G.M. Will Close 4 Plants, May Sell "Hummer"

Gas prices are changing consumer behavior says G.M., forcing the manufacturer to slash production and close 4 plants as they make the shift toward more fuel efficient vehicles. They also announced that they may sell the “Hummer” brand.

From the New York Times

Mr. Wagoner said that rising gasoline prices had forced a “structural shift” by American consumers away from truck-based vehicles built by G.M.

“These prices are changing consumer behavior and changing it rapidly,” Mr. Wagoner said in announcing the cuts before G.M.’s centennial shareholders meeting in Wilmington, Del. “We don’t believe it’s a spike or a temporary shift. We believe it is, by and large, permanent.”

G.M. Closing 4 Plants in Shift From Trucks Toward Cars [NYT]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. mycroft2000 says:

    What kind of sucker would buy that brand at this point?

  2. Bladefist says:

    GM is selling hummers? When did that become legal

  3. parad0x360 says:

    Just had a hunch something bad would happen when I saw all those Hummer dealerships popup everywhere. There is no way they were selling enough to warrant 50 dealerships in a 30 mile area. In fact I havent seen an H2 in about a year and I dont think I have ever seen an H3.

    They should have stuck with H1′s. Aside from that maybe if they made reliable cars that were good on gas they wouldnt be having such a hard time competing.

  4. ClayS says:

    @Bladefist:
    I think it’s legal in Nevada.

  5. Breach says:

    GM is an umbrella for several car companies in fact.

    This does not surprise me at all. With these tank-like SUVs it must cost a fortune to drive them anywhere now, and gas will only get more expensive. Manufacturers are smart to start cutting their losses now on their gas guzzlers and focus on better renewable technology instead.

  6. AD8BC says:

    @ClayS: Not within Clark County.

  7. SkokieGuy says:

    Mr. Wagoner stated that this the possible sale of the Hummer line will also include the introduction of many new vehicles including the new sporty Teabag, the gas sipping Rimmer, the family friendly Menage’ mini-van and the Chaps pick-up (with an open backside).

  8. IphtashuFitz says:

    @mycroft2000: Probably somebody from Saudi Arabia or another oil-rich middle-eastern country.

  9. catcherintheeye says:

    @SkokieGuy: Ha I laughed.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    Seriously, if Hummer is sold off, what does GM have to offer the male middle-age, small-penis car buying demographic?

  11. Angryrider says:

    GM won’t make any more Hummers? Wah!

  12. mac-phisto says:

    why not just retool the brand & create a jeep wrangler competitor or better yet – a smart car that gets 70+ mpg. we’ll dub it the carbon credit & market it to hippies wanting to offset the emissions of their larger hummer brethren.

    & an h2 just pulled up outside my business…how ironic.

  13. @SkokieGuy: Corvette, Cadillac SLR, and a huge array of giant pickups!

  14. mac-phisto says:

    @SkokieGuy: corvette & camaro to name two.

  15. ohiomensch says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    Believe it or not, most of the Hummers I have seen around here are driven by women.

  16. Pro-Pain says:

    Poor clueless GM. Although ditching the Hummer brand is one of their smartest moves lately. Other than a rich idiot who could care less about the environment and other cars on the road who would actually BUY one of these trucks? Now, if GM wants to impress me bring back the Buick Grand National. There’s an idea! Or @ least that V-6 turbo motor. God I miss that car, it was the smoothest accelerating fastest car I ever owned.

  17. ClayS says:

    @mac-phisto:
    Right answer. Or any convertible.

  18. fordpickup says:

    @SkokieGuy: A Camaro? Or perhaps a Corvette? Just depends on how big and expensive you want your automotive phallus.

  19. friendlynerd says:

    I don’t mean to sound smug, but who couldn’t see this coming about 10 miles away? GM (actually all of Detroit) always seems to be operating on yesterday’s information.

  20. fordpickup says:

    Damn, my timing was off.

  21. VikingP77 says:

    I want Hummer to be in a museum of stupidity. Every time my sister and I see someone driving one we point and laugh…and we make sure they know who its aimed at!

  22. SkokieGuy says:

    Wow – that didn’t take long. Excellent work, Ash & Mac!

    But if we are have a serious intellectual debate, I would agree that Corvette is clearly the middle-aged, small-penis buyer, however

    Cadillac: Mommie didn’t love me enough and I’m borderline douchey. Bonus points if they add custom wheels from Rent-A-Center.

    Camaro: I’m proud of my GED and don’t my tattoos make me edgy? Bonues Points for Mullet and / or acid wash jeans

  23. friendlynerd says:

    @VikingP77:
    My friend always something to the effect of “sorry about your dick!”

  24. THINK_before_posting says:

    @SkokieGuy: ROFLMAO!!!! VERY good!

  25. TheDude06 says:

    My local paper (Janesville, one of the plant closures) has another headline on their homepage just near the GM plant closure notice. “new honda dealership set for east side”

  26. @SkokieGuy: I gotta defend the Vette, actually. It’s got a lot going for it–possibly the most bang-for-buck of any production car out there. But like driving a BMW, you have to ignore the massive stigma that comes with it.

  27. Bladefist says:

    I don’t believe in global warming, or that gas prices are going to be forever high. However, regardless, consumers are going for the more efficient cars, thus disrupting GM’s sales. This is capitalism and this is how you make change. Why they are closing 4 plants, I don’t know. I would re-focus those 4 plants on making more efficient cars.

    Regardless, it’s sad that this many people will lose their jobs.

