Thursday, April 12, 2007

GM puts brakes on rear wheel drive vehicles

GM's on again/off again plan to bring more rear wheel drive vehicles into production has once again been put on hold. Their justification? The government's plan to become more strict on fuel economy and CO2 output has them changing course. Here is an idea, scale back your SUV production since they are your biggest gas hogs and concentrate on your cars instead, making them both more fuel efficient and moving ahead with reviving rear wheel drive. You can't tell me that when you have a car like my dad's 1995 Formula, which is a 12 year old car, that knocked down 27 mpg highway and had 300 hp, that improvements haven't been made to achieve 30+ mpg while retaining the desired level of performance.

GM puts brakes on rear wheel drive vehicles

Where the problem lies is with their refusal to accept the fact that SUV sales will continue to decline. Eventually, SUV's may even go the way of the mini van, with most automakers simply stop making them. I don't care what technology you invoke into SUV's, the fact is that they are super heavy vehicles which will always be less efficient than a car, or even a crossover.

Fortunately for me, there will be plenty of nice, used, rear wheel drive cars in the near future, even if they do cancel these plans. For me, I see Mustangs, Chargers, 300C's, Magnums, Camaros, and Challengers as all possible vehicles to satisfy my desire to continue to own rear wheel drive, V8 powered, American muscle.

I am curious as to how this will effect the styling of the new Impala if the rwd platform is killed. According to my source at GM, the new Impala was kickass! Same styling that will be in the new Camaro, just with 4 doors instead. A trend in which I am surprised that hasn't been reversed, which to me seems the most obvious, is a drive to make cars lighter. In fact, it baffles me how cars have approached the curb weights they are today. Your average family car today tips the scales at around 4,000+ lbs. Now that is simply your average midsize family sedan. Now consider that the full size BOATS built back in the late 60's and early 70's were around 4,000 lbs, and you have to ask where all the extra weight comes from today.

Cars today are filled with aluminum and other lightweight components, where as back then everything was cast iron. Throw in the fact that most cars were full framed cars back in the day, where as today they are unibody, and I'm still left scratching my head. Before just drastic measures such as killing rwd platforms is taken, other options should be considered, such as a means to omit some of the weight making the vehicles so heavy, and in turn, inefficient.