AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Automakers Face Massive Cafe Challenge

May 12th, 2008 at 12:00pm

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

Listen to this story:

I know gas prices are soaring and that automakers have to meet the fuel economy standards, but honestly, I don’t see how they’re going to do it.

The auto industry faces a massive challenge to meet the new fuel economy standards by 2015. Today there are only three cars sold in this country that can meet that standard: the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic hybrid and the Smart.

Keep in mind that the 2010 models are done, there’s very little that can be changed on them. So that means the industry will have to revamp its entire product line between 2011 and 2015. Like I said, I don’t see how they can do it.

For now, none of the automakers will say anything against the CAFE standard because they know the public backlash would be wicked. Especially since we’re in the middle of a presidential election campaign. What they’re secretly hoping for is some sort of adjustment to the fuel economy standards if it really turns out that they can’t meet them.

One Comment to “AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Automakers Face Massive Cafe Challenge”

  1. Tom Martin Says:

    The initial adjustment could be how “all electric” and fuel cell cars are counted. If the Chevy Volt counts as a 70 mpg car, Chevy might aggressively manufacture and price the Volt, so they could sell more Impalas. Chevy could sell two 18 mpg vehicles for each 70 mpg Volt and average 35 mpg.

    Also, Ford and GM already sell fuel efficient overseas, and need to bring them to the U.S.

    And I don’t understand why Ford doesn’t expand hybrid production. There’s a waiting list for Escape hybrids, and the sales of Escape hybrids this year is actually less than last year. Ford has the drivetrain. Why restrict production?

    Both Honda and Toyota will have 50 mpg hybrids in 2009. Why doesn’t any other manufacturer plan a 50 mpg hybrid? Ford, GM, and Chrysler could sell a lot of 50 mpg hybrids if they keep the price less than $25K. For each 50 mpg hybrid, a manufacturer could sell a 20 mpg vehicle and have a 35 mpg average.

    It’s possible and will take a lot less effort than putting a man on the moon.