  28. SkokieGuy says:

    I am a geniune car nut, and if we’re talking ‘why don’t they build’ cars, my two cents:

    Car makers build extreme ‘niche’ cars that appeal to a very small slice of the auto market, (think about the SSR convertible pick-up truck), Smart Car, etc.

    No one makes a large convertible capable of comfortably seating 5 people and no one makes a convertible with a large trunk (especially with the top down). About half of the convertibles out there are essentially two seaters.

    Who’s old enough to remember the big Buicks, Caddy’s, Old’s that you could pile 6 people and luggage and go for a road trip? How can a family take a Miata on vacation? How can even two people go on vacation in a Miata?

    I have to believe that a larger convertible would be a niche vehicle, it would appeal to a huge market segment. Imagine a Chrysler 300 convertible! Companies are actually custom building them because they are no vehicles that serve this market.

    Do automakers think that anyone who wants a convertible has no children, no family, no friends? I dare you to get a golf bag into the trunk of most hard-top convertibles with the top down.

    [images.google.com]

  29. Bladefist says:

    @Ash78: I agree. I like corvettes too. I hope someday to purchase a classic one. Driving one doesn’t so much speak to your penis size, as to, how you drive it, and your attitude.

    It is possible to drive an expensive powerful machine, without being a complete ass.

  30. SkokieGuy says:

    [2nd to last paragraph corrected] I have to believe that a larger convertible would NOT be a niche vehicle……..

    Oh for an ‘edit’ button! Sorry all!

  31. mdoublej says:

    I am still seeing brand new Navigators and Escalades, that surprises me.

  32. mac-phisto says:

    @SkokieGuy: i’d have to disagree on the camaro assessment – at least this generation. they’ve priced it completely out of range for that particular demographic.

    & speaking strictly from personal encounters, i would have to second ohiomensch‘s opinion. cadillac’s are mostly driven by women around here.

  33. SkokieGuy says:

    Seriously, with a 55 or 65 MPH speed limit, what is the point of a Vette unless you offroad race?

    In the Midwest, they are too low and powerful to drive in winter, and the horsepower lets you leap from the light faster, so what? Basically the benefit of a Vette or other high performance car is it ability to perform beyond the limits of lawful driving.

  34. Bladefist says:

    @mac-phisto: I dunno, I would venture to say if you pulled over all the Escalades, you would pretty much wipe out illegal drugs in America.

  35. Bladefist says:

    @SkokieGuy: I drive a lexus sc, and while i never get to go its fast speeds, it’s still fun how you get off the line, how you hug the turns. I dunno, it’s fun. In my college days my s

  36. Bladefist says:

    s10 would barely make it up a steep highway over 30 mph. so maybe thats why im concerned about speed now

  37. @Bladefist: If you pulled over all the Escalades here, you eliminate half of the criminals AND half of the attorneys to defend them.

  38. Trai_Dep says:

    OMG. They’re dumping Hummers? The Terrorists have won!

    (Yay, terror!!)

  39. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @SkokieGuy: Sebring and Solara both were decent size converts last I looked.

  40. tmed says:

    Hummer….like nothing

  41. Elcheecho says:

    @Bladefist: Who transports illegal drugs in Escalades? Where are you? Certainly no one here does that. Seems silly, in fact.

  42. mac-phisto says:

    @Bladefist: where i live, it’s all stepford, man – right down to the pocket dogs in their designer pet purse. i bet you’d still find a bag or two of quality cocaine in the console though, so i’m not necessarily disputing your argument.

  43. Bladefist says:

    @Elcheecho: @mac-phisto:

    Well being stereotypical of course, in the midwest, everyone who drives escalades is gansta y0. d4wg

  44. Bladefist says:

    @Elcheecho: Not transports, just, seems very drug sellerish

  45. SkokieGuy says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs: Nope. Family still has an 01 Sebring, decent trunk, but the new model has been downsized, and with the folding hardtop down, it eats up half the (new smaller) trunk.

    Either vehicle can hold two in back – snugly. The Solara is similar.

    We’d love to buy a new convertible and love the idea of a folding hardtop, but we’d be giving up 75% of the trunk space we now enjoy.

  46. Radoman says:

    I hate to say it, but good. It couldn’t happen to a more clueless company. GM should have started making more fuel efficient vehicles in the 70s. All American car companies should have. It’s stunningly ridiculous that fuel efficiency (among American cars at least) has gone down in recent years. I was just a kid, but I can’t be the only one who remembers the gas crisis of the 70s.

    If you love your country, I believe it’s your patriotic duty to use as little gas and oil as possible.

    If they would have concentrated on fuel efficiency 30 odd years ago, they wouldn’t be playing catch-up with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc. now.

    “Buy American” my butt. I’ll buy American when they stop giving our country away, dollar by dollar, to countries rich in oil for the sake of profit.

    To me, a big SUV is like an adjustable rate mortgage. Sure, maybe you can afford it now, but what about later? Gas was cheap, but that’s no guarantee that it will be in the future. (as evidenced by current drastic price increases)

    How can efficiency ever be thought of as undesirable? You are literally burning money by gassing up your vehicle. Why on earth would you want to burn more? The logic escapes me.

  47. SuffolkHouse says:

    To hell with all American car manufacturers. They are slaves to their corporate bonuses and their stock holders. They can’t think further out than three years. And their position on national health care stinks.

    I now buy Japanese cars out of protest. Screw GM!

  48. TechnoDestructo says:

    @parad0x360:

    Where do you live? I’m in AZ, good off-roading country, and I’ve seen a few H3s here.

    Hey, there’s potential in Hummer…keep the H3, ditch either the H1 or H2, and make some high-20s-MPG Suzuki-esque model. Or just rebadge a Suzuki.

