Power Hungry Follow-Up Comments

Kent, Kent, Kent,

I normally respect your opinion on most everything. However as a GM Powertrain employee I am in complete disagreement with your recent “power hungry” titled discussion.

I quote “At the root of the problem is the two US behemoth’s difficulty innovating and delivering clean engines that product the king of power North American drivers require, and doing it with reasonable cost.” Come on, I expected something more intelligent from you than this.

Is 300+ horsepower not enough for you available in some of our cars and utilities, is 400+ horsepower not enough for you in some of our cars and utilities, is 500+ horsepower (ZO6 Corvette) not enough horsepower for you.

Do flex85 fuel and coming hybrids not represent innovation and clean? Enough of the Europeans perfecting variable valve train, variable intake risers, etc. The “big three” have had those for years albeit not as common as some foreign vehicles. You think it doesn’t cost billions of dollars to develop an engine program? Think again.

Of course it’s not as much to develop a small engine. That’s not rocket science. Give credit where credit is due. The so called clean engines you refer to by foreign competition are typically way less horsepower than domestics and those that are comparable in horsepower are not necessarily any cleaner or efficient. The media is really negatively biased towards domestics and it gets tiresome.

Regards

Jeff Williamson

Response:

Jeff:

Glad you took time to read the article and thanks for responding. My comments on the domestic auto industry were not a potshot at the automobile business as much as a praising of the snowmobile industry for its ability to innovate economically and rapidly.

As a domestic truck owner myself I am concerned about the dropping stats for Big Three automobile sales. I’m also aware that Detroit is working triple time to get back on track with faster, less expensive and cleaner cars. There’s never been any doubt about GM, Ford and Chrysler’s ability to build engines with big horsepower – NASCAR is ample proof of this and cars like the Viper and Z01 Corvette, although beyond the price range of most buyers, are convincing arguments.

If Detroit is going to get back into a world leadership position, in the price ranges most automobile buyers are shopping, it is going to have to behave like a leader by building cars that generate more base horsepower in each class while still delivering EPA cleaness and low cost and I ‘m not talking about big honking V-8’s.

Take a look at the base V-6 and 4-cylinder engines from Nissan, Toyota, and Honda in the Altima, Camry and Accord and compare them to the base engines in the once hugely popular Impala (4-cylinder not available), currently strong selling Ford Fusion and the new Sebring. Although I like these cars and would consider each of them for myself, I get a wallet cramp when I look at the horsepower I’m paying for compared to the Japanese stuff. Then there’s the end-of-lease residual value blues that come into the picture, too.

Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t hate comments. I just think the domestic auto industry has to get better at competing with the Asian market and needs to do it fast! The snowmobile biz is an excellent model of how to get there.

Kent Lester

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