Wednesday Night Snippets

The results of the recent poll are complete enough to publish here. Primarily, US visitors (as it’s concerned with their market) were asked whether they’d prefer OnStar, Bluetooth or a combination of the two. The problem being that custoers in the US market can’t get Bluetooth if they’ve got OnStar.

The results of the poll are pretty self-explanatory:


Whilst a fair number would love a solution that includes both technologies, the prime interest seems to be the need to offer the technology that’s more of an everyday need in most people’s lives – and that would be bluetooth.

OnStar provides a bunch of important services, but i think people are resenting having to have them bundled together, especially at the exclusion of other items.


As far as I’m aware, I’ve never had any readers here identify themselves as coming from Mississippi, and it’d seem that I’m not likely to have any new Saab owners do so any time soon:

Mississippi’s only Saab dealership closed Tuesday with little warning for customers who likely will have difficulty getting their cars serviced elsewhere.

Ted Enstrom, general manager of Clements Cadillac Saab in Ridgeland, said he regrets the inconvenience but it was a business decision to drop the slow-selling line.

“We’re concentrating more on the Cadillac line and on Cadillac-certified pre-owned (vehicles). Really, with our space here, we’re just too cramped,” he said.

And this is quite interesting. I didn’t realise this was the case….

Enstrom said it’s also been a difficult brand for dealers.

“We have to have two different computer systems – one for Saab, one for Cadillac. Saab’s hasn’t been integrated into the rest of General Motors’ system. That’s supposed to happen by the end of the year,” he said.

Maintaining separate systems costs dealers money, as does training mechanics. Enstrom said he doesn’t stock many Saab parts because sales are so low.

The full article appears in the Clarion Ledger and it’s a very interesting read. A sad indictment, to be sure.


Auto Express writer Mike Rutherford on new diesels:

I’ve just driven the new Bluemotion versions of the Volkswagen Passat and Polo in Berlin, and they are both quite brilliant, returning an official average of nearly 60 mpg and over 70 mpg respectively. What’s more, the Polo – now the world’s most fuel-efficient mainstream car – embarrasses Japanese petrol-electric hybrids by making them look comparatively thirsty, filthy and expensive.

It’s a shame they won’t be coming stateside:

The real challenge is, and I think diesel will be important to us going forward, the real challenge is is how much penetration will you see with the diesel engines and the challenge is as we meet these emission requirements we’re adding even more cost to a very costly engine. You have to remember that even in Europe today a diesel engine probably costs about twice the cost of a gasoline engine and then we’re adding even more cost as we go with more sophisticated after-treatment systems. So while some people may say the challenge is emissions, the real challenge is is what is the cost of this propulsion system when you meet all of the requirements?

That’s GM powertrain guy, Dr Gary Smyth in an interview with AutoblogGreen. I think ABG could have done him favour and edited the transcript.

Anyway, the point is – GM can whine all they like about 50-states emissions etc etc….but other companies are going to do it, and they’re going to benefit from doing it first.

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  1. “I’ve just driven the new Bluemotion versions of the Volkswagen Passat and Polo in Berlin, and they are both quite brilliant, returning an official average of nearly 60 mpg and over 70 mpg respectively. What’s more, the Polo – now the world’s most fuel-efficient mainstream car – embarrasses Japanese petrol-electric hybrids by making them look comparatively thirsty, filthy and expensive.”

    This Mike Rutherford seems to be an very naive or uneducated guy, or both!
    He was driving this bloody Diesel car that produces 10 times more harmful exhaust gases than a similar sized and frugal small car from Japan, e.g. one with Toyotas prize winning 3 pot patrol screwed in the Yaris or a midsize Prius.

    I do not understand why most of the motor journalists just ignor the raising air pollution in Europe caused by an increasing market penetration of Diesel cars.
    The point is, these irresponsible journalist like the guy above are part of the problem.
    So, if you want to drive green, drive Yaris or a similar car.

    There are no clean Diesel now on the European market. Just cars that are being promoted as green. The emmission regulations that the European Union introduced are just made to keep the costs for Diesel engines low, not the emmissons.