    @Pro-Pain:

    Maybe the impression the H1 and H2 have made is just so strong that most people missed it, but the H3 is a completely different vehicle. It is based on the Colorado, the base model has the same 5 cylinder engine, it isn’t particularly expensive, and its fuel economy is comparable to its competitors (the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Jeep Wrangler). It isn’t a symbol of excess like the previous two models. It is what GM should have been doing with Hummer all along.

    But, hey, it may get dragged down with them just the same, I guess.

  49. Radoman says:

    I forgot. While registering voters, I did hear one semi-logical argument for fuel inefficiency. It went like this:

    “Republicans often get donations from big oil companies. High fuel prices allow more profit, hence bigger donations from oil companies to Republicans. By having high fuel prices, we automatically (indirectly) get Democrats to donate to the GOP. I LOVE high gas prices.”

    I kid you not. More than one person had an opinion similar to this. Whatever your political party, you must see the error in causing such a dependency for our country.

    Let’s get off oil. Electrical cars are the future. We already have the electrical power infrastructure and interface in place, we just need more efficient batteries. Mark my words. Electric cars are the future.

  50. Snarkysnake says:

    As usual with GM , this is about 5 years too late.

    When regular gas cracked the $2 level a few years back, the CEO of this fucked up company should have called all of his division chiefs in and laid down the small car /small truck law. Any GM worker bee that dragged his feet should have been shown the door. Now, it’s almost too late to re-engineer,redesign, market and build what they need to stay competitive.The Chevrolet dealership in my small town has row after row of massive,dreadnought-class trucks and SUV’s that haven’t moved in months.These people (and the workers losing their jobs) now have to pay for years of the asshats at the top of GM hearing what they wanted to hear,seeing what they wanted to see.It makes me sick that the world’s largest car company cannot design and build a decent small car that you would be proud to own.All of these assembly line workers are getting the heave ho,so why hasn’t Rick Wagoner been shown the door ?

    BTW- the money that they pissed away on the Hummer could have built a dandy Corolla/Sentra fighter…

  51. warf0x0r says:

    To GM,

    *cough clears throat*

    “F*cking DUH!!!!!”

  52. Bladefist says:

    @Radoman: I don’t like your quote. I don’t think its true. It’s one of those things where you expect us to assume you are right on several parts, thus, validating the quote. Show me some proof.

    Other then that, going electric, or whatever else, would be fantastic. But lets let the people get tired of gas, and move that direction through capitalism. If gas keeps going up, you’ll get your wish sooner then you think.

    If oil companies were smart, they would forecast this, bite the bullet, and eat some of their margin. In the end its the speculators who are causing all of this.

    The problem is, electric cars, require, electricity. Which just means you transfer the problem to another area. You already have energy crisis in some cities. Guess what the speculators will do there? Same as if its water (hydrogen). You just have to keep transferring the problems to cheaper energy, until you can final dial into the sun.

  53. Radoman says:

    @Bladefist: Show you proof of what??

  54. Bladefist says:

    @Radoman: The flow of money between big oil and republicans, and not democrats as well.

  55. IraLibo says:

    @Snarkysnake
    “It makes me sick that the world’s largest car company cannot design and
    build a decent small car that you would be proud to own.”

    Check out the Saturn line, one of the few GM brands that is actually selling
    well right now.

  56. Radoman says:

    I didn’t say it was fact, thus it requires no proof. It was just an opinion of some of the Republican folks that I registered to vote.

  57. Bladefist says:

    @Radoman: Okay. I just wanted you to clarify that. I guess you meant republicans in office. I haven’t received any donations. Nor have I heard of anyone getting donations. As the liberal media would LOVE if they did, and I haven’t heard a peep out of them about that. So, I just wanted to be on the same page.

  58. xnihilx says:

    Fads last five to seven years. Even without the increase in gas prices this whole “my suv’s *ahem* is bigger than your suv’s *ahem*” was bound to die out around now regardless. I never understood GM and the other American automakers wonder why they’ve been strugling over the last five years. Three years ago I was saying that they should’ve been making more sedans and going through the production proces so they would be ready for the current market and all I saw on the Chevy lot on my way to work was row after row of unsold trucks while the Aveo’s were flying off the lot. If these companies are really too blind to comprehend that then maybe they deserve to go under. Granted, I hate seeing American jobs be quashed and American traditions die off but shame on you American Car Inudstry for being stupid stupid stupid. I’m not an economist just an adverage person with a little bit of knowledge and if I could see this coming four years ago then so could they.

  59. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Radoman: GM should have started making more fuel efficient vehicles in the 70s.

    They did start making more fuel efficient cars in the 70s, just as Ford, AMC, and Chrysler were doing. Then gas got cheap again, and they got lazy. The early and mid-80s vehicles with a new generation of computerized fuel-injection made imports even more fuel efficient while GM and Ford (Chrysler waited a few years to go ga-ga over pickups and SUVs) turned back the clock, installing the new, more efficient engines in ever heavier and uglier vehicles with crappy build quality.

    I hope Waggoner is right here, and that GM has finally changed it’s tune.

  60. Birki says:

    I read recently that GM is going to “redirect” their marketing strategy to emphasize fuel-efficiency and they’ve (just)realized they have been pimping the SUVs for too long at the expense of their smaller, more efficient gas- sipping vehicles. Also, their executives are supposed to talk up their hybrid inititives to the media. It’s fun to watch them scramble to throw up some commercials touting the Cavalier and other small cars and proclaiming themselves as suddenly concerned about fuel-efficency. How clueless to you have to be to work at GM coporate and not see this change in consumer buying habits coming? SUV sales have been slipping for awhile now.

