Cadillac and The Disappearing V-8

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Mourn with me.Caddy 6.2 V-8 picture

Cadillac – Cadillac! – no longer sells a single car powered by a V-8 engine. Or such will be the case in about two months, when 2014 fades to 2015. Come Jan. 1, all new Cadillac cars will be powered by fours or sixes. Some will be turbocharged. But none will larger than 3.6 liters.

The last of the V-8 Caddys – the (very) limited production CTS-V sedan/wagon – is being retired. There appears to be a replacement on deck for 2016, but the continued politically viability of V-8 engines within the system (so to speak) is shaky. Not because people don’t want the power. But because government demands “economy” – creating an impossible Catch 22 situation.

The 6.2 liter V-8 in the current (2014) CTS-V produces 556 magnificent horsepower – more horsepower than any ’60s-era muscle car (including the halo’d Chrysler 426 Street Hemi). But its Achilles Heel in this misbegotten age – in which government bureaucrats and political hacks decree car design via regulatory edicts as opposed to the freely expressed wishes of the people who buy the cars – is its hunger for fuel. The CTS-V’s EPA mileage stats are the modern-day equivalent of a racist joke caught on mike: 14 city, 19 highway.conan pic

Hear the lamentations of the women.

And so, GM – like every other automaker – is scrambling to “apologize” for its sins – atonement coming in the form of much smaller (but ironically only slightly more economical) not-V-8s such as the 3.6 liter V-6 that will be the mainstay powerplant in future Cadillac “V” (high-performance) vehicles.

Instead of 556 hp, 420 hp. But hey, 21 city and 31 highway will be your reward. Is it a fair exchange? The loss of 136 hp, two cylinders and 2.6 liters’ worth of engine in exchange for a 7 MPG uptick in city driving – and 12 on the highway?

Well, perhaps.Caddy V-8 side by side

But that’s not the issue.

Market demand isn’t the decider here. Government force is. And that’s the issue.

Or rather, the question.

Will someone enlighten me where I can find the clause in the Constitution – allegedly the supreme law of the land – that endows the federal government with the rightful power to dictate car design to GM or anyone else? And it’s not even the elected government that’s dictating car design. It is unelected apparatchiks within the bureaucracy – EPA and DOT. These are not accountable to any voter; have never been given a mandate to do anything by “the people.” Ensconced in their warren of cubicles within dreary-looking Soviet-style buildings in and around Washington, they simply decide – and we’re supposed to accept.Obama czar

These car czars (to borrow a popular term used by people in government themselves that’s very revelatory about their attitudes toward “the people” they rule) don’t like “inefficient” cars. But they seem unable to comprehend that no car company can force people to buy such cars. If, in fact, such cars are considered unpalatable by the market, the market will spit them back of its own accord. So, all the triumphant trumpeting coming out of the EPA and DOT (and White House) about the Great Work done by these wise lawgivers to make sure Americans have access to “fuel efficient” cars is (per Col. Potter from MASH) horsehockey.

Reverse horsehocky, actually.

Because it’s the government that force-feeds people stuff – from “efficient” (and inevitably, more expensive) vehicles to air bags and black box data recorders and back-up cameras. None of these things came to be – as standard equipment in all new cars – as a consequence of consumer demand. In fact, in several cases, it is beyond argument that they came into existence as standard equipment despite consumer demand.

Or rather, the lack thereof.           

I’ve written several time in the past about air bags. Several car companies (GM and Chrysler, back in the early ’70s) thought they might sell – and offered them as options that people could buy if they wished to. Very few wished to. And so, the air bags died an appropriate death.constitution pic

The apparatchiks could not abide that. Consumers are too dumb to know what’s good for them; we will therefore force them to buy air bags. It began with just the two – for the driver and front seat passenger. And now all new cars have at least six of them – with more on deck.

Fuel economy fatwas are of a piece. Fuel-efficient cars have always been available – long before government decreed efficiency standards. And so were not-as-efficient cars, which emphasized other attributes – such as performance. Or size.

People were – once upon a time –  free to choose between, for instance a Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance with an eight liter V-8 … and a VW Beetle with a 1.6 liter four. Such choices no longer exist. Or rather, the choice has been made for us, by others.

Which is really odd, when you stop to think about it.

By what right does one person presume to dictate to others what their choices shall be? Or, what choices (if any) shall be available to them? What did Seinfeld used to say?

Who are these people?

You might ask your local Cadillac dealer about that.

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95 COMMENTS

  1. The new “Cadillac” is Lexus and Lexus is retaining and adding V8 models.

    No worry for GM – we’ll all happily reduce our living standard, to reward failure, and bail them out.

    • RE: “Number of federal agencies controlling everyone’s lives: 432”

      Mang, That’s Sad.

      In my prior life as a strong believer in The Constitution I’d find that extremely repugnant.

      I still do, only, Nowadays – as Freedomista – I’m not surprised.

      But, it’s still a Sad thing. …Jack-boot Bastards.

    • And this will continue to mushroom for as long as a majority believe government exists to “help” rather than to protect everyone’s equal right to not have aggressive violence visited upon them.