    And with Saab, why does Saab not introduce the new 1,6l Turbo patrol in there lineup as Opel/Vauxhall already did in the Astra? Then, they could throw this dirty agricultural Italian Diesel engine into the bin.

  2. Michael…

    Diesel’s do not emit more pollution than petrol cars. first up the co2 emissions are less than a comparable petrol with the same Hp. then they have a partial filter added that reduces particle matter (HC/NOx) to 0.001mg/km.
    Therefore, there isn’t any rising pollution in Europe due increased market penetration of diesel engines. In addition, the advancements that BP and Shell are making with synthetic additives are making the fuel cleaner and more efficient too.
    The road-tax between a Euro II classed vehicle and Euro IV classed vehicle is very substantial. Actually, in Germany it makes the difference of over a €1000 per year. It has nothing to do with keeping the cost of producing diesel engines down. The difference between petrol and diesel engines lies solely by the manufacturers, who deliberately lower their RRP thus reducing their wholesale price to the dealer, to make the diesel a viable option. If manufacturers carried the same levy then the return in fuel economy would not compensate for the added retail price plus the yearly road fund licence.
    The 1.6T that Opel has recently launched in the face lifted Astra emits 186g(co2)/km as opposed to 149g(co2)/km in the 9-3 1.9TID 88KW and not only is it less fuel efficient than the Saab but is less economical than the VW Golf GT 1.4TSI and the BMW 120i,
    (Manufacture combined fig. stats. Astra 7.7ltr/100km, Golf 7.3ltr/100km, BMW 6.4ltr/100km)
    (Test Figures combined. Astra 9.4, Golf 9.3, BMW 8.6.)
    Information taken from Autostrassenverkehr heft 12 (16 May 2007)
    In addition, the Astra is a smaller and lighter vehicle so the economy would drop again if it were placed in the 9-3. The other issue would be that the 1.6 would not have the low-end power to pull cleanly away, so you would get the same problem that the Golf has. Which is a flat spot when you change gear as the car is too heavy for the size of engine, then you get this jerk effect as the turbo rushes in. (Doesn’t make for very comfortable driving at all.) nonetheless, the engine would replace the 2.0ltr 175hp and not the diesel.
    If you want to drive green then it doesn’t matter how fuel efficient your Toyota is, it still pollutes the atmosphere with fossil-fuel based co2. “Bio-fuel cells” are the key, which is the direction GM is going. This technology is still a few years away but there is a dot on the horizon and it looks like the next Delta platform due 2009 could be that car. Could the proposed 9-1 be the first Bio-Ethanol e-flex vehicle out of the GM stable? When you think that with the use of turbo charging, co2 emissions can still reduced by up to 70% in a ‘well to wheel’ calculation then e-flex could increase that figure to 90%. This would mean the 1.6T Astra engine would only emit 18.5g(co2)/km. compared to 104g(co2)/km in the Toyota Prius. With a standard co2 emission of 183g/km and calculated co2 emission of 55g/km using E85. You can buy Saab’s 1.8t bio-power today and really do your bit for the environment.

  3. According to the transcript of the interview with Dr. Gary Smyth (which Swade provides the link to in the post above), the GM Powertrain R&D guru the European diesels on the market are four times more polluting than United States emissions standards will allow:

    “The real key is will diesels make it in the North American market? And a lot of people look at it like, well why don’t we just use our diesels from Europe and bring them here, they seem to be very successful in Europe. The real challenge is meeting the emissions here in North America, because if you look at NOx emissions in North America and you look at our standard for Tier 2 of Bin 5 which is our ’07 standard, it is one-quarter the standard of Europe today. So it’s one fourth the standard. And so we have to meet that, actually usually with bigger vehicles or with bigger engines because we’ve bigger vehicles. So we have a major challenge which is how do we meet emissions here in North America that are the most stringent requirements in the world.”

  4. The main reason the requirements are so though in North America is that American companies lack that kind of diesel tecknology that European companies have. The requirements are there so that they can catch up. That said, it’s still good to raise the bar and demand even cleaner emission.

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