  61. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Snarkysnake: To be fair, over the past fifteen years, GM (and Ford and Chrysler) provided a lot of what Americans think they really want: a ‘big’, safe car that rides comfortably on our many straight highways, and which has ample extra power that’s almost never used, but always paid for (in terms of poor mileage). T

    The perfect vehicle, as far as most Americans were concerned was the SUV. Didn’t corner well, didn’t crash well, and they got poor mileage, but they satisfied all of the requirements above.

    I blame the American consumer for not thinking through the logical conclusions of their priorities. Sure, the car companies are easy to slag on, but to a degree, they provide what we want, even if their manufacturing priorities (SUVs are _really_ cheap to build, so profits were higher on them) help to define those consumer priorities.

  62. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Hummers are going off the market? I guess a Winnebago is my only other option to having a dangerously heavy office on wheels.

  63. spinachdip says:

    @SuffolkHouse: No no no no! It’s the damn unions and the pensions for retired workers who won’t fucking die!

    Actually, retiree benefits DO hold back the Big 3, but that’s more a symptom of their instiutional lack of foresight and a smokescreen for their core inefficiency.

  64. grayskies says:

    all hummer jokes aside, this sucks for towns where the plants were in place. that’s a lot of people out of work.

  65. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Bladefist: The flow of money between big oil and republicans, and not democrats as well.

    I suppose it’s just a coincidence that the records of VP Cheney’s energy task force meetings in the summer of 2001 with the titans of the energy industries just happened to be classified nearly as tightly as the designs for a nuclear warhead?

    Come on, man. I’m from near Houston, and regardless of the actual money given to either party, the oil patch, from the worker bee to the Corporate Jet parked at Hobby Airport is solid Republican, through and through.

  66. Bladefist says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: sigh. More “facts”

    Maybe the big oil execs are republican, but that doesn’t mean they are donating huge amounts. A lot of CEOs donate to parties. That doesn’t mean there is anything close to remotely illegal going on. And it happens to both parties. Look up Bill Gates. He donates a ton of money.

    Also, if big oil was going to pay off congress people, wouldn’t they pay off democrats? The democrats are trying to regulate them, winfall taxes, all kinds of stuff. Who would you donate to?

  67. CaptZ says:

    Ok,

    So GM is going to shutter a few plants. But the kicker is that the plant that makes the Escalade, the Tahoe, Yukon and Suburban, is open for business and will not be shuttered anytime soon. They make roughly 800 of these various models everyday, Mon-Fri.
    They are still selling and GM makes the biggest markup on these SUV’s. Has anyone seen the Escalade Platinum? They start at roughly $75k. GM has no intentions of cutting back and the rich in the US are still buying these overpriced luxury gas guzzling POS.

    I am thankful that they are not shuttering the plant in Arlington, TX as this would effect my job.

    Not that I work for GM, but I work for a company that works closely and depends on them.

    GM should take the time and retool the plants that are closing and make SOMETHING, anything that is small and gets good mileage, even if it is a throwback to the Geo Metro.

  68. B says:

    @SkokieGuy: The Corvette.

  69. jurisenpai says:

    @parad0x360: I saw a Hummer in the gym parking lot yesterday: a bright yellow H2 with a plate reading “BIGG BIRD.” Ugh.

    Also, there is a white H2 around town with a “protect the endangered butterflies” vanity plate that reads “HUMMIE.” I flip that one off every time I see it. And yes, it is driven by a middle-aged white woman.

  70. battra92 says:

    Here’s hoping the Volt is awesome and helps turn GM around.

  71. Radoman says:

    @Bladefist: You wanted me to clarify? I don’t understand. I said in the very next paragraph that it was an “opinion”. Seems pretty clear to me that I didn’t ever state it was “fact”. Did you read my comment completely? You thought I meant oil companies were donating money to individual Republicans and not giving political donations to those in office? Why would you think that?

    This wasn’t the “liberal media”. (I love that ongoing conservative myth. Did you see the ABC Democratic debate???) This was Republican voters I was registering to vote, telling me why they don’t mind high gas prices, plain and simple.

    Bush, Cheney, McCain, etc, are all believed to be friends with big oil, even by their own party members. I don’t have proof of this, nor do I seek it. If their own party accepts it as true, I’m willing to believe that it’s not too far off from the truth. The right even promotes itself as friendlier to big business.

    I can see by your elephant that you are a Republican. Before you label me “liberal”, let me say that I am not a member of any political party, nor will I ever be. I believe that people fall victim to the “yay team” mentality too often. They are unable, or unwilling, to admit the shortcomings of their party for fear of hurting “the party”. All this at the cost of true patriotism, which is, doing what’s best for the country.

    Combine this “team spirit” with a mentally incompetent leader incapable of admitting a mistake like GWB, and you are left with today’s seriously diminished Republican party. I honestly wish you the best in rebuilding your party from the ashes GWB has left you with. Good luck.

  72. battra92 says:

    @Radoman: Let’s get off oil. Electrical cars are the future. We already have the electrical power infrastructure and interface in place, we just need more efficient batteries. Mark my words. Electric cars are the future.

    I love the electric car idea but we’ll definitely need more plants and a better grid.

  73. jjgiddes says:

    OK, actual fact time:

    [www.opensecrets.org]

    Lobbying dollars from the oil and gas industries fell to Republicans by (it seems) somewhere between a factor of 3 and 4. This has leveled off somewhat — I’d guess — because the industry is hedging its bets on the prospect of Democratic pickups in an election year (and the year’s only half over). However, the history is there — as a rule, the industry is solidly in the R column.