  2. I’m a life long BMW M customer. I’m livid the M4 is now a mass produce 6 cylinder that comes from the same line as regular BMW engines. M motors used to hand semi hand built on their own line. I’ll be keeping my S65 V8 and M6 V8 manual forever. Even though the 911 Targa is looking really good…

  3. Seems preposterous, but the WALL STREET JOURNAL has reported that if car prices would have fallen over the last 30 years like computer chip prices have fallen, you could now buy a brand new ROLLS ROYCE for $25. Yes, twenty five dollars.
    Seems like by now they could have devised a common in expensive car selling for $2000.

    • If I’m not mistaken, I believe that the current Tata Nano costs about $2500 brand new.

      And for me, hopefully my ELIO (eliomotors.com) is coming in 2015 — with 1 door, 2 seats, 3 wheels, 84 mpg highway, and $6800 MSRP.

  4. Eric,

    I love my 2010 Mustang GT. My benchmark is 15mph, I shoot to be under that because then I know I’ve really been enjoying running it through the gears! I don’t care if they pipe sound in through the speakers either, just the thought of getting up from my glass and steel prison in the sky, climbing into my Mustang and squeeling out of the parking lot is enough to keep me going in the afternoon.

    There is one “feature” that really pisses me off and that is voice every time I start it up that reminds me that “Sych is connected to your phone and is reminding you 911 is currently set to off.” How can I shut off the big brother voice?

    As to the quality and selection of products coming from the car industry you fail to ask “Who’s your Daddy?” When you take money from your mother-in-law you might have to bring the kids up there for Christmas and eat some fruitcake! Who’s your Daddy? When you take a bailout you might have to produce a volt, get in line, follow the rules. “Who’s your Daddy?”

    I used to try to understand how the airlines could continue to treat people like cattle, agree to the gate rape and not go out of business. If I exercised my free market right to drive instead of fly, well then I would really take a bite out of those willingly complicit totalitarians, if only a small bite. Turns out I can stay home all I want because big daddy just reaches around and picks my pocket to redistribute back to the airlines! So take that freedom loving masses of the world, we have the monopoly on force and give your money to whoever we want to! Then that money get recycled from the car dealers, airlines, banks, etc. into campaign contributions, a virtuous circle and if you mere member of the masses want to get to grandma’s funeral this weekend you have to bend over for the Stasi or show them your package on the xray! “Who’s your Daddy?”

    I’m thinking of moving up to the GT500, buy the glass pack, wake the neighbors, rattle the schoolroom windows when you go by and maybe those poor kids will remember when they get in their first eco-dung powered 2 cylinder 2030SUX.

  5. Eric,
    Your question, “where in the constitution?” was answered over a century ago. There is no constitution. With the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the game was over. Sherman, btw, was an Ohio Republican. It gave federal control over the economy.

    To list the further transgressions would fill a book, let alone a blog. Maybe it was summed up best by Steny Hoyer (D-MD) upon the passage of the Affordable Care Act(Obamacare) when he said it was a culmination of over 100 years of efforts by both Democrats and Republicans starting with Teddy Roosevelt. As much as I think Obama a lousy president, the he can’t entirely take the blame. He’s just standing on the shoulders of tyrants before him including the likes of LBJ an Reagan.

    Communism imploded the Soviet Union and it will do the same here…it’s only a matter of time.

  6. Dear Eric,
    The first car that I bought, in 1963 in Nashville, was a 1953 Ford 4-door sedan — with a V-8, their last flathead. It was a fine basic car that drove comfortably. However, I would have been just as satisfied with a Ford 6-cylinder engine.
    In 1961 we [two friends] stupidly got a worn-out 1941 Ford V-8 2-door sedan up to 94 mph on a wide-open four-lane section of Tenn./U. S. 70S — one of the then-few short four-lane sections into and out of Nashville. Just for a moment.
    Since the 1953 Ford, only Chrysler for me. As I mentioned to you before, my only car now is my 1972 Dodge Dart 2-door economy model [four factory extras] 225 slant six. It was my only new car.
    I never could grasp why people want high-powered engines unless for racing. I prefer to keep as much of my fuel money in my pocket as possible.
    I would never buy a GM product, ever. If I had the money back then, it would have been for me a loaded Chrysler Imperial or New Yorker [although as an “unreconstructed” paleo-Confederate, I detest that model name], never a Cadillac nor a Lincoln Continental. Mopar or No car, as the fans say.
    Thank you again for your courageous and interesting “blog”. You and most of your correspondents are a ray of hope that this ruined country has one last chance to save itself from its nigh complete 180-degree transformation. If only we had a non-traitorous military high command.

  7. “The last of the V-8 Interceptors… a piece of history!” Oh, I always wondered what would cause the extinction of the V-8s in the Mad Max future. Government regulation! 😉

  8. Thing is, plenty of consumers would like to have an updated Beetle (fixing some of the old Beetle’s problems, like no defrost). But you can’t buy a new Beetle now b/c it doesn’t have the safety features. As for consumers rejecting cars: the enviros would love it if you don’t buy a car. Please, don’t buy one! Ride a bicycle! It’s like the price of gasoline. How do you protest artificially inflated gasoline prices? If you say you are going to protest by driving less, that’s what the enviros want you to do: drive less. If you say you are going to protest by driving even more, you go broke from filling up the tank, and then you can’t drive as much. Either way, they win.

