GM Readies It Trucks For Fuel Economy Wars

GM executives insist the Tahoe is not a profligate gas guzzler, but a carefully developed family vehicle for people who have large cargo, passenger and towing needs.

Published: 06-Jan-2006

WASHINGTON -- Gary White, a hard-boiled engineer whose manner is reminiscent of the federal marshal played by actor Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, is at the end of his tether with the legions of carping critics taking shots at General Motors.

"A lot of people don't think we can find our ass with both hands," says the vehicle line executive in charge of delivering the most important GM vehicles of the year, if not the decade, and possibly in the history of the company. They are the new full-size SUVs and pickups that are the centrepiece of the money-losing auto maker's current turnaround plan.

White, making no secret of his frustration with know-it-alls who continue to pick at GM's problems -- slumping market share, uneven products, costly incentive giveaways, high labour and commodities costs and continuing fallout from November's announced plans to slash 30,000 jobs and close 12 facilities in North America -- is out to prove them all wrong. GM can and does make great vehicles and will sell them at a profit, he says.

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