    So “they donated to both” is misleading.

  74. Bladefist says:

    @Radoman: No I know you didn’t say it was fact, but I still responded. Not everyone says the world “fact” when they’re are telling facts.

    The donations to individuals was a joke.

    It is an liberal media. Yes I watched the debate. George used to be apart of Bill Clintons campaign. And just because Gibson asked tough questions doesn’t make him a republican, it makes him smart. Why you afraid of Obama gettined asked tough questions?

    But thats it for politics for me in this thread. There are a lot of good republicans. Most republicans, like democrats, are the votes, not the people in office. And to judge a whole party based on a few people is absurd. Political parties are groups of people with similar ideas about the direction of a country. Thats it. No conspiracy theories.

    ————–End politics for me———

  75. Bladefist says:

    sorry for all the typos.

  76. failurate says:

    @Bladefist: I think our capitalism is broken. Our economy is trapped in collusion and monopoly and is supported by our oligarchy government. Innovation is the enemy.

  77. UESC says:

    you reap what you sow GM.

    maybe it’s time to go get what’s left of the EV1′s that you crushed???

    If you haven’t seen it, go rent “who killed the electric car?” It’s a great documentary about GM’s experiment electric cars that they crushed in the desert for no reason whatsoever.

  78. ironchef says:

    Remember the glory hole days when Bush and the GOP congress had their way????

    [www.taxpayer.net]

  79. dualityshift says:

    @SkokieGuy: The Corvette?

  80. ironchef says:

    @UESC: The whole movie is on Youtube for free.

  81. quagmire0 says:

    After buying our Prius about a year and a half ago, I was worried that gas prices would go down and I wouldn’t really realize return on my investment. After paying $48 yesterday to fill up my HONDA CIVIC, I’m not too worried anymore.

    (p.s. – when I bought the Civic, it cost me $15 to fill up)

  82. Orv says:

    @Bladefist: The main problem with the debate, as I saw it, was the moderator was trying too hard to “score points.” It’s not a debate moderator’s job to try to catch candidates out with “gotcha” questions. They’re supposed to be trying to draw out what the candidates’ policy differences are.

  83. Triterion says:

    LOL, the picture for this article is titled “sheeeeit.jpg”!

  84. yankerosa says:

    I always thought those who bought hummers were an elite force of middle aged men called the douche bag patrol.

  85. warf0x0r says:

    @quagmire0: My most expensive tank for my civic was 40.47 and I went 447 miles on 11 gallons of gas.

  86. ARP says:

    @Orv: @Bladefist: Off topic. GM failed to implement a long term strategy and failed to pay attention to geopolitical events. SUV’s had high margins and they tried milk every last drop. The problem is that they developed tunnel vision and now are at least a few years behind in development.

    Electric cars need to improve their distance and recharge time (and price). It will be a few years, but it will happen. A good start would be to give the tax credits that go to oil companies to technology start ups or research alternate fuels. Hybrids are a interim measure. Power plants produce Power much more efficiently than thousands of internal combustion engines given the same amount of fuel. Also since production is concentrated, pollution control measures are that much more effective. Finally, there are more clean electricity options (wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, hydroelectric, etc.) that is much more mature. The grid won’t be taxed that heavily because power plants produce at a constant level. Night is when load is the least, but when most people would charge their cars. So, the power companies can charge people and they don’t have to do much more in terms of production.

  87. bobacus says:

    PFFFFT. Gm had the ability to avoid this. They had the Electric car about 10years ago and decided to buy hummer and make SUVs. They could have been ahead of the curve. But now? Theya re gonna go out of business. They cant get a electric car on the road till 2011. They will be gone by then. BYE BYE GM. You sold out to the oil companies. Now you pay the price.

  88. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    I’d say 75% of the US (geographically speaking) could support an abundance of electrical vehicles. However, many urban areas and quite a few suburbs had grids that were dangerously close to maximum and *safe* output when it comes to electricity.

    ONE energy source is not the answer. Just like your portfolio…you need to diversify. We need to push off of oil (slowly and steadily) and put more into wind, geothermal, and ‘clean’ coal. It is in the oil companies interests to do this…because in fourty some odd years if they have nothing but drips of oil to offer the US…they’ll be gone for good.

  89. Anonymous says:

    @warf0x0r: which civic? CRX HF? Civic VX?

  90. Anonymous says:

    @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: Not to mention modern nuclear ‘breeder’ reactors that can reuse the waste material to generate more power.

  91. “truck”-based? LOL!

  92. darksunfox says:

    If any of these American car companies were at all revolutionary or creative, they could easily come up with vehicles that would satisfy all the consumer’s needs. It’s not like Civics or Corollas or a Camry’s are particularly innovative. They’re based on the same platforms that have been around for years, just fine tuned to what the market wants – good safety ratings, good gas mileage, and enough sex appeal to not make you want to hang yourself with your tie after your drive to work. Either make something like that or come up with something creative – either way you could save your company.

  93. spinachdip says:

    @darksunfox: Camrys and Corollas might not be innovative cars, but the process that got them from conception to delivery is innovative. If you haven’t caught it, you might be interested in a recent New Yorker article that talks about the Toyota Production System: [www.newyorker.com]

  94. Orv says:

    @ConsumerAdvocacy1010: Not to mention that a high percentage of people in urban areas don’t have their own garage, and hence have no place to plug the thing in!