    • Spot on, Beetle.

      VW would still be selling the Beetle (in Mexico) had the car not been rendered illegal to manufacture.

      It’s outrageous.

      Wealth is in a very real way synonymous with health. Just as debt and poverty are associated with poor health.

      Government – purportedly in the name of “safety” – is making us poor. Which is making life harder and ourselves less healthy.

      Which isn’t very “safe,” is it…?

  9. Eric, you wrote “Will someone enlighten me where I can find the clause in the Constitution – allegedly the supreme law of the land – that endows the federal government with the rightful power to ____________________.”

    Now just fill in that blank Eric.

    Libertarians, freedom lovers, Constitutionalists, and all those others capable of critical thinking, who have escaped the clutches of government and media propaganda and are capable of critical thinking — can surely come up with HUNDREDS of items with which to fill in that blank!

    • Article 1, Section 8 was supposed to be a definitive, limited list. If Congresscritters would actually read and apply it, the FedGov budget could be reduced by 90-95%. Of course they also need to remember that, even if the Constitution grants them authority to do certain things, it does not mean they have a monopoly right to those powers.

      • Spot on, Phillip.

        In my personal experience, in years past, when I used to write hundreds of emails to my federal congress critters (before I realized it was pointless and only benefited me by venting, and so I quit doing it). . . on the incredibly RARE occasion when one of them would bother to respond with a basis for their treasonous violation of the Constitution; they would always cite the “general welfare” clause as their catch-all for doing whatever they damn well please.

        Of course, students of our foundational documents, their authors, and their intent; know that the “general welfare” clause was NEVER intended to give the bastards in DC carte blanche to do whatever-in-the-hell they want.

    • If you recognize that the federal government has overstepped the boundaries of its lawful jurisdiction and the we no longer have a constitutional government, it is time to take the next step and admit to yourself that because of these facts the ‘United States’ has not existed since before we all were born. The only possible way to get the rule of law back is for States to start having hearings about re-asserting their right of self-determination and leaving the ‘Union’. Before folks talk about the War of Northern Aggression they need to read the UN Charter where self-determination is recognized as a human right and all member nations must support it…

  10. Farewell to the V-8, and increasingly to our liberty as well. Unsettling to think that someday the fours and sixes might also be legislated away.

    It’s worth noting that the Constitution is not at fault here. No document can stand and fight for itself; that has to be done by those who live under it. If we and our elected officials are determined to ignore the Constitution, there’s nothing it can do on its own to assert itself.

    • I agree, Ross.

      Though I also believe that the Constitution was written for the purpose advocated by Hamilton – to establish an “energetic” (and eventually, consolidated) central government with effectively unlimited power.

      • I’m not sure if Madison was in cahoots with Hamilton, or Hamilton just hoodwinked him. But the evidence is pretty clear that Hamilton’s hatred of the British Empire was not grounded in hatred for the concept of empire, but in jealousy.

        • There’s a book called “James Madison and the making of America” by Kevin Gutzman. It is filled with notes from the Philadelphia convention et. al. Madison was mostly hoodwinked imo, but he drew some really strange conclusions on his own too. Hamilton was a traitor and a bastard from the beginning. According to Hamilton’s own words, England’s government was the greatest in the world. The constitution was sabotaged from the beginning. An authoritarian document to replace the much better articles of confederation.

          • Hamilton was defined by two things that define Clovers: An extreme sense of of his own superior wisdom – and the extreme desire to impose it by force on others.

            Non Clovers realize their judgment is not applicable to others – and have zero desire to impose anything on anyone.

            • Indeed, Eric. But you forget that clovers feel like we impose dangerous liberty on them by leaving them alone. That idea is terrifying to the clover. They desire wise overlords.

  11. I think an increase in the fuel tax would have been more appropriate than the CAFE. It would cause a shift to favor smaller and/or more fuel efficient vehicles, but it would permit vehicle manufacturers to offer different types of vehicles with any type and/or size engine as they deem appropriate.

    Europe has higher fuel costs, but they still have larger vehicles with larger thirstier engines. (Granted they are fewer in number, but they still are available.) Those who are able and willing to pay for the higher fuel and operating costs of the larger vehicles can do so.

    Soon it appears that people here will not have the option to buy larger, thirstier vehicles, even if it best meets their needs and/or they are will to buy it.

    • Gunvermin decisions are not made based on appropriateness. The goal is to both control and inconvenience us. Oh, and feed the egos of those making the decisions, especially the lower-level bureaucraps.
      Think the CAFE standards will ever apply to mass transit, like buses? If they based it on actual passenger miles, rather than theoretical capacities, they would still have a hard time justifying them.

    • While a fuel tax would be more transparent and more honest, it’s still an interference. Which gets to the difference between control freaks in the USA and europe. Americans think they can adopt european government powers and collectivism and think it will turn out like europe. Historical evidence should show us that the ruling class here, the petty control freaks, the whole system will weaponize these powers. They can’t be satisfied with what’s done in europe, they want it all.

