Detroit's Dilemma: The Future Isn't Now

The reality of the 2008 Detroit Auto Show is most of the vehicles at the show that will actually hit U.S. roads this year are gas hogs.

Published: 14-Jan-2008

DETROIT -- The two vehicles Ford Motor Co. is putting its promotional horsepower behind at the sprawling auto show here this week succinctly capture the bind that many auto makers find themselves in this year.

One is a fuel-sipping little car called, for now, the Verve. It won't go on sale in the U.S. for at least another two years. Until then, Ford's hopes for halting its sales slump and stemming massive financial losses ride on the other headliner -- the redesigned F-150 pickup truck. It's hardly a miser on fuel, but it'll be in showrooms this fall.

ith gasoline surging above $3 a gallon, auto makers of all stripes will use the North American International Auto Show to trumpet plenty of great innovations they're working on to improve fuel economy, although few are ready for prime time now.


Purportedly capable of hitting 0-to-60 in under 6 seconds, the plug-in hybrid Karma can hit 125 mph. The company hopes to sell 15,000 of the luxury electric cars annually.

GM's newest fuel economy fighter is the Cruze.

Analysts note that General Motors has made dramatic improvements in its vehicles over the last decade. Pictured is new small call, Chevy Cruze.

Volvo C30 is plug-in hybrid concept that utilizes electric wheel motors.

The real problem we face - and in the US it's far worse, with car makers bleeding money - is that the car is unviable and has been for a long time, contends Larry Buttrose.


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