GM's ADD is A Gas

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm s add is a gas

Even Autoblog knows something's not right when GM announces a $15.5b second quarter hit. ("We're no industry analysts and we don't have any insights into the General's balance sheet, but a $15.5B Q2 loss and four strait [sic] quarters of red ink doesn't sound good at all.") Well, you don't have to be an industry analyst to know that GM's Attention Deficiency Disorder accounts for a large part of its misery. Representing our Best and Brightest armchair analysis semi-pro squad, I'd like to point out that Larry Burns, GM Veep R&D and planning (yes planning), does his employer no favors when he steps on the GM Fastlane Blog soapbox and declares "GM believes there is no single technology solution to displace petroleum." So compressed natural gas it is! "Natural gas, is enticing because it is abundant, affordable and relatively clean." Only… "We are not ready to commit to a future production plan." So, Larry, how do we get this party started? "If natural gas is to make a measurable impact, many vehicles need to use it, and it must be readily available. Collaboration with the energy industry and governments is key. Governments will likely need to provide incentives to encourage early adoption of the technology and to jump-start the fueling infrastructure." Will these guys EVER learn? Nope.

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4 of 16 comments
  • Josh34 Josh34 on Aug 02, 2008

    It must be depressing working as a car designer at GM. Management BS must be suppressing many bright ideas; if those with bright ideas haven't already left in frustration. Oh well they can work at Toyota, Honda, or Nissan where ideas are of interest to management.

  • Needforspeed007 Needforspeed007 on Aug 02, 2008

    The Duke does have a point there, and GM has been working on other alternitives technology to like any other manufacturer. And natural gas is good, but the current Civic model comes with alot of bagage in terms of the home unit. And yeah, the mild hybrids arent that great, but there is work on diesels and more and more biofuel is being produced to at a much cheaper price aswell. But GM is far from having ADD though.

  • Josh34 Josh34 on Aug 02, 2008

    If GM had seriously been working on more fuel efficient vehicles their current situation wouldn't be so difficult. While GM was busy counting their profits from large SUV sales, Honda and Toyota were improving their engines and developing hybrids that are cost effective. Those of us who just wanted improved cars, watched as the big 3 failed to produce them. VVT and other engine advancements evolved over many years at Honda and Toyota. Suddenly a few years ago the big 3 struggled to develop their first versions of such engines.

  • Brettc Brettc on Aug 04, 2008

    My dad bought an '87 Chevy Celebrity with the 2.8 engine, and had an aftermarket natural gas conversion done on it. At the time, the Government of Ontario and the federal Government were offering subsidies to have this done. The car was already a POS before the conversion was done. It liked to eat fuses, and the Chevy dealer could never figure out the electrical problems. At one time they told my dad "you must have gone over a bump" when one of the fuses burned out. Geniuses, I tell ya! The car never ran right after the conversion was done, and when it was running on natural gas, the range was greatly reduced compared to running on gasoline. The thing stalled all the time and wouldn't restart until we switched it back to the gas tank. There used to be a bunch of NGV ("natural gas for vehicles") fueling stations at local gas stations, but it seems they're very hard to find now in Southern Ontario. So in my opinion, natural gas is not a good solution, especially when fueling infrastructure that once existed is now gone.