  12. If only it were possible to buy a car sans engine and gearbox, then you could do what you like – much like older cars can be reworked with just about anything.

    I think automakers today have been successfully beaten out of thinking this way. Besides, the electrical control connections for many new cars are very difficult to hook up to a different engine.

    • You can technically do this with a kit car. The problem is that most kit cars are Shelby Cobra replicas which don’t make very good daily drivers or family haulers.

      If there were a company capable of doing so, you could technically offer a kit for an SUV/Pickup/Sedan. You could select wiring harness/engine mount/transmission options ect. but would you want to?

      Let’s say you wanted to save some money and build a 2015 Honda Civic alternative. Cheap, reliable and simple compared to a 20k new vehicle.

      Most new engines with ECU, transmission, accessories and sensors will run you 10-15k+. Now you have to add in the cost of a body PLUS assembly. All for a car that is a hacked together kit. Good luck with resale values or getting a bank to approve a loan on one of those.

      If you went with used parts then you could save a lot but would you feel comfortable with your wife/girlfriend/mother driving through the bad part of town in a shoddy built kit car full of used parts?

      • Hi Pedro,

        Agreed.

        The problem, fundamentally, is that it’s too costly to build a single car, or even a handful. But mass production brings to bear economies of scale.

        Probably, all the tooling for the original Beetle still exists. It is probably possible – from a technical/engineering standpoint – to build them again.

        They were selling brand-new in Mexico for about $8,000 circa 2002, IIRC.

        That’s what I’d like to see. Not necessarily the Beetle, just a car like the Beetle. A sensible, reliable, owner-fixable car capable of 35-40 MPG or better that could be purchased brand-new for under $10,000.

        But this would up-end the Debt Pyramid the American car industry is built upon.

        • It’s not just the car industry. The entire US economy, and much of the ‘developed’ world, is built on the debt pyramid.

    • Rev, I lament the “good old days” when cars could be ordered that way. That’s what the performance builders did and even some dealer/builders such as Yenko.

  13. I hate government so bad. Toyota just starts building full, full size trucks and SUV’s and some stupid assclown bureaucrats have to put the kibosh on v8 engines. Outside of a diesel, there’s nothing better than a supercharged 5.7 litre Tundra. RIP v-8’s. One day in the not so distant future it may be the bureaucrats who killed you, resting in a hopefully not so peaceful way.

    • ancap51 says, “I hate government so bad.”

      It’s too bad you’re seemingly outnumbered and the many Love empire.

      For instance, So I walk into this, uh, “high class bar”.
      It looks like it’s two steps this side of going bankrupt.
      I order a Miller Genuine Draft figuring they’d appreciate my order.
      A guy focused on an I-Pad thingie waves and the bartendress says it’s, On The House.
      Who wouldn’t feel comfortable at that?

      As I left, I asked the bartendress, “so what would happen if I lit up a cigarette?”

      With a snide smirk she said she’d have to twist my arm and walk me out.

      Boy was that funny,

      I asked her if it was just her alone, and her answer made it seem like it was worth doing just for kicks and messing with a chick.

      When I lit up a cigarette the guy who bought me a beer who seemingly was self absorbed in his I-Pad or whatever suddenly came to life in an obnoxious way.
      Boy, did he act pissed. The way he reacted, it was equivalent to me squeezing his girlfriends tit.
      I kept thinking, the state has a penalty of fifty Dollars for smoking in a bar and I would gladly pay that for the pleasure. [Well, Not “gladly”]
      But he didn’t have that thought in mind.
      All he waned to do was kick my ass if I lingered a second too long.

      I sure did feel good lighting up a smoke and puffing it out onto all those empire-loving bastards as I slowly walked out the door.

      No, really,… that story tells you a smidgen why the V-8 is out the door.
      It’s the wimpification of Americans. Browbeat, boot licking is the ‘New” American way. A.k.a. Brown nosing Ass kissing, suck-up dweebs.

      • Sadly, I concur.

        I had the same sinking feeling last time I flew. I was the only one who objected to the scan, who radiated contempt for the TSA. My fellow Americans not only meekly/obediently “complied,” they clearly were annoyed by my open expressions of disgust and disdain.

        I feel a kinship for HG Wells, whose tombstone reads: “God damn you all, I told you so.”

        • If for no other reason, this is why I like the Free State Project so much. Even though there are only 1600 people who have moved so far, the atmosphere in New Hampshire is wonderful.

          I am _never_ the only person protesting, the only person objecting, the only person offended. Imagine an anti-war protest, even with a (D) in the Whitehouse!

          • Sometimes I regret having moved from NH. I lived there for several years quite some time ago but the winters were too much for me even then when I was younger.

            Politically I found it far preferable to most anything else in the Northeast, though, and most of the state is rural once you get away from the Taxachussetts border area.

              • I think that’s the key to having at least a modicum of freedom in the encroaching police state, living in an area where there are not a lot of people around and you can be largely left alone. The best situation would be one in which you can’t even see your neigbors’ property, and you have tree cover to help foil drone and satellite surveillance. Go into town once a week for supplies and be done with it.

