No. 951
June 20, 2018
 

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On The Surface


Tuesday
Apr222008

On The Surface #442

April 23, 2008 

arrowup.gifGM Powertrain, Chevrolet Corvette. SAE certification of the supercharged LS9 V-8 in the new Corvette ZR1 due this summer is now complete, and the numbers are noteworthy, to say the least: 638 horsepower (476 kW) and 604 lb.-ft. of torque (819 Nm), for a power output of nearly 103 horses per liter, or just about 1.7 horses for each of the engine’s 376 cubic inches. The monster motor enables the Corvette ZR1 to achieve a top speed of more than 200 mph (322 km/h). The LS9 engine is hand-built by specially trained technicians at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich, the unique, small-volume engine production facility that also builds the Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s LS7 engine and other high-performance GM production engines. “Developing the LS9 involved more than simply striving for a great horsepower number. Endurance and reliability testing have shown the engine to be robust and low-maintenance, just like other engines in the small-block family,” said Sam Winegarden, executive director, engine engineering for GM Powertrain. “That it is distinguished as the most powerful engine ever from General Motors is a source of immense pride among everyone involved with the LS9.” You can see a video of the Corvette Development Engineering team verifying the top speed - 205 mph! - of the new ZR1 at a test track in Papenburg, Germany by clicking . Prepare to be impressed by the sound of that awesome motor!

arrowdown.gifU.S. Consumers, The Detroit Three. From the "It's Gonna Get Ugly" File comes word that the EPA is moving its fuel economy targets up. The numbers? 35.7 mpg on average for cars and 28.6 mpg on average for light trucks for an overall fleet average of 31.8 by 2015. Those were the fuel economy requirements announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA at an Earth Day event yesterday in McLean, VA, on the way to an industry fleet average standard of 35 mpg that's due by 2020. This newly aggressive, front-loaded schedule will radically alter the choice of vehicles consumers have in seven years time, and those vehicles will be much costlier too. Some estimates suggest that the auto industry will have to spend upwards of $50 billion to meet the requirements by 2015. We've been warning for a long time that the U.S. car buying consumer isn't even remotely ready for the changes coming. Trust us on this one, folks, this will not be pretty.

arrowup.gifChevrolet. GM's volume division held a small media event yesterday to tout the sales performance of its totally revamped Malibu - particularly in the New York (up 135 percent), California (up 186 percent) and Florida (up 91 percent) markets - while also announcing that the Malibu equipped with the 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine is now available with the Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic. The new powertrain combination slated for the Malibu LTZ (MSRP of $26,545) delivers 32 mpg on the highway (which exceeds the mileage of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord 4-cylinder models). That's all well and good, but just the fact that the Malibu is on consumers' consideration lists for basically the first time ever is a major accomplishment for GM and Chevrolet. Small victories.

arrowup.gifWendelin Wiedeking. Automotive News reports that the Porsche CEO (aka Piech's "boy") is the auto industry's highest paid executive, earning close to $100 million in 2007. What's the German translation for "f--- you money" again?

arrowdown.gifarrowdown.gifarrowdown.gifThe UAW. Strike, strike and more strikes. When you're riding out the last vestiges of an entitlement empire that was easily obsolete 15 years ago, that's all you have left. The UAW's last gasp actions will drive countless jobs off-shore, hastening their ultimate demise. Nicely done.

arrowup.gifBill Vlasic. The new Detroit Bureau Chief for The New York Times distinguished himself with an outstanding piece in last Sunday's Business Section about Jim Farley, the ex-Toyota marketing guru who now has the reins at the Ford Motor Company. Vlasic not only perfectly captured Farley's passion and commitment to Ford, he took the reader inside Farley's thoughts - and his heart - for an intimate portrayal of the man, giving even the casual reader an understanding as to why he will make a huge difference for the Ford Motor Company going forward. A superb job by Vlasic.

arrowdown.gifGM's New Marketing Honchos. On the surface, the GM marketing re-org, which gives four people control of GM's marketing channels - Ed Peper (Chevrolet), Mark McNabb (Cadillac-Hummer-Saab), Susan Docherty (Buick-Pontiac-GMC) and Jill Lajdziak (Saturn) - sounds good, giving them more input on product, control over sales and incentives, etc., but we'll believe the autonomy part of it when we see it.

arrowdown.gifChrysler. We love to hear that the Chrysler powers that be are predicting great things for the company internationally, but the reality of the situation is that most of them won't be there when it happens, because Carlos Ghosn will be running the show by then. But it's a nice thought anyway.

arrowdown.gifMary Peters. The U.S. Transportation Secretary called the accelerated EPA mileage standards for 2015, "...historically ambitious, yet achievable." Uh, whatever you say, Mary. And that's also our AE Quote of the Week.

arrowdown.gifGM. Toyota's first quarter global sales? 2.41 million vehicles, up 2.7 percent. GM's? 2.25 million vehicles, down less than 1 percent, with 64 percent of those sales coming from outside the U.S. Toyota surpassed GM in global production last year and will probably overtake GM in global sales at the end of this year. 

arrowup.gifFord. Posting a net income of $100 million on total revenue of $43.5 billion during the first quarter, Ford is gaining real traction on its way back from the abyss.

china.jpg
(Courtesy of GM China)
GM unveiled the new Buick Invicta Concept at the Beijing Auto Show this week. If you squint real hard you can see hints of the next-gen Buick LaCrosse in there somewhere. The Invicta name was last used by Buick in the late 60s, when cool car names reigned supreme in the Motor City.

saab.jpg
(Courtesy of GM)
The Saab Convertible Yellow Edition available this spring is based on the 2.0T version, with special Lynx Yellow paint, Aero look items such as 17-inch, five spoke alloy wheels, a subtle rear spoiler, and premium audio system with XM radio and OnStar. The 2008 Saab Convertible Yellow Edition has a MSRP of $42,830, including destination charges.