<VV> Delco goes bust (long)
pp2 at 6007.us
Sat Oct 8 22:14:08 EDT 2005
> So maybe your government should stop US manufacturers from buying from
>other than (all-American) Delphi? All right, government's growing apace,
>here. Now, US-made vehicles are more-expensive, and CONSUMERS will
>accordingly favor cheaper imports. Now, Delphi is dragging GM down with it.
Started back with the first energy crisis. Imports had been here all along
but America was different. Other countries taxed just about everything
(mostly by engine size) on a sliding scale to keep the "interesting" cars
out of the hands of the pesants. Other countries had expensive fuels again
thanks to taxes and poor/narrow roads. Further they had developed excellent
alternative transportation systems (trains/buses).
OTOH in the USofA automotive evolution took a different path. No
taxes/cheap fuel started the cubic inch race in the 50s (before that most
mass production cars had engines of around 200 cid). Wide open spaces led
to big slow turning engines that would last for 100,000 miles on '50s
technology. In many parts of the country, 100 miles was "around the
corner", something inconceivable in Europe or mechanized Asia (visitors
have a lot of trouble understanding just how big Florida is).
MPG was of slight interest but has never really been a concern here, in the
midst of the 1973 gas crisis the major issue was whether any was available
to buy, not the price and while long lines at gas stations made the news,
it was never much of a concern other than to make bigger and auxiliary gas
For example, many around here went to the Nature Coast Corvairs picnic at
Ft. Cooper State Park today and had a grand time. That it was 60 miles from
my house was not really an issue when an average speed of over 60 mph was
possible. Since am waiting on a replacement balancer I took one of my
1980's relics with a 3800. Average for the trip was over 24 mpg and saw
over 30 mpg on the 20 mile section with a 55 mph limit.
My point is that the American road system that evolved from Ike's vision of
an Interstate system has radically changed from the 60s and 70s when the
50-70 mph "passing time" was a real factor. Today it isn't.
So back before the first gasoline crisis, American cars were large and
designed for the wide open roads and had the ability to set the cruise on a
comfortable speed depending on law enforcement and go until either gas,
food, or a rest stop was needed. Something almost inconceivable to a
European or Japanese.
What has happened in this century is that the cultures are converging.
Europeans and Japanese car makers can make vehicles that can go at 70+ MPH
for hours on end and deliver 30 mpg or better while doing it. No longer is
how to decarbonize the valves a part of the owner's manual (and recommended
every 15,000 miles). Powertrain warrantys are now at least 6 year/60,000
mile and 10/100,000s are not uncommon
The problem is that the US automakers have always made more profit on large
cars than small and tend to treat small cars as "cheap" while for the rest
of the world, a 1.5 liter (91 cubic inch) engine is a step up and engines
of that class are now quiet, smooth, and capable of cruising speeds well in
excess of the posted limit. Being a step up they include "all the toys"
from a/c to RKE to six speaker CD systems. Standard. And even with the
depressed dollar can be sold here for $10k-$15k, a price point US mfrs have
all but abandoned.
That the day of the SUV was limited should have been obvious but foresight
has never been Detroit's strong point. OTOH GM has a habit of bringing out
a brilliant design about 5-10 years too soon and then giving up on it just
when the it gets right.
So the question is not whether Delphi goes broke, but how long the overseas
arms of GM will be able to carry domestic production. After all, the only
real economy car GM has in this country, the Chevrolet Aveo (Pontiac Wave
is not sold in the US) is really a Daewoo and the engine in good US fashion
is larger (and less economical) than those sold overseas.
One can hope that GM has plans for a domestic line of the "subminis" that
are so popular in Europe but so far there has been no sign of it.
I wonder if there is a four-speed overdrive transaxle that could be adapted
to the Corvair engine relatively inexpensively...
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