                I’m in an area now that used to be the butt end of nowhere (comparitively speaking), but in the last 20 years has gotten very built up. There’s hardly a field that hasn’t been turned into a McMansion housing development and what once were little-traveled country roads now are busy thorofares that suffer from major traffic jams during rush hour. There are cops all over the place, plus traffic lights and surveillance cameras at most intersections.

                If it were up to me alone I’d already be out of here but the wife doesn’t share my views. (Choose your spouse carefully guys!)

                • My situation exactly Jason. I would have expatriated a long time ago, were it not for the fact that my wife of 40 years and I have two grown adult children, and two grandchildren – all stateside – and my wife refuses to leave the country and leave them all behind, even though she is fully awakened and aware of what is going on in this country. But she is quite the gal none the less! Just yesterday she told me that she wanted me to buy yet another handgun, to carry concealed (as I already have a concealed carry permit and so does she), as she said she would feel safer if I was carrying when we are out, instead of just my planning on beating off assailants with my cane.

                • Amen, Jason.

                  Your situation described mine to a “t.”

                  It’s weird how everything just kind of fell to piece simultaneously… .

                  No doubt, they’re inter-related.

                  When I was earning a very decent income as a MSM columnist, my home life was great. Now, it’s not – and the effing money is almost certainly the main reason why.

      • Your story illustratesany things to me Helot.
        1. Who sits on an iPad at a bar?
        2. Who likes government smoking bans?
        3. How do you gain any fulfilment or happiness from life if you ever concern yourself with government dictat?

        Answer is that real people don’t. Drones are the majority. Real People are the minority. I take the Tom Woods approach. Since there aren’t very many libertarians out there, I will create my own small army of libertarian anarchists. I have 2 in learning and one on the way. My wife is a convert, although at times she is nervous the state may kill me or all of us at times. Too late to worry. My 5 and 2 year old already hate the cops and question people who revere the state in any way.

        This site kicks ass. I’m glad I found it. The only minority I’m in here is my age. I’m used to that though. People my age are generally dumbfucks. I usually get along with the 45 and older crowd, as they at least have a tendency to question some things a little more than my generation. If people at least have free tendencies, you can work with that. Drones, not so much.

      • The good and bad news

        If there is hope,’ wrote Winston, ‘it lies in the proles.’

        If there was hope, it MUST lie in the proles, because only there in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 per cent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated.

        This view, however, is challenged by O’Brien, who claims the proles would never revolt because they have no need to do so, so long as they are kept well-fed and distracted (Foootball as Eric says). The novel alludes to the unwillingness or inability of the proles to organize politically, noting that any prole suspected of independent thought is simply marked down by the Thought Police to be killed, further decreasing the possibility of revolution. None of the characters suggest the Party could collapse internally, due to the absolute control it exerts over the lives and emotions of its members.
        (Are you a donkey or elephant party member?)

    • The Tundras will be in a few years, the ONLY pickup left with a V-8

      its a corporate average requirement, not per vehicle, so the low sales numbers of the tundra compared to the F-150 will be a good thing

      toyota sells enough small cars to off set the gass guzzling tundras, and I drive one,
      a 2012 crewmax 2wd 5.7 from my employer , and its gets super mpg,
      15 city and 19 hwy, very good for a 6000 lb vehicle with a 400 HP engine.

      when you floor it, that baby will flat MOVE !
      and sounds soooo good doing it,
      with a totally stock exhaust and no fake electronic engine soundtrack playing thru the radio speakers like Ford and BMW are now doing.

      the newest vehicle we have is a 04 expedition and a 00 Beetle tdi
      both purchased at auction
      when they start giving problems, my next vehicle is gonna be a 89 K-5 Blazer,
      I will NOT buy any thing newer ever again, they are just needlessly complex and expensive and impossible to repair,

      my 16 yr old has a 76 Chevy pickup.

  14. I’m seeking clarification…..

    Will it be literally “illegal” for an automaker to sell a brand that fails to meet it’s CAFE quota?

    Or would that brand simply face gigantic “gas guzzler” penalties that could be passed on to the consumer (if enough consumers were theoretically willing to pay for that?)

    Either way, the end result might be very similar.

    But in my mind, there is a Big Difference.

    • CAFE is the average across the entire corporation, brands don’t matter. CAFE is one of the ways where US politicians demonstrate just how manipulative they are. They could have just taxed fuel. Instead they did CAFE. This is so the costs are hidden, the automakers are blamed, and the politicians say -they- gave us fuel efficient cars. Actual engineers get no credit.

      BMW has more less thumbed its nose at CAFE for years, MB too as I understand it. The CAFE taxes are rolled into the price of the cars.

      As CAFE gets higher and higher something will have to give. The whole thing will break in some way. It has to. Either the product offerings dwindle to crap few want or the CAFE tax just becomes another expense or something else. Maybe the government lets the automakers pretend they meet it, the way states pretended people obeyed the 55mph NMSL. But that will crack too over time.

