If the American manufacturers had gone years ago to the government and said, ‘Listen, we have a huge project’ – electric cars, for instance, the government could at least have studied it. But they never tried.
Take the Chevrolet Volt (extended-range electric vehicle launched in 2010). Without government help, at least in the developmental stages in which certain economies of scale must be reached, it is too expensive. It’s just another example of the American industry being too late. They have missed many trends.
Because the sign of an innovative automaker is entanglement with the government… just ask Blain’s compatriots (and former colleagues) at Renault! Oh, and incidentally, Detroit did approach the government for help developing green cars back in the 1990s and managed to waste a cool billion dollars building three prototypes (see: PNGV). But there I go taking Blain at his word… when he’s already walking back his nonsensical comments.
Wards Auto was kind enough to give Monsieur Blain the opportunity to mitigate his unnecessarily inflammatory comments. Unsurprisingly, however, Blain’s walk-back is just as incomprehensible as his initial comments:
In a new auto world, with so many different power technologies (electric, hybrid, classical) things are getting more and more complex, and we must understand each auto world.
Every government, every nation has its own automotive culture. What I wanted to highlight is that manufacturers, with different technologies, gas prices, taxes, government incentives are all reducing, in a drastic way, (carbon-dioxide) emissions. That is definitely not what I explained. Some started sooner, some later, but they drive all in the same direction.
Apparently Blain’s volte-face came after the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents American-based automakers, entered “discussions” with Blain. Apparently it wasn’t hard to convince Blain that he was talking nonsense, but it seems to have been much more difficult to get him to actually start making sense. Meanwhile, Americans are now free to continue ignoring OICA as they have for decades.