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DATE News (chronologically)
08/21/08
automotive
Big 3 gas guzzlers here to stay
Fret not, my big engine brethren, Motor City muscle isn't going anywhere.
On the contrary, the advancement of V-8 engines is alive, going strong and on track to continue.

That's good news for Detroit's automakers, for people who appreciate supercharged cars and for the environment. That's right, the environment.

You see, the cars that lose money are the rage of the day for automakers -- hybrids, electric cars and fuel cell vehicles -- and would take even longer to develop if it weren't for the advanced technologies designed for powerhouses such as the Corvette ZR1, the Shelby GT500 or the Challenger SRT8, to name a few.

But perhaps most importantly, the green that these vehicles generate is of the cash kind, and for three automakers struggling to simply keep their North American operations afloat, that's not something to dispose of lightly.

"Oh no, we're not going anywhere," said Thomas McCarthy, senior manager for Chrysler LLC's SRT vehicle team. "Don't forget that we make money."

The high-performance vehicle teams at Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. are among the few bright spots on the automakers' balance sheets.

In fact, according to executives from all three companies at the "High Mileage Muscle" forum presented last week, even though they are part of a niche market that sends shivers up the spines of activists (and most members of Congress), their products are in demand and the carbon fiber body panels, fuel-injection technologies and other features that make them great eventually find their way into the mass market.

Corvettes' V-8 stays put
When asked if the next generation Corvettes would have V-6 engines, Thomas Wallace, the chief engineer for Corvette and vehicle line executive for performance cars at GM, chuckled.

"Not while I'm here," he said.

Amen to that.

Sure the trend is to downsize and the Big Three are developing smaller engines that are faster and more fuel efficient. They should continue that quest. Now isn't the time to create a new V-8, but it's also not the time to bow to public pressure from activists who want nothing more than for the V-8 to wither away.

Big engines have market
Perhaps a souped up V-6 engine or a battery-powered car with fake muscle car rumbles piped through the muffler will satisfy some, but there will remain a market for vehicles geared toward those who truly appreciate the engineering of an automobile.

And if they're willing to pay for it, let them. They're helping Detroit's automakers and ultimately the environment, too. Detroit News

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