  95. bearymore says:

    Finally GM (and Ford) get their comeuppance for foisting SUV’s on the American public. They were the perfect marketing triumph – cheap to make, able to leverage outdated off-the-shelf technologies, and able to command ridiculously inflated prices. The companies weren’t answering demand, but creating it when they starting pushing these pieces of c**p. The term SUV itself was coined by an advertising agency. Then, they were so busy milking this cash cow, they didn’t bother developing successor products.

    Management stupidity and greed at its most malevolent.

  96. HeartBurnKid says:

    @Bladefist: So let’s hold you to the same standard. You asked others to prove that big oil donates more to Republicans than Democrats. You then alleged that there’s a liberal media bias.

    Time for you to put your money where your mouth is. Prove the bias.

  97. spinachdip says:

    @bearymore: But you’re cool with crossovers, right? The hauling power of a compact + turning radius of an SUV!

  98. spinachdip says:

    @HeartBurnKid: I think it’s cute when people say “liberal media” unironically. It’s a harmless myth to get them excited, like Hannukah Harry.

  99. Trai_Dep says:

    @Bladefist: “The liberal media would LOVE [if it turned out that Big Oil favored Republicans over Democrats], and I haven’t heard a peep … about that.”

    Jeezus. So. Easy.

    Big Oil Contrib by Pol Party
    Year DEM% GOP%
    2008 27% 73%
    2006 18% 82%
    2004 19% 80%
    2002 20% 80%
    2000 21% 78%
    [www.opensecrets.org]

    Yeah, I guess tossing $80 of $100 to the Republicans doesn’t indicate they’re favoring them or anything. They must just like their flag lapel pins.
    Pesky things facts.

  100. u1itn0w2day says:

    Same problems over a quarter century later-unbelievable.

    I remember the gas shortages of the late 70s early 80s as should the auto executives.In the 70s & 80s not only did the American gas guzzler industry suffer but they FAILED miserably to adapt.Especially at the factory level where the ability to transition from one product to another IS STILL A PROBLEM.

    The American Auto Industry had 30 years to adapt and learn more versatile methods of manufacturing but no they start pumping out the minivans then SUVs and now luxary SUVs like there was no end in sight-the same exact thing they did in late 70s with the big v-8s/sedans.

    It’s not about conservation or car pooling it’s about changing what you actually drive and what you use for fuel.And it’s up to the auto industry to provide what we buy/drive.Isn’t it presumptuous to think the American economy can sustain fuel costs on low mpg cars let alone the price of the cars(just the vehicle prices alone would make me leary about long term production)I’m still trying to figure the mini van craze less than a decade after fuel shortages.

    Yes the oil prices have affected everything,which is exactly why you don’t tool your factories just for gas guzzlers.No body learned from history-several times over.At least the old timers remember rationing from WWII.I remember odd even license plate gas rationing from the 80s.How come the car executives don’t.

  101. u1itn0w2day says:

    Trai_Dep spelled it out-politcs-what else is new.Modern oil companies seem to have the power of royalty.

    Urban legend question-always heard there was 50 mpg V-8 patent bought up by big oil.I think the movie Tucker touched on it.Heard this technology was available around WWII.Any truth to the legend.

    Also heard the Germans used compressed coal for fuel in WWII?

  102. Snarkysnake says:

    @darksunfox:

    The lesson on how to build a great small caris being carried out IN GM’S OWN PLANTS,and has been since the mid 1980′s.

    I bought one of the first Chevy Nova’s built at the Fremont plant that GM had shut down in 1983.It was a lightly reworked Toyota Corolla that had Chevy badges on it. Over 150,000 trouble free miles later,I gave it to my brother and he put almost 100K on it before it was totaled.Toyota taught Chevy how to build cars the right way the first time at that plant and has been cranking them out ever since.The plant may as well be in Las Vegas,because what happens there stays there.GM cars built at other facilities still have a ways to go to catch up.

    I have always wondered why GM couldn’t learn from that venture with Toyota. My dealer’s mechanic gave me a hint early on when I was having a routine oil change/tire rotation done on my Nova… He explained that they would rather sell the Cavalier built and designed by GM because they knew that they would make some money off of repairs both from GM (warranty work) and off the customer (when it fell apart 20 minutes after the warranty expired). he said he hoped that Chevy would drop the Nova because they rarely came back to the shop. A couple of model years later,they got their wish. THAT is the thinking that has helped push GM up against the wall today.

  103. u1itn0w2day says:

    I don’t think the quality was a bad as people were led to believe although the Japanese quality eventually surpassed the US.I think the Japanes got their foot in the door by having the higher MPG cars at the right time and in the begining that it was probably a result of them designing for a smaller oriental person with less stuff to cart around.

    I think the Japanese quality didn’t surpass the US until they designed cars with the US in mind.But there entry into the US market was nothing but good timing.

  104. Lodlaiden says:

    I hear everyone crying a river and no one swapping the vehicle their driving…

    I bought a bike in March. It gets 50+mpg. It costs me $7 a week to fill it. I still have a truck ( a small Ranger) that i get 25mpg on. My fun car is sitting in the garage. It comes out for special occassions, not my 20 min commute to work.

    If you don’t like where things are then you better fix it yourself. Bush isn’t going to be around much longer and won’t be cutting you a check next year so you can party on Memorial Day again.

  105. spinachdip says:

    @Snarkysnake: The reason GM lags behind Toyota is that even if GM copies everything Toyota does today, Toyota will keep innovating and stay ahead of the curve. That’s why they’re happy to let other companies look at how they work. The Toyota Production System isn’t so much a system as it is a philosophy. You can’t copy philosophy – you have to adopt it.

    Also, for fun, look up “W. Edwards Deming” on Google. Japan’s embrace of Deming’s 14 principles is a major reason for its post-WWII growth, while American managers’ rejection of them is pretty much why so many American corporations have become craptacular and the reason we have the Consumerist.

