Hummers are Bummers

As a part of my job, I regularly search of newspapers and auto blogs for information on the vehicle market. One of my favorite things to uncover is quotes and comments from the Detroit automakers about the progress they're making to build more "clean" and advanced technology vehicles.

GM Chairman Bob Lutz undoubtedly ranks at the top of my list of quotable automaker figures. Here's what he had to say at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show:

"General Motors...is the anti-Christ that's trying to plunge us into the abyss,'' Lutz said in a Frankfurt Motor Show interview today.

When you consider the thousands of gaz-guzzlers they've marketed and sold over the past decades and their continued resistance to regulation whether in the form of seat belt or CAFE mandates, it's hard not to believe that General Motors is evil.

Yet, I don't see General Motors or any other automaker as evil. Aside from the fact that I'm really not a fan of cars, trucks or SUVs—I actually wrote my Master's thesis on SUVs—I don't feel any strong negative feelings toward the company, just toward its misguided leaders (read: selfish, capitalist, shortsighted, etc) and America's misguided consumers (read: selfish, capitalist, shortsighted, lazy, ignorant, etc).

By the way, the above quote is from a recent Bloomberg article. Here's the full text:

``People have a very simplistic way of organizing things: Toyota, because of the Prius, are saving the planet from certain destruction, whereas General Motors, which produces the (Hummer) H2, is the anti-Christ that's trying to plunge us into the abyss,'' Lutz said in a Frankfurt Motor Show interview today.

``It's totally ridiculous,'' he said. ``The only way we can get out of that is by being more environmental and leading with more environmental technology than Toyota,'' Lutz said.

I am hopeful that GM will turn things around and become the "environmental leader" (that Toyota supposedly is). I am hopeful that the Chevy Volt PHEV becomes a major breakthrough, supplanting its PHEV competitors in design and electric-only distance.

But, I'm doubtful that we'll be able to do that much to resolve the environmental and social problems created by our car culture if the automakers, policymakers, and consumer-voters continue their short-term, self/money-driven, fuck-the-little people (and-everyone-else) stance.

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