossil world of transportation, we're busy fighting a war for a product that will be of no meaning 50 years from now.... just like the steam engine..this has all happened before..
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't forget the US had an advantage because of cheap oil and the opportunity to develop virgin agricultural resources. European and US manufactured goods are about the same. The Germans generally make better goods than the US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oil has dropped over 5 dollars per barell in the last 2 days. Don't worry about it, the problem will solve itself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That price drop is due to rise of the dollar against the euro. It is temporary.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Umm... There isn't enough oil for anyone. Nobody, gets the choice. EV's will just be better in every aspect. No worries.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Zetsche's comments are accurate: China has OVER ONE BILLION PEOPLE - in other words, one in five human beings on planet earth are Chinese - and there is barely enough oil for the current population of drivers - it should be noted that, until recently, the majority of Chinese RODE BICYCLES - but, convinced that cars were necessary for "progress", the number of bicycle riders has decreased - not good. So, it's not a matter of "singling out" China, but rather, if you have 1.2 BILLION BODIES, it will not be possible to provide oil for every one of those bodies.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So very astute of Chrysler's CEO, especially since Chrysler does nothing but produce ICE vehicles. Say one thing and do another. BYD is concentrating on ICE cars right now because that is where the money is at. As long as people are dumb enough to buy ICE cars they will be sold to them. To qualify my statement I have purchase ICE cars my whole life, until now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "So very astute of Chrysler's CEO..."

        I'm sure you are aware that Daimler and Chrysler have parted ways. The Italians are running Chrysler now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      China has a planned economy. They are planning to use coal powered electricity as the energy source of choice for transportation, because they have to import much of their oil, which is detrimental to their economy now, and could be worse in the future. I have to say, however, that the demise of the oil industry by the "usual suspects" has been greatly exxagerated. Does it make sense to you that the oil companies have no plans to keep the world addicted to their product? Not to me. The oil companies are planning to have enough oil to maximize their profits to perpetuity. Sometimes you have to think a little before you swallow all the crap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Look David, I have been around a while and I have seen how the whole thing operates. We are at the dawn of a new age where oil is expensive enough to stimulate development of other sources of energy. The harder oil is to come by, the quicker the transition will be. They are just about out of easy oil, but they will never be out of oil. It's never been an environmental issue. It's economics. Our magnificent young people in our universities are developing the new technologies that will take us into the new age if government doesn't get in the way. Necessity is in fact the mother of invention. The transition may not be particularly orderly, but it has to happen, and it will be profit driven. Crying in the wilderness doesn't help. Preparing ourselves by easing our need for oil does. It can be as simple as driving a Prius, or installing solar panels on our roofs. Although it is the socially responsible thing to do, it will not be done for that reason. it will be done because it is the economically sensible thing to do. That is how it works.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am sorry to hear that your health is so poor that you do not expect to survive more than a couple of years! ;-)
        Serious observers ranging from the DOE, the US armed forces, Barclays Bank, Goldman Sachs and even the Saudi oil Minister are predicting supply shortfalls, although they may dress up the language a bit by calling it demand shortfalls, but then at $200/barrel or whatever oil demand does fall.
        So I would be curious to know on what studies you base your optimism?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are right. The days of oil are numbered, but it is likely a much bigger number than you realize. I have been saying all along the cost of oil exploration and recovery is going up because we have already recovered the easy stuff. As the cost of recovery rises, the world will go to cheaper sources of energy. We won't go to the alternate sources of energy because we want to do the right thing, we will do it because it will be cheaper. Right now oil still has a slight cost advantage over all, but alternative energy sources are dropping in cost as the cost of oil recovery rises. Do you think there is an oil shortage? There are no waiting lines anywhere I go to fuel up. "Peak oil" is a scare tactic used for political reasons. Peak oil will be irrelevant from an economic standpoint. We have ample reserves of nat gas, coal, sunshine and wind, and the time will come when oil usage will be minor, but not in my lifetime.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Harlan, I think you're attributing too much intelligence and forethought to a group of people who are fat dumb and happy right now with no end in sight. They are sitting on the worlds largest oil reserves and no matter what we do we'll have to keep buying their oil for a long time.
        Even if the supply gets smaller, they can just charge more for the oil they do produce so they don't have to worry about creating some plan to keep us hooked. And they have at least another 20 years of multi Trillion dollar per year income to use that money to fund whatever comes next. No hurry for them regardless so that doesn't mean they think their oil will last forever. At this point, a guaranteed cash flow of where it is today or even higher for the next 20 years puts them in the drivers seat by sheer momentum.