  106. jojobreckinridge says:

    I recently did some research on edmunds for my next vehicle purchase, and I sorted the consumer reviews from best to worst to see what popped up. Was quite shocked to see Hummer at the top of the list, though I found the disparity between the editor and owner reviews to be rather interesting (Editors: 5; Owners: 8.9).

    Whereas most highly rated vehicles gain merit on the basis of reliability, fuel efficiency, safety, etc., the Hummer reviews can be summed up in a single sentence “gets lots of attention”. Here’s an excerpt from one such review:

    Review
    The driving is great and since the car is yellow everybody has to look when I come. Some sports cars always try racing me since I have to Borla exhaust on. If you hear my car coming from far away you will think it’s a muscle car. The car is great and it still hasn’t given me any problems. I have a neighbor who has 3 of these Hummers and none of them have given him any problems
    Favorite Features
    The body. It’s big and bulky. Something you wouldn’t want to mess with

    Sweet Jesus. They let Igor use the computer again.

  107. flipx says:

    Few points a Toyota Tundra get the same gas mileage as a Hummer. Toyota has sold more units than GM so how do you think the quality is now in a Toyota as our salesman said more recalls than there used to be (junk in their standards)and what ever happened to the thinking that for every gallon of gas bought you were supporting terrorism? So the more gas used the higher the body count.

  108. Bladefist says:

    @spinachdip: @HeartBurnKid:

    I don’t even know where to start. I instantly got a headache when I read your comments. Did you see the SNL skits? Everyone knows all the media is in the tank for Obama. Either you’re not watching, or you’re so far in the tank you cant see it. I’m not going to go find youtube links for you. I’m just not going to do it. I would sooner prove to you that the sun is hot before I did this. If you dont see it, I pity your intelligence. It’s the same with fox news. Everyone sees the conservative bias. I’m sure you do, because it suits you.

    @Trai_Dep: Thats an over simplification of what the points I was driving home. I’m not saying those aren’t facts, but they are a blip on the radar of what is going on. Like the two gentlemen above, I’m not going to be able to convince you, especially you, and I think you like living in wonderland anyway. I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you.

  109. spinachdip says:

    @Bladefist: Media is in the tank for Obama? Is that why they’re seriously asking if Obama is a stealth muslim? And why they’re willing to overlook the fact that Straight Talk Express hasn’t been running straight for some time?

    Think about this logically – why would the media skew liberal? It answers to its corporate bosses, who in turn answer to shareholders. Remember back in 2004, when Sumner Redstone talked about how he’d prefer to vote for Kerry, but because he runs a media company, he was going to vote for Bush?

    I’ll see your “SNL skits” (which one? the “Mom Jeans” commercial or the “Iran So Far Away” digital short?) and raise you:
    * The hoo coodanode reaction to the McLellan “revelations”, which turned out to be stuff most reasonable people suspected to be true
    * Cheerleading of the War on Iraq
    * A CNN producer, during the worst of the violence in Iraq, asking his writers to find a way to lead with something other than Iraq
    * An “expert panel” almost always includes two conservatives and a moderate
    * No serious questioning of McCain being against the Bush tax cuts before he was for the Bush tax cuts, and being for amnesty before he was against amnesty.
    * The Howard Dean “scream”, which ABC made to look like he was shouting to a silent audience
    * Maureen Dowd making up the “who among us” Kerry quote, and the rest of the media running with it

    I could keep going, but the point is, while I can see a reasonable person arguing that there isn’t a conservative media bias, but the liberal bias is pretty much dead. Sure, you can cite instances where the media might favor a liberal position, but today, any industry-wide leftist bent among has been effectively neutered, in no small parts to a concerted effort by the GOP and the conservative intelligentsia (yes, righties have book learn’d folks too!). From Nixon on, Republican campaigns have been adept at controlling the message and framing their positions in such a way, by connecting their positions to God, Country and Mom, and putting them in simple, easy-to-digest ways (and Democrats have been horrible in this regard). Meanwhile, the rise of the think tanks since the early 90s have allowed conservatives to spin and to feed the media without getting politicians’ hands dirty.

    If you’re seriously interested in the subject, you might enjoy “Rich Media Poor Democracy” by Robert McChesney. It came out in 1999, but it still holds up well, I think.

  110. Trai_Dep says:

    @Bladefist: Dude, you said that Big Oil doesn’t favor Republicans over Dems. Everyone had a good chuckle and you repeated it. If it wasn’t an important issue, you wouldn’t have denied it so stridently. Repeatedly.
    Then I posted facts proving the opposite.

    So, you’re wrong. Factually.

    Now you’re moving the goalposts, saying even if it IS true, it’s meaningless. That’s irrational. A lost argument.
    Do you see why few take discussions seriously with people that think in such a fashion? There’s no “there” there. Just a random collection of GOP talking points thrown against the wall, that, when proven factually wrong, are replaced with what the definition of “is” is. Or more non-facts.
    Jeezus, when I (or people of my ilk (shudder)) are proven wrong, we shrug and say, “Good point. I’ll have to rethink this.” Why can’t you do the same?

  111. Trai_Dep says:

    @jojobreckinridge: I recall reading a big marketing survey that unequivocally found that SUV drivers were overly concerned about what other people thought of them, were more insecure and were vastly more likely to believe that buying things could make real changes in who they were as people.
    Unfortunately, the survey didn’t include a question polling their penis size (cough – or shortcomings thereof).

