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  1. #1
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Exclamation Pontiac Is Dead; Is The Corvette Next?

    So, what do you think? Could it happen?

    Pontiac Is Dead; Is The Corvette Next?

    What Detroit Will Build (and Won't) In Its Next Chapter
    by Rex Roy | AOL Autos
    Posted: 29 April 2009


    In remarks made in March about the auto industry, President Obama said, "We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish." This is positive news for many, but it may actually signal the end of the consumer-driven American automotive industry.

    Depending on how active the Obama administration chooses to be regarding the operation of General Motors and Chrysler (the government already forced out GM CEO Rick Wagoner), bureaucrats may restrict the types of cars these two manufacturers sell in the post bail out future. Government leaders such as Nancy Pelosi have already voiced the opinion that Americans should drive smaller, more efficient vehicles. Conditions on the bail out funds may be the vehicle used to force GM and Chrysler to build only what Washington wants them to build. Additionally, changing emissions regulations will force Ford Motor Company and other producers to follow suit.

    More information will surface, so it is too soon to accurately predict what GM and Chrysler may look like when they emerge from the Obama team's restructuring program. However, one can assess and offer educated conjecture about how President Obama's actions may affect the cars arriving in showrooms of the future.

    Cleaner Cars

    Bureaucrats want Detroit to build cleaner cars. Because facts don't generally make good sound bites, politicians and regulators do not highlight the fact that every new car and light truck in sold in the U.S. run nearly emissions free once the engines have warmed to operating temperature. Current regulations already mandate exhaust emissions so clean that in U.S. cities experiencing heavy pollution days (think L.A. in August), the gases leaving a new passenger vehicle's tailpipe are cleaner than the air entering the engine.

    So what do politicians really mean when they talk about "cleaner cars?" It's all about carbon dioxide emissions. Environmentalists have convinced enough members of enough different government bodies that C02 emissions must come down to combat alleged global climate change. President Obama believes that man-made C02 is dangerous.

    Avoiding ongoing arguments regarding man-made C02 emissions and its impact on climate change (whether it is major or non-existent), because of a Supreme Court ruling during the Bush administration, C02 can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. New regulations are expected to begin impacting vehicles as soon as the 2011 model year.

    With current technology, the only way to lower C02 emissions is for vehicles to consume less carbon-based fuel; gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, liquid propane, and coal-generated electricity.

    More Fuel-Efficient Cars

    Currently, government mileage targets are 35 mpg by 2020. The Obama administration may change this goal and increase the mpg even further. In general, meeting the "35" rule mandates small, lightweight vehicles with small, highly-efficient engines.

    Expect more use of high-strength, light-weight steels such as boron. Ford already uses boron in its 2009 F-Series pickup to save weight while maintaining crash protection capabilities. More exotic and expensive materials such as carbon fiber will expand from use on exotic sports cars to more mainstream applications.

    Regarding engines, manufacturers will attain more efficiency from smaller internal combustion engines. Technologies that contribute to added mileage include direct injection, variable valve timing, and auto-stop engines. High-performance models will utilize forced-induction such as turbocharging or supercharging. Diesel engines could also see expanded use (now that clean-burning diesels are available), but further tightening of C02 emissions could rule out this choice altogether.

    The availability of hybrid powertrains will also expand considerably to include more vehicles and classes of vehicle. Some manufacturers have already announced long-range plans that show hybrid editions of every model offered. Types of hybrids will also expand beyond the current mild-hybrid (characterized by the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid), single-mode hybrids (Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Hybrid), and dual-mode hybrids (GM full-size trucks and SUVs). These hybrid types are parallel hybrid designs where both the gasoline engine and electric motors directly power the wheels. The upcoming Chevrolet Volt is a series hybrid; the Volt's electric motor provides acceleration while its on-board gasoline engine is used only to charge the batteries. Plus-in charging for hybrids is also just over the horizon.

    The common trait with these new C02-reducing techniques is higher cost. Tomorrow's more efficient cars and trucks will be more expensive.

    Disappearing Cars

    In a move largely seen as giving in to Washington, General Motors recently closed it High Performance Vehicles division. The HPV team was largely responsible for GM's most exciting cars including the Cadillac CTS-V and the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

    Bureaucrats have little use for performance-oriented V-8 powered cars, so don't expect cars like the Chevy Corvette, Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Camaro SS, or Dodge Challenger R/T to survive long term. Their survival is no longer tied to customer demand, but to the demands of the government that now controls the product portfolios and development dollars at GM and Chrysler. Recently, GM announced it was killing its Pontiac brand, a concept that seemed to define performance all by itself some decades ago. Now that brand is gone.

    Ford Motor Company will also likely be affected. New emissions regulations may keep future V-8 editions of the Mustang in the barn.

    According to John Wolkonowicz, Senior Analyst at HIS Global Insight, "With Obama's plan, everything changes in the domestic automotive world. The government will be able to dictate what General Motors and Chrysler can sell. Washington believes it knows what Americans should drive, and this bail out gives them the means to dramatically change the market." Wolkonowicz sees the potential for a significant narrowing of choice in the automotive market. He says, "With the power given them by the bail out, the government can simply mandate certain classes of cars and trucks out of existence, regardless of whether they are popular with American drivers or not."

    After studying the government's response to GM's survival plan, Wolkonowicz believes that the only way for GM to secure government funds will be to become even smaller than they had proposed. The analyst expects GM to shrink to just two divisions, Cadillac and Chevrolet. Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Saturn, and HUMMER will all cease to exist.

    While GM will soldier on in its smaller form, Wolkonowicz doesn't expect Chrysler to survive in its current form, even with news that Fiat has agreed to a broad partnership. If Wolkonowicz is wrong, the Fiat connection would provide Chrysler with needed small car vehicle platforms, but the fate of vehicles such as the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 doesn't look good.
    Who Is At The Wheel?

