GM Moves Cautiously Forward on Green Cars

General Motors is working on greener cars powered by diesel-electric powerplants, but is taking a cautious route to market.

Published: 14-Nov-2007

Like many other industries, the car business is currently grappling with the need to be more green. The impetus for change is coming from the usual twin-pronged cattleprod of legislation and market forces.

In Europe, the regulatory pressure comes from the European Commission, which has proposed laws capping average fuel consumption at 130g/km for a manufacturer’s entire fleet by 2012. The rules have yet to be set in stone, but only the smallest and most efficient cars on sale today slink under the proposed limits.

Car buyers, meanwhile, are sending a less than clear signal to the makers. Rising petrol prices at the pumps create some incentive to choose a more fuel efficient model, and some buyers are reacting as a result, but most consumers and business customers remain focused on other attributes. Big is still better, and speed still sells.

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