  112. Kounji says:

    Well christ. I could have told them that back in 2004. No one is going to want a hummer in a few years

  113. XTC46 says:

    @SkokieGuy: a corvette :)

  114. aikoto says:

    This is simple. GM does bad business, they start to stumble and may close because of it. Nuff said.

    Too bad too. I used to be a fan.

  115. Bladefist says:

    @spinachdip: The SNL skits of a democrat debate. If you didn’t see those, look on youtube, pretty funny.

    Look, I watch the nightly news, and I don’t have cable, so I cant watch Fox News, and I sit there, and I eventually turn the TV off because all I here is liberal opinion in the news. Online its even worse, with the bloggers, digg, huffingtonpost, NYT. It’s overwhelming. So, I guess we are at a stalemate. I’m not going off people that I hear, I’m going off experience of watching TV, and reading online news journals.

    I know everyone here associates corporate titans with republican, and I wish that were the case, but I heard a report the other day on Limbaugh that CEO’s supporting democrat nominees is way up, and a cause for concern for the GOP. True or not? Don’t know. I would think CEOs would be republican. Due to less government, less regulation, thus giving them more control of their business (for better or worse).

    @Trai_Dep: I do admit when I’m wrong, but I think we are having communication issues. The money that is donated to a party, is recorded by the FEC. So its public info. Right? So there is really no argument there. I was speaking more to comments that made it sound like republicans sold out to big oil, and there was money traded under the table, and things such as that. Campaign contributions, party contributions, are all public information, and therefor, it seems to reason with me, they aren’t tied to any ‘you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours”

    If I wasn’t so disgusted with the GOP, I would donate them money to. Not for them to do anything differently, just to give them more resources to win. I have used the FEC to look up old CEO’s I worked for, and they all donate. Because they are all rich. I’m strictly talking about corrupt under the table business. If that is in conflict with what I said earlier, then listen to what im saying, not what I Said.

  116. wallapuctus says:

    All I know is in GTA4 the Prius handles quite nicely but doesn’t have the weight or the pickup to escape from cops. The old muscle cars seem like they have wheels made of butter and the pickup of a schoolbus, and the Hummers aren’t much better.

    What’s my point? Everyone should steal a Turismo.

  117. jjgiddes says:

    If that is in conflict with what I said earlier, then listen to what im saying, not what I Said.

    I think I’m on the point of finding out where the communication issues in this debate are coming from.

    That and the reliance on Limbaugh for nuanced political opinion.

  118. Bladefist says:

    @jjgiddes: Reliance? I listen to him, I watch network tv news, I read drudge, which links to NYT, huffington post. When I used to have cable, I watched Keith Olbermann.

    I am an objectionable person who gets my information from both sides. Rush Limbaugh is a brilliant man. He is more informed, then you’ll ever be. He forgets more then 1 day then you ever knew. Disagree with him? Fine. But if you want to know history of politics in this country, you better listen up.

  119. tinmanx says:

    @warf0x0r: I wish I could put 11 gallons in my FIT. :(

  120. Trai_Dep says:

    @Bladefist: Sigh. Again, too easy.

    Radoman at 03:25 PM
    @Bladefist: Show you proof of what??

    Bladefist at 03:26 PM
    @Radoman: The flow of money between big oil and republicans, and not democrats as well.

    Bladefist at 03:43 PM
    Maybe the big oil execs are republican, but that doesn’t mean they are donating huge amounts.

    You’re nailed, bro. It’s rather sad so see how little objectivity impacts your world-view. Get some self-respect, won’t you?

    Lemme get this straight: you rely on SNL and Mr Hillbilly Heroin as news sources? Baby Jesus on fire, that’s so messed up.
    Why reasonable people snicker at Mr Child-sex-tours is that would he cite the Oil Exec contributions I listed previously, hysterically citing a 30% rise (!!) in contribs to Dems. Factually correct but wrong:
    Decades of support, the Bush/Cheney/McCain ties, the Task Force shenanigans and the blatant fact that Big Oil still gives 70% of its contributions to the GOP all point to quid pro quo. We’re locked into policies/wars that will favor Big Oil for generations. That’s the “quo”.

    Everyone sees Big Oil supporting the GOP more except you. We provide facts, you provide SNL skits. That doesn’t make you a rebel. That makes you wrong.

  121. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: The SNL skits were not my facts. I told you I wasn’t going to find the facts. But SNL wouldn’t do a skit about it, if what I was saying wasn’t true.

    My last sentence to you was:
    “If that is in conflict with what I said earlier, then listen to what im saying, not what I Said.”

    And you still dont understand what I’m trying to say. I know my communication skills are terrible, but wow, you are just not wanting to understand me. And based on your comments, that I see everywhere, you’re just a prick. Stop responding to me.

  122. “before G.M.’s centennial shareholders meeting”

    Aha, so they haven’t had a shareholders meeting since 1908. That explains so much!

  123. mac-phisto says:

    @wallapuctus: awesome! however, i’m going to have to disagree about the turismo. have you driven a super gt or sabre gt yet? both beat the hell out of the turismo imho. i’ve got the turning on the sabre gt down to a science (, RT). i’m also partial to the banshee strictly for nostalgia (i’ve been they’ve been a favorite of mine for the past decade).

    incidentally, check out this page for relevant stats –> [www.gta4.net]

  124. mac-phisto says:

    @mac-phisto: haha! stupid html. sabre gt turn = ←LS + feather RT, A+ →LS, RT

  125. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @mycroft2000:

    It’s always interesting how the Hummer gets such a bad rap when the MPG is roughly the same as a Tahoe/Suburban..

  126. Upsilon says:

    @ohiomensch: Huh. Maybe they think their penises are too small?