March 14, 2008
In a March 3, 2008 speech at the Geneva Auto Show, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner outlined the company's plan to adjust their product to meet new global emissions and fuel economy standards.
Wagoner stated the company is working to reducing oil consumption, oil imports, and CO2 emissions, is by offering vehicles that:
- Run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol.
- By promoting the development of improved alternative fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol.
- By the end of 2008, GM will offer 25 FlexFuel cars and trucks, in several brands, and produce more than 1 million new ethanol-enabled vehicles.
- Placing more than 100 Equinox Fuel Cells into the hands of companies.
- By the end of this year, in total GM will offer nine different hybrid models worldwide.
- Over the next four years, we'll introduce 16 new hybrid vehicles - an average of one every three months.
- By developing with suppliers lithium ion batteries for near term hybrid powertrain application.
(Click on figure to enlarge)
Not only was this presentation important for GM to outline their future product strategy given the changing regulatory and market conditions, this was also damage control because of the recent statements by GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz calling "Global warming a crock..." In a recent address sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Wagoner stated:
"The data is pretty clear that the temperature on the earth is rising. There's all sort of debates as to why but we've clearly come down on the side it makes sense for us to put our business in a position where we can participate proactively in reducing the amount of (carbon dioxide) emissions."
Whether or not Wagoner believes what he said it not an issue. The presentation outlined that GM is taking the market, governments and the situation very seriously. Now that is good, corporate responsibility.
Slightly off topic, but along the same lines, Ford has had their own SNAFU with regard to corporate responsibility.
The Detroit New reported, the American Family Association (AFA) announced March 11, that it is ending its boycott of Ford, claiming victory in its effort to force the Dearborn automaker to curtail advertising in gay and lesbian publications.
According to Detroit News, Ford says it has not made any concessions to the group. However, Ford says it has reduced all of its advertising and charitable spending as a result of financial pressures.
In any case the AFA seems to be satisfied with Ford's actions.
"A few minor issues remain, and we will continue to bring these to the attention of Ford. But basically Ford has met the terms of the agreement. We are therefore suspending the boycott," said the organization's chairman and founder, Donald Wildmon, in a communique to members Tuesday. "Individuals are free to purchase Ford vehicles again."
This whole issue started back in 2005 when the initial boycott was launched by the AFA when at the time, the second-largest U.S. automaker gave thousands of dollars to gay rights groups, offered benefits to same-sex couples and actively recruits gay employees. Soon after the boycott Ford pulled some ad money to avoid a confrontation with the AFA. For those that may not be aware, the AFA is the same organization that likes to boycott Disney.
As to Ford's actual position on the issue I am confused. Did they cave or didn't they?
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