Lutz sounds the alarm: GM puts RWD drive vehicles on hold

Bob Lutz is determined to rattle all the cages he can in order to be heard above roar of the CAFE and CO2 standards debate. First, he said that forcing automakers to raise CAFE standards 4-percent per year would raise the price of a new car by $5,000. That was in response to Bush administration proposals. Now he's putting car enthusiasts on notice, going on the record saying that GM's RWD models would be put on hold.

[Source: Chicago Tribune via Winding Road]

Telling the Chicago Tribune, "We've pushed the pause button. It's no longer full speed ahead," Lutz sounded the alarm. The new Camaro (due in 2008) and Impala sedan (2009) are meant to help GM out of its profit rut, but both are built on GM's large RWD platform and Lutz doesn't see a way to get 30% better gas mileage without a serious amount of investment (which would be passed on to consumers). Lutz declared it's too late to stop the Camaro, but said "anything after that is questionable," apparently including Camaro derivatives and the Impala sedan. Other cars that would be affected by the "pause" include a performance-oriented midsized Pontiac, the Buick Lucerne, a compact Cadillac, and high HP versions of the Solstice and Sky roadsters -- essentially, a full assortment of cars specifically meant to put GM back in the green.

All of the carmakers are waiting to see what the EPA does in response to the Supreme Court's ruling that the EPA can regulate CO2 standards (which they haven't done up to now), Lutz says GM will decide on its rear drive cars when the government settles the CO2 and CAFE debates.

Showing just how tense he is on the new emissions storm, Lutz said that "if we legislate CO2 from cars, why not legislate we take one less breath per minute since human release capricious amounts of CO2?" Even the new trio of compacts introduced at the show won't help -- Lutz saying "small-car mileage only counts toward CAFE if you build them here," and you can't build small cars here at a profit. . . . [The] domestic fleet is where GM needs help."

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