GM Boosting Mileage Across its Lineup

Posted: June 13, 2008

Kicking Tires reports, "It seems the folks over at GM are as experienced at emergency surgery as the cast of ER. Across GM's entire lineup of cars, trucks and SUVs, the company has tried to enhance fuel economy above all else, often with significant results."  For example, "The Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura now feature a six-speed automatic transmission in their four-cylinder models." This "means the trio -- rated at 22/33 mpg city/highway, up from 22/30 mpg for 2008 -- is now more efficient than four-cylinder versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, which are rated at 21/31 mpg and 22/31 mpg respectively. They even best the manual-transmission Accord at 22/31 mpg."  Even the 2009 Chevy Silverado, with its giant 6.0-liter V8, will now come with a six-speed, "going from 13/19 mpg city/highway to 14/19 mpg for 2009."

The General has also been testing a new small car -- spy shots are circulating on the internet this week -- which CEO Rick Wagoner says will get "nine miles per gallon more than Chevy's entry in this segment today," according to Motor Trend.  That car is apparently being developed on a very aggressive schedule.  It wasn't even planned two years ago, and is now believed to be headed to showrooms in 2010.

GM is hoping for an image makeover along with the fuel-efficiency boost.  Edmunds Inside Line explains, "General Motors is tweaking and testing its advertising and marketing messages in various green-friendly ways that include a de-emphasizing of the flex-fuel capabilities of its vehicles in favor of broader promotion of GM's fuel options."

We think it's encouraging to see America's largest automaker able to take such quick steps to improve the fuel efficiency of its most of its lineup.  But it's disheartening, in a way, to see that it was this easy for them all along, but it took gas prices that are doing real damage in some parts of the country to spur them to do it.  Let's hope other automakers are making similar plans.

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