        The billion or so ICE cars on the road today will not go anywhere overnight no matter what we want. Don't give them more credit than they deserve, they're just another group of rich complacent people right now who happen to have us all by the balls.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You seem misinformed about a lot of things. China is building a lot of wind & solar electricity. And they built the 3 Gorges damn. And they are building lots of nukes too. So the meme of "China just builds coal plants" is wrong. Especially since China actually imports coal . . . the import coal from Australia.

        I can't even follow your weird conspiracy theory on oil. The facts are that oil is a finite resource and we've been using it like crazy. We went from digging 60 feet down in Pennsylvania in 1860 to drilling offshore down 8000 feet to the seabed and then drilling another 20,000 feet just to get oil. If we could still get oil just 60 feet beneath the surface on dry land, we would. You can still do that in some places in the world, but very few. And for the last 20+ years or so, we have been using 3 barrels of oil for every one barrel we find.

        The days of oil are numbered. They'll still be using oil after I die . . . but they will be using less oil then than we do now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      He has a point..

      But coming from a German, it sounds a little hinkey.. ha ha ha
      • 5 Years Ago
      China's auto sales has already passed the US on an annual basis and it's growing at a 40% clip. Now the world economy is picking up again. This is a foregone conclusion except that it won't just hit China, it will hit all of us.

      Get over it and start dealing with it. Time to roll out alternatives before we have severe shocks to our economies.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The severe shock to China's economy will come in about 9 mos. You read it
        here first. Speculation has driven prices exponentially above value. Value, like
        water, must reach its true level. The markets can't sustain this bubble. What
        it means to the rest of the world remains to be experienced.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only thing bad about EVs in China is their heavy coal electricity (and probably a lot of out dated plants and little to no regulation). Although, I suppose the lack of regulations for cars/mopeds too may be even worse (just seeing the smog and the black smoke from cars in Beijing tells me this). However, I think the smaller NEV three wheeler types of vehicles are having healthy growth in China and that should dramatically increase the efficiency (and reduce the emissions).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Some of their newer coal power plants (or retrofitted ones) are actually pretty clean though since the exhaust is recycled off to extract more power while cleaning the waste products.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "There's one problem we have with his words though. Why is China singled out here?"

      Come on, don't be so inflammatory, the answer to your question is in his quote...

      "If you look at the population and the growth here..."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep, I think the author was reading into the text. I saw nothing incendiary in
        that quote at all; and if he were speaking German, I'd like to see the German

        Most people in China can get by on electric bicycles, even for lading. Have
        you seen how high they can pile goods on a bicycle? They also use 3
        wheeled 'trucks' and motorized 'trikes' and other odd transport. It works
        quite well for them. As far as large cars, most people can't afford them.
        Most of them will be sold to the rich magnates of Hangzhou and Hong
        Kong and to commercial interests and political honchos --- the great
        majority of them will probably be shipped here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But why is it that THEY have to get less oil? Why don't WE have to give up some? That is the point. It doesn't matter where the growth is happening . . . there is no "We got here first" rule.

        The only rule is the golden rule. The one with the gold makes the rules.

        BTW, have you seen our trade deficit with China? Have you seen how much we owe them in T-Bills?
        • 5 Years Ago

        Uh, I think "what works quite well for them" is "what they have to put up with to get by". I bet you $10 that if every Chinese had the money to buy a car like every American does, there'd be 3 cars per household just like in the US. Except for a population 3x the size.