      • Hi Brent,

        I think we’ve reached – or are very close to reaching – the “break” point. BMW, et al, are the canaries in the coal mine. For awhile – as you’ve noted – they simply charged more for their cars, folding the CAFE compliance costs into the vehicles’ price. And people still bought.

        But it’s clear to me that they’ve concluded the compliance costs have become or about to become too onerous. Else why the sudden rush to much smaller engines across the product portfolio?

        Bear in mind that the 54.5 CAFE mandate looms not far ahead. 2020, IIRC. That’s a bit more than five years away – and as you know, product planning cycles for the 2020 model year are already under way.

        • That’s the more or less part. They do try to minimize the costs. They still have to compete price wise. Also the CAFE tax is driven by how much under the standard a company is. As the standard gets higher the taxes get larger if the average doesn’t go up with it.

  15. The main thing that’s keeping Cadillac alive right now is the Escalade, which is actually a fancy Tahoe. Were it not for the Escalade, Cadillac would have joined Pontiac and Oldsmobile. And how much longer will that be able to go on?

    The demise of the CTS-V, along with the DTS, is a major disappointment.

    • The idea was not unsound, but the execution was! Today’s cylinder deactivation systems operate on the same principle – but without problems, because the engineering has caught up to the idea…

      • I guess these days it makes more sense to slap a turbo on a smaller engine than try to make a big one more efficient.

          • Yeah, and the emissions regs, too. EPA? Throw it in the woods – even if I believed the Global Warming BS. I don’t see that anywhere in Article 1, Section 8.

          • Cars these days are obviously weighed down by all the SAAAAAAFETY crap that’s been mandated, reducing fuel efficiency up hill and on acceleration.

            With or without a load, except when the load is contained outside, such as on a roof rack, trailer, or heavy hauler without a container, aerodynamic drag always remains the same regardless the weight.

            Let’s use that to our advantage:

            If you’re heavier, you should be able to use less throttle downhill, or even coast. Coming up to a red light in the distance, coasting will help, but not much in the city unless you have a decent run between lights and ample warning of them changing.

            Most fuel injected engines have a fuel cutoff above 1500-2000 RPM when the throttle’s closed and decelerating. On a long, steep hill, if your auto is decelerating above the fuel cutoff RPM, you’re doing better than coasting. Otherwise, chuck it in neutral if you can. It’s not hard to figure this out.

            Don’t brake unnecessarily. I see far too many a c_lover doing this – or even RIDING THE BRAKE PEDAL accelerating from the lights! That’s just stupid and dangerous.

            Another stupid and dangerous c_lover tactic is to get in the fast lane and refuse to pass, increasing their own aerodynamic drag and annoying the feck out of all in the vicinity.

            Find someone going a speed you like and stay 2 seconds behind them. This will help you stay in their wake, unless there’s a decent cross-wind. Although trucks create a much bigger wake, stay further behind because they tend to spit more rocks into your windscreen and paintwork.

            Boost your tyre pressures to ensure optimal contact patch. Avoid using manufacturer’s pressures (usually listed inside the door) as they tend to be way too soft. These days, with a rear wheel drive and front mounted engine, 35PSI front and 30-32 rear is better for safety and economy. If you load up with gear, go a few PSI more in the rear. A bit less for small cars unless you have low-profile tyres.

            In all my travels around Oz, these factors remain true. Many times when I was driving in the Army, even in a truck with aerodynamics approaching something like the White House, I managed to coast past an identical Army truck with a reduced load compared to mine.

            Adjusting tyre pressures for load, on level ground no more fuel need be used. Extra fuel used up hill can be negated on the downhill with a bit of forethought.

            I’m sure Eight would have some input here due to his huge mileage.

            • Rev, Eight is a regulated guy, 71mph…..but…..it doesn’t hold it to that speed going downhill so I let er rip and can reach 77 on some downhills. It would save fuel if I could keep my foot slightly into it and run faster downhill and then get back into it to cruise over a hill I’d normally have to keep the pedal to the metal to not have to change gears….or when I have to change gears. I’m running a big Cummins now and I don’t have anything but last gear hills for the most part. That’s nice but getting passed on the interstate sucks. And so many trucks, brand spanking new are much slower than mine, speed limited. They pull good but it’s tough to make up for 60mph at the bottom of a long, steep grade.

              As far as weight goes, some quarries are at the top of hills. One quarry I sometimes load at is steep enough that all I have to do is let off the brake and coast to where i can use 6th gear and then let the engine and a bit of brake hold the speed down to the scalehouse. It’s like that leaving too. First gear off the scales and soon I can grab 7th and let it roll against it to the first corner. It’s after that corner that everything is mainly uphill and that’s when all that power comes in handy.

              When I was 23 and had my first big rig, my wife and I were headed to the east coast with a load of cotton. I was in a hurry so when we dropped off Ranger Hill, and infamous/famous hill on I-20, I kicked it into Georgia overdrive. We were soon going too fast to use any gear. Must have been doing over 100 mph by the bottom and I’d had to weave through those fools using the passing lane to lounge in. We thought we’d seen our last. Finally got our breaths back about Ft. Worth. That broke me of Georgia Overdrive if the grade was more than something I might reach 80 maximum. I still use it at low speeds when I can see there is no traffic simply because the rig rides much better and it’s easier on everything if it’s just rolling.

