DETROIT: Planning to become more vocal about SUV and light-truck fuel efficiency, General Motors has assigned vice chairman Harry Pearce to be the company’s point man on the issue.
DETROIT: Planning to become more vocal about SUV and light-truck
fuel efficiency, General Motors has assigned vice chairman Harry Pearce
to be the company’s point man on the issue.
Pearce made headlines earlier this month when he publicly chastised Ford
after CEO Jac Nasser promised that his company would improve its SUV
fuel economy by 25% in the next five years. Prior to Nasser’s
statements, the auto industry had maintained a united front.
’Ford really caught GM off guard with that one,’ said John DeCicco, a
senior associate with the American Council for an Energy Efficient
While Ford scion William Clay Ford Jr. has spoken about wanting his
company to be more environmentally friendly, Nasser’s announcement
showed that ’It’s not just the Bill Ford Jr. sideshow - it’s become a
piece of corporate strategy,’ according to DeCicco. ’It puts GM in the
position of having to do the same.’
Countered Jeff Kuhlman, director of energy and environmental
communications with GM, ’We see that we need to be more vocal on these
issues.’ Subsequently, Pearce touted GM’s efforts, saying that the
company boasts better truck-fuel economy than Ford: ’General Motors will
still be the leader in five years - or, for that matter, in 15 years or
20 years, end of story.’
Automakers have long argued that consumers don’t buy SUVs or trucks with
fuel efficiency in mind, but Kuhlman conceded that ’consumer concern
about global environmental issues is growing.’ Additionally, the Clinton
administration has been pressuring Congress to increase average fuel
’Legislation is part of it,’ DeCicco said, noting that Nasser’s comments
were made at the Washington Press Club - always a major forum for
reaching DC opinion leaders.