        And with the Chinese government doing everything it can to lift the populace out of poverty and into factory jobs, you can bet that exactly that will happen (and, apparently, is happening) in the near future.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's pretty clear that China will have a tough time over the next few years in getting enough energy of all sorts to power very fast growth:
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, I wouldn't want to drive there without US safety requirements.

        Even in the unlikely event SUVs start decreasing in size or start disappearing in the US, we're not going to lighten our safety standards. There are still pickup trucks, delivery vehicles of all shapes and sizes, heavy purpose trucks, construction vehicles and big rigs to kill us.

        Safety equipment adds weight, but that won't change. Other things that add weight are the various modern ammenities, including high-powered audio/video/gaming systems with beefier amplifiers and speakers. That's adds weight and electrical load on the alternator (or battery pack). Soundproofing adds weight, as well, particularly since OEMs use cheap, thick and heavy insulations rather than a more advanced product like Dynamat that has superior weight-to-insulation ratios as well as vibration dampening characteristics.

        Using something lighter than steel for body panels and more advanced dampening products will save hundreds of pounds per vehicle without sacrificing an ounce of strength, crash-worthiness or quality driving experience. The same is true of using turbo ICE technologies to downsize the engine - less weight and less fuel needed for comparable power and torque output.

        Once the energy density improves on EVs, then their weight can be dropped as well, particularly when using the same types of improvements I noted above - lighter body panels and more efficient dampening materials.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And that's why they're getting super serious about developing renewable energy!

        I do think the EV revolution will happen out there. For one, they don't tack 700lbs of safety on to every vehicle they produce. Does cheapen down things.. less batteries, smaller motor.. :)

      • 5 Years Ago
      Given what Obama is doing - inevitable raising of taxes, higher energy costs, etc. why do you think EVs are the way to go?

      It is insane.

      I nor most of my average working class American friends have the cash to buy a car for $35k that you can't even drive to Florida and back in!

      EVs are stupid. For the same or less money you can own a gas car, drive any where in it and not burden our electric grid further.

      IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW, environmentalist wackos won't let us build new power plants. Thus in most parts of the country by the end of this year we will be maxed out - full capacity.

      Add EVs to it plus cap n trade which WILL raise energy prices and you are going to end up spending not just more for your vehicle, but more to operate it - at 120 miles at a charge.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think he intended to single out China. I think by "these people" he just mean "all people". I really don't think he intended to be so "F$%K you , China" . . . he is just pointing that the growth in the East is really rapid and that we will not have enough oil to satisfy all of the aspiring car drivers in the world. AKA . . . Peak Oil.

      And China is at least going to get a step up . . . they'll start getting cars although they'll be high-mileage cars, HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs.

      It is the Western world that is going to have a step down. We won't be able to afford to drive 12MPG SUVs. Those days are over. Like China, we will be forced to move to high-mileage cars, HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs.

      And it is going to be a wrenching change forced on a lot of bitter Americans who will try to pin the blame on environmentalists for not letting us drill, baby, drill everywhere. The fact is, even if drilled EVERYWHERE they'd like to drill, it would barely change the needle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also, add india to the equation.

        Both countries have about 5x the population of the united states.

        Sucks for them, because we've been motoring with regularity since the 40's.. now they finally get cars en masse right about the time we start running out of oil..

        America's excess does need to be culled. Absolutely!

        I wonder where China is getting their oil from.. Saudi Arabia? eek..
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I wonder where China is getting their oil from.. Saudi Arabia? eek..."

        "The Middle East remains the largest source of China’s oil imports, although African countries also contribute a significant amount to China’s oil imports. According to FACTS Global Energy, China imported 3.6 million bbl/d of crude oil in 2008, of which approximately 1.8 million bbl/d (50 percent) came from the Middle East, 1.1 million bbl/d (30 percent) from Africa, 101,000 bbl/d (3 percent) from the Asia-Pacific region, and 603,000 bbl/d (17 percent) came from other countries. A similar pattern is evident in import data from the first five months of 2009 (see the pie charts below for greater detail). In 2008, Saudi Arabia and Angola were China’s two largest sources of oil imports, together accounting for over one-third of China’s total crude oil imports."

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