Usual, normal, regular people never want to spend money unless it’s in their interest to do that. “Assuming” the interest of the consumers is spending more and more money on gas, U.S. car manufacturers have just been ignoring the signs the consumers gave them, and continued to produce inefficient cars to the profit of the oil companies and theirs.
Former General Motors economist Walter McManus, now a professor and head of the Automotive Analysis division of the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan reveals some shocking statements that show GM not only ignored the consumers’ wishes regarding fuel efficiency, but intentionally misled the public opinion on fuel efficiency.
GM has been receiving data from the customers in the 1990s showing that they wanted their cars to be more economic, but McManus routinely dismissed them, because he says he did not believe those surveys, as the preference for fuel economy wasn’t in line with the industry’s trend: “The survey would estimate that people would estimate fuel economy fairly highly,” said McManus. “Being a good economist, I said, ‘No, they don’t,’ and I changed the results. […] It’s my fault they had the wrong vehicles until now”
In an interview on a new fuel efficiency report, issued recently by Citigroup, there is mentioned a new federal consumption standard (CAFE): 35.5mpg by 2016. This figure is being put to practice since the early 1990s in European countries, but the U.S. is behaving like they never knew it could have been possible until now whatsoever.
The Japanese companies developed nice profits from selling fuel-efficient cars since a long time ago. Ford, GM and Chrysler are expected to earn a combined of $3 billion a year if they decide to build more fuel efficient cars. “People have a hard time thinking about their fuel savings,” McManus said. “It’s hard for people to understand the abstract, that a mile per gallon means this many dollars saved every month. But if you actually start experiencing by driving the vehicle, then you understand it.”
People are not stupid – at least they’re getting smarter by the way their pocket empties. Americans need fuel efficient cars, like they need the oxygen their guzzlers take every second they’re running. Think about that.
I do not know how I missed this article before. This McManus fellow, now head of Automotive Analysis for TRI for some unknown reason, confessed that he sabotaged GM because he “changed the results” of critically important studies that GM paid for to understand consumer demand. He essentially claims responsibility for all of the flak GM received for not designing fuel efficient cars (because of “industry trend”), and the sales and market share they may have lost by not doing so. In my opinion, this McManus is not qualified do anything even remotely related to automobile engineering studies and cost analysis at any level, anywhere, for anyone. Now he happily snubs his nose and says “sorry”.
Meanwhile in Europe, you have cars producing progressively more M.P.G. and less CO2 per kilometre and customers feeling good about that. My awareness of the modern, cleaner, and more powerful diesels started with the TDI engines, back in the mid to late 90’s. They were impressive then and even more impressive now.