Trucks everywhere, but barely a hybrid
The US auto industry is back, well, kind of. Sure GM still has to file its IPO in order to pay back tax payers and Chrysler still has a lot of work to do, but overall the Big 3 have made huge gains since bankruptcy. Might the future be even brighter?
Maybe, but it seems hard to believe a better future is just around the corner without pickup trucks driving us there.
Next year, GM is going to produce about 10,000 Chevy Volts. The following year about 45,000 Volts.
Last month Ford sold 109,649 light trucks on the path to a $2.2 billion second quarter profit, largely driven by trucks according to Manny Lopez of the DetroitNews.
Likewise, GM sold 125,527 light trucks in July and Chrysler, 71,584 trucks.
Inevitably, trucks are still the Big 3's bread and butter, and it's doubtful that truck drivers are going to give up their pickups for a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Prius. It's even harder to imagine that US automakers can even survive without pickup truck profits.
Consequently, not only does the government now offer great tax incentives on plug-in vehicles, but also on gas guzzling trucks via the Section 179 deduction – when in doubt, the government loves to play it both ways. Yet, doesn't this conflict of interests eventually have to be resolved in some manner?
Certainly, there is much merit behind plug-in tax credits. Unfortunately, however, plug-in tax credits offer little to change the most important vehicle sold by the Big 3, pickups.
Similarly, Section 179 helps assure that gas-guzzling trucks stay popular. So, why not promote ONLