Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Carmakers' Challenge: Green, Mean Machines

January 13, 2003

Henry Ford once offered Model Ts in any color as long as they were black. Now automakers are attempting to pull off a far trickierchromatic challenge: wrapping themselves in green with a host of enviro-friendly initiatives, while at the same time pumping up the horsepower hype with gas-chugging new sports cars and trucks, according to the Detroit News.The 700,000-square-foot Cobo Center show floor at the North American International Auto Show is the perfect vantage point to observe themixed signals flowing from the auto industry these days, according to the News.Auto companies know that younger car buyers are concerned about environmental issues. Models targeted at "Generation Y," like Toyota's new Scion line, the Honda Element and the Mini Cooper, are smaller and more efficient thantoday's best-selling SUVs, the News noted.Mike Schwartz, director of fuel cell programs at Ford Motor Co., said the now-canceled Think Electric vehicle program taught the company that the greener vehicles it offers in thefuture have to match or exceed consumer expectations, the News said.On the mixed messages of the auto show -- environmentally friendly vehicles alongsidethe newest SUVs and bigger, more powerful engines -- Schwartz noted that if all of the vehicles sold were the extreme versions seen in Cobo Center, it would harm the environment. But the auto show is about building up consumer excitement, he said, according to the News.
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