Back to the Future at GM, Chrysler

And if the Volt's electric engine and lighter weight were not enough to make green activists at least spend a second of thought on what GM is doing in response to their criticism, here's something else: The new materials are created, in part, out of recycled water bottles.

Published: 13-Jan-2007

It seemed like the best of times and the worst of times for combatants in the green revolution, when the opening shots fired during preview events at the North American International Auto Show appeared to tell a tale of two car companies.

DaimlerChrysler AG went "back to the future" - all the way back to 1984 - to try to recapture the success of its gas-guzzling goose that laid the golden egg: the minivan. The 2008 incarnation of the Chrysler Town & Country will be unabashedly one big comfy machine - with its "family room on wheels" featuring chairs that swivel 180 degrees.

At the same time, rival General Motors Corp. seemed to set out in a different direction, going out of its way to show that market forces and public criticism are actually beginning to light a fire underneath its once-lost-now-found electric car program. GM's unveiling of its Volt all-electric concept car drew praises not only for its use of cutting-edge technologies and materials, but also doing it with a sense of style.

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