          • My current ride is a 2002 Honda CRV. I was a bit worried about getting such an old used car (back in May) but then I drove it.

            It’s wonderfully light. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep it on the road, but it’s going to be as long as I can.

            • 2002 Honda? LOL. It should last at least another 30 years! I read that Mercedes engineers are impressed with Japanese precision.

              (My 1984 MBZ 500SEC is still running just fine. I will be installing HHO on it soon–because I finished testing it on my other MBz.)

  16. The bailout has to be coming into play here also. There was a time when GM would defend their products despite political campaigns against them – the Corvair in the sixties, the “exploding” Chevy trucks of the seventies. Now they are just another crony corporation playing nice in time for the next recession. Carrot and stick.

    And I’m going to sound like a geezer, but it does kinda hurt that a company which used to be an example of American ingenuity, has been reduced to what they are now, especially given the depths that they built themselves back up from. It wasn’t fuel efficient six cylinders that turned Cadillac around. GM may as well ax the Cadillac brand.

    I’m gonna go drive my ’68 Oldsmobile in memorandum.

    • There’s a 5.7L V-8 (LT1) in my 96′ Fleetwood Broughm and I love that car! My fuel mileage isn’t that bad either; around 17 in town and 25 on the highway but that’s also on 100% real gas. I don’t allow ethanol anywhere close to him (Mr. Cadi) 🙂

      • Spoken like a Texan. Caddy’s used to be the go-to car here. Long distances, lots of comfort and long legs for high speed. 15 years ago they were thick. Now I hardly see one.

        • Caddy has lost its “Caddyness.”

          They have become another Infiniti-BMW-Mercedes.

          The whole luxury-sport thing.

          When Cadillac was Cadillac, it built titans of the road, avatars of comfort and presence.

          I miss that.

          • My Grandpa was a dairy farmer. One of his friends (back in the ’60s) used to always drive Caddies because they had the only trunk big enough to hold 4 bull calves for the auction.

    • That is cronyism for ya. Sell your soul to the ideological bureaucrat. Big business thinks that it is control of big government because they bought it. But they haven’t.

      Let me be clear, its the unelected bureaucrat that is in charge. They have an agenda and it doesn’t include input from those outside government. They don’t care about GM and they certainly don’t give a crap about their customers.

      Big business has been duped into being a unwitting accomplice to this power grab. One day it will find itself locked out in the hall, like the rest of us already are. One day they will no longer be useful for those bureaucrats. And the great unwashed will cheer it……..when that happens. You just know it because its part of the plan. Why do you think Barry talks about class warfare?

      These bureaucrats don’t care that GM and Chrysler (and eventually Ford and all the foreign automakers) for will never really recover because they have engineered it. They have made it so those companies are dependent on government handouts. That cannot be truly independent anymore. Back 50-60 years ago Henry Ford II or someone like him could tell the US government to go f**k itself. Remember when they talked about how when things were good for GM that it was also good for the nation?

      Now auto execs can’t call the shots because if they build too many un-PC vehicles, guess what, no bailout next time. So we lose V-8’s and we get black boxes. They can’t ban big engines outright, so they slowly make them impossible.

      So cars like the Dodge Charger and Chevy SS became leftovers of what used to be the norm. I highly doubt either will exist a decade from today. I want one just so I have them as a museum piece.

      Imagine going back in time and telling a common man on the street in 1975 and tell him that in 2015 Cadillac would have a truck in the lineup but not have a V-8 powered car, that person would think you were crazy. But the seeds of that had already been planted back then. The SUV would never been as big as it had the government not stuck its unwanted fingers in the auto business. The SUV is the result of those plans not going to plan so even unwitting consumers at least got to poke the feds in the eye. For a while anyway. That truck will be going next.

      Most people can’t even imagine what automakers would be making if we had a true free market. If automakers weren’t sucking our tax dollars out of our pockets. Could automakers be profitable. You better believe they could!

      We wouldn’t have idiotic cars like the Volt, Pruis, Fisker, Tesla, or the “Smart” car. We would have more truly inexpensive new cars (like sub $10k). And we would have cars more like the ones from the glory days and fewer appliance like vehicles. Un-PC cars with V-8’s or even bigger. Because the customer would be king again and calling the shots.

      The auto business is just a symptom of a much larger and more scary problem we have today. Right now it doesn’t look good.

      • There is technical term called ‘regulatory capture,’ whereby Big Bidness gets the gunvermin to reduce their competition by creating an agency to put up barriers to entry. Then they think that they can take over the agency by providing the muckety-mucks at the top. And to some extent they do, a la the revolving door between the upper echelons of the FDA and Big Pharma. But the trenches are filled with ‘civil service’ bureaucraps. So the capture becomes mutual, and everyone loses.
        Funny picture (you can imagine it if you haven’t actually seen it) – ‘Smart’ snuggled between 2 Suburbans, caption “not so smart now, is it?”

        • I’ve seen that pic. Pretty funny. I have seen one Smart car, in Mexico. I have never seen one in Tx. It really wouldn’t be the ticket for most of the state.