    This new age of government oversight in the automotive industry may progress using one of two strategies. The first path continues the current practice of setting regulations and then allowing manufacturers to meet those regulations. This allows manufacturers a high degree of flexibility in how they react while developing vehicles consumers want to drive.

    However, the essential takeover of GM and Chrysler signals a more active role that will likely dramatically change the way the automakers do business. This second scenario removes the consumer from the auto manufacturing equation. Customer demand is directly superseded by political interest in ecology and energy policy. In other words, manufacturers will only sell vehicles the government allows them to sell.

    Even with ever-present worries of fuel prices, some 70-percent of the orders for Chevrolet's all-new 2010 Camaro are for the V-8 edition that produces over 400 horsepower (while achieving up to 25 mpg on the highway). Clearly, American drivers want what they want. The question is whether that matches what the U.S. government will want Detroit to build.
    Rob Loszewski, Owner & Site Administrator
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    "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." - Sun Tzu

    1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 , 350 Stock ZF 6-speed. Stock Bright Red

  2. #2
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Corvette's Future Uncertain

    April 29, 2009 by Morgan Phelps
    Associated Content
    Business Review


    General Motors' decision to end production of the Pontiac brand has fueled speculation that other GM brands may be on the chopping block. Rex Roy of AOL Motors reports that GM has shut down its HPV (High Performance Vehicle) division -- which is responsible for vehicles such as the Corvette -- in a move that anindustry analyst speculates was to appease Washington. Whether or not cars like the Corvette survive will depend upon how much control the Obama Administration will exert on the industry in the wake of the bailout. Further conditions tied to the bailout money could allow Washington -- not Detroit -- to determine what kind of cars will be built Roy points out in his article. The government has already forced out former CEO Rick Wagoner. Democratic Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi has already voiced her opinion that Americans should be driving smaller, more fuel efficient cars.

    Other makes and models may soon face elimination according to Roy. Changing fuel mileage and emissions regulations may force all the auto makers to stop production of other line such as the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and the Cadillac XLR. John Wolkonowicz, Senior Analyst at HIS Global Insight says that the government bailout gives the government the power to simply force certain cars off the market regardless of consumer popularity. After studying government response to GM's restructuring plan Wolkonowicz predicts that the company will only be able to survive as two brands: Chevrolet and Cadillac minus many of its models.
    Rob Loszewski, Owner & Site Administrator
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    "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." - Sun Tzu

    1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 , 350 Stock ZF 6-speed. Stock Bright Red

  3. #3
    Member Eddie 70's Avatar
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    At this point it is only his speculation and not for certain what GM lines will go away according to the article. What I do hate is the fact that the government is going to be able to tell me what vehicle is going to be available to me when it comes to time for me buy new again.

  4. #4
    Member gmc_kurt@yahoo.com's Avatar
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    Default thank the goverment for getting rid of wagner

    rick wagner has taken gm down, he has sold off all the parts of gm that were making money, he had the board under his spell, but all of the workers under him thought he was very stupid. im so glad that they got rid of that moron. now whats going to hurt gm is that bob lutz is retiring, he was the guy who was bringing back the comaro, and inproveing all of gm,s fast cars. he had the trans am/firebird slated for 2011. the buzz is that the corvette will not go away, but they might be looking to put smaller engines in them with turbos, or superchargers.dont forget one of the fastest production cars made is a twin turbo lancer 4 cylinder. gm can make the smaller engines, faster and better on gas than a 8 cylinder.i leave you with a caption of how rick wagner was liked in the gm family

  5. #5
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    has the ZR1 actually been stopped??? how many did they sell...

  6. #6
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corvette1953 View Post
    has the ZR1 actually been stopped??? how many did they sell...
    No. They haven't stopped it. You can get an idea of how many ZR1s have been built here:

    Corvette Action Center | Model Center | C6 | 2009 ZR1 Registry

    Browse the Registry and look at the last page with the latest production number.
    Rob Loszewski, Owner & Site Administrator
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    "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." - Sun Tzu

    1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 , 350 Stock ZF 6-speed. Stock Bright Red

  7. #7
    Member 91 Black Convertible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Corvette's Future Uncertain

    ... John Wolkonowicz, Senior Analyst at HIS Global Insight says that the government bailout gives the government the power to simply force certain cars off the market regardless of consumer popularity...
    I thought that we had a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Shouldn't our governing people be checking with us, to see what we want them to do? Once we cast our votes, is that the last time that we're allowed to have any say? We need to let our congressmen know what we want and expect from them. I don't think that by being elected gives them a free hand to do as they wish. They are supposed to be representing our wishes.

    I'll get off my soap box now.

    Jim S.

  8. #8
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    thanks for that Rob, makes for interesting reading

  9. #9
    Member njlouc's Avatar
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    IMHO, there may be a Chevrolet "division", but the Corvette is toast. Things are so bad at GM that they sold MANY of their super cars and prototype cars from their Heritage Museum to get some cash. Many were on Barrett-Jackson auctions. It is like a once wealthy woman hocking her jewelry. The liberal/Socialist/enviromentalists running the country now consider the Corvette as an irrevelant toy - wasteful and polluting, and further they look at it as a 2 seat Hummer sports car.
    If only we could have those electric cars that get the equlivant of 100MPG. AND that can carry Large American families including child car seats. All without increasing the power grid or taxing electric motive energy.

  10. #10
    New Member C2C3C4C6's Avatar
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    What we need is a David Richards (a/k/a Roger Penske) to buy Corvette and save it from the irretrievabley f'd up GM.

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