China Hearts Gas-Guzzlers
The DOT wants to raise CAFE standards even higher. To meet the new standards, automakers will have to downsize and lighten everything they offer. However, their expertise (and profit) is in large trucks/SUVs. Whatever will they do? Well, there's always China. The Associated Press reports China's nouveau riche auto buyers think size does count. They're going for gas guzzlers like large SUVs and luxobarges; they're the fastest-growing market segments in the People's Republic. And the automakers know it. The star of the GM display at the Beijing Auto Show is the Escalade, which they'll introduce to the Chinese market next year. Mercedes says China is the second-largest market for the S-class (the U.S. is the largest), R-class sales are up 110 percent in the first quarter and the M-, G- and GL-class sales are up 100 percent. Remind me again why we're raising our mileage standards to cut fuel consumption here? Oh yeah. We're giving up our gas guzzlers so the most polluted country in the world will have plenty government-subsidized fuel for theirs. Got it.