          • There’s one in the parking garage at work. A lady drives it. I’ve seen a few other “Smart” (dumb) cars in Texas.

      • scawarren, about a month ago a whole crew of our people got to see first hand how effective seatbelts are in saving lives, esp. since it was a big rig where they’re now mandatory and I have one ticket this year for not wearing one in the accident I was in where I got run over from behind by another big rig and would have suffered a great deal more if I hadn’t been loose to fly forward. But this driver who pulled his rig out in front of a rig-up truck in really bad conditions due to so much dirt in the air from road construction was really saved by that belt, ok, so it was a moot point. His cab was sheared off by the rig-up truck and cab was thrown quite a ways and he was thrown even further. He was all balled up in a barbed wire fence on down the way. I’m sure his widow will be glad he was so well-protected. But bureaucrats will keep demanding big rig operators are made to pay too, even no study as yet has shown there is an advantage to using a seat belt in a big rig and probably not really one that shows it in cars either. But “It’s the Law”.

        • All they need Eight, is to get the idiots off the road that cause crashes and seat belts/crumple zones/air bags/ABS/ESP will be pointless.

          But the system likes idiots. It ensures more reason to control and fine (rob) us at gunpoint.

          • Rev, too many idiots. I now run with my lights on, something I never considered before. In the construction zone I got run over in, another wreck involving a couple big rigs and 3 cars with fatalities was in process of loading dead and survivors in 5 ambulances. A big rig driver(Radio commercial I hear several times a day Be a big rig driver, earn $300/day, call for more info, health insurance, blah blah blah)ran over one of the EMT’s so there was another fatality. This is in a county with 1.8 people per square mile but thousands of oil wells and the most oil field traffic I’ve seen by about a factor of ten. It’s insane. In fact, that wreck happened in nearly the exact spot mine happened. There are these guys who get their license and get pushed real hard by the companies and don’t know enough about driving or anything else to handle the job. Also, when I got run over, the driver gets out, cellphone in hand with earpods. Huge sets of rumble strips and all sorts of wild signs telling you to slow for about a mile and then signs saying to stop. He misses them all, about 3 in a bright Tx. afternoon. He either had no pupils or his eyes were all pupil.

            Today I’m driving along in the rain and this truck just comes across the stripe(same road, different county, about 25 miles N of my other wreck), finally jerks it back to his lane as I decide to head for the barditch. I had on a maximum load, as usual. Most loads in that madhouse are at least maximum if not overlength, overheight, overwidth and overweight with some being all of those. And now they’ve decided to fund a new wind generation field right in among all that oilfield expansion so we now have an increase in truck traffic of extra-legal loads carrying all those big pieces and parts of wind generators.

            I really would like to find a good videographer who’d go with me every day and document all that could be seen in the places I go. It would be mind-boggling to nearly anyone. 30 years old and good looking woman wouldn’t hurt my feelings either. Seriously though, I’d like to get anyone who could take it to perform that job. It wouldn’t be easy, esp. on those 16 hr days I drive well over the legal maximum mileage.

            • Eight, maybe get an action cam and mount it on a swivel so it can see wherever you point it. Likely cheaper and fewer complaints than a female videographer. Might smell better too by the end of the day.. 😉

      • If they ban the SUV, “poor” old Al Goreacle wouldn’t be able to arrive and leave in one for his private jet after another useless climate march.

        Let’s limit the weight of the POTUS’ own limo. That’s like getting the EPA to tun the Earth in reverse – although they think they have that capability.

          • Thanks Garysco. John Coleman has been trying to get this message across to the paid-off mainstream media for years. So have many others. Other MSM outlets are finally letting the message out as well, but the lies and money are built on each other so this so-called man made catastrophe will be around for some time yet, attempting to steal yet more from our wallets.

            • What! Take some revenue away from the politicians best doners? Never happen until USA revolution #2.

              They are already charging for carbon in CA, and much more in fuel taxes after the first of the year. And the other developed countries of the planet will always follow the California incubator. Facts damned (if the MSM is forced into reporting they will probably declare him crazy in need of therapy, just like the old USSR).

        • Rev, it would have to be very sophisticated to take out the shake. I don’t have time to look a great many directions. I suppose covering the same, similar territory I might get most of it but a videographer would get much more.
          Might be an eye opener for what a trucker is saying to you in lots of cases. Show you how to shift….and how not to. It would really show how PoLeez and state troopers pick their victims though.

      • Went by a small school track even this week. Nothing but Tahoes and Suburbans as far as the eye could see. Back in my day it would have been big sedans and station wagons.

        • The new CAFE regs – which apply equally to “light trucks” and passenger cars now – are going to extinct SUVs as a class. A few high-end models (and some very small “crossover” SUVs like the Honda CR-V, etc.) may survive. But full-size/RWD and V-8 powered mass-market SUVs are dead men walking.

          • I tell my children to “take a good look” at our Sequoia — the V-8, family freedom machine — since they’ll be long by the time they are grown. At least it’s a way to teach them to hate government. Not a difficult lesson these days, sad to say.

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