Carmakers Busy In Frankfurt Trying To Turn Green into Green

But can they do well by doing good?

By Alex Ricciuti

09.19.2007

Frankfurt: …um…I know, euros aren’t green, they come in different colors, just like my own great Canadian currency, but I’m sure you are all familiar with that expression.

Yes, the question is, with the theme this year at the IAA in Frankfurt being “Green is Good”, will it translate into profitability for automakers or just added costs that consumers will not be willing to absorb?

It has been building to this for several months now as more and more automotive coverage, and news in general, is devoted to addressing the issue of global warming. The threat of climate change has penetrated the popular consciousness over the last year or so in a way that it had never done before. And that’s good.

After all, with more than 100 years of the internal combustion engine, inside of which humans went from first flight to the moon in just 66 years, isn’t it about time that we move onto something more advanced, more efficient? Imagine for a moment an alien race out there watching our development. They must be thinking, what’s with these humans? They get a new cellphone every six months but still need to burn oil coming out of the ground to get around?

Also, are 20 to 30 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions per vehicle enough to stave off global warming when we are actually producing more cars worldwide and India and China are rising industrial powerhouses hungry for energy and producing ever increasing CO2 emissions?Not according to scientists.

There have been indications (real numbers and not just hype) that consumers in Germany are beginning to buy more eco-friendly cars. Automakers also make more money on diesels than they do on petrol cars, about 8,000 euros more, according to one recent study. As automakers incorporate these new fuel-saving technologies across their platforms and model range their own costs will come down and more and more of these features will become standard and expected by consumers. We can rest assured they will profit from it. We are wealthy societies and we can afford to add 5 percent or so to the cost of the cars we buy. I’m not sure about consumers in India, China and the rest of the world.

Emissions will keep rising until something drastic is done about it or something drastic happens.

Alex Ricciuti is a freelance writer and automotive journalist based in Zurich, Switzerland. He writes frequently for Automotive News Europe.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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3 Comments

  1. Lots of companies do well by doing good, and companies that make cars can do the same. Look at the sales results and positive public opinion generated for Toyota through sales of the Prius, which actually has fairly dubious value in terms of actual “goodness”. Nonetheless, Toyota does well with the car.

    Think of the sales and goodwill generated by an mass-produced EV that looks and drives like a real car and can go, say, 100 miles between charges.

  2. Well, some car companies do badly by doing bad. Just ask the big three how their balance sheets look with their product line-up so heavy with gigantic SUV’s.

  3. If you want to watch some video blogs
    about the IAA in Frankfurt, The Club of Pioneers have made a video special about the event, focusing on sustainability. We would love to hear your feedback too!
    http://www.clubofpioneers.com/blogs/iaa/technology.php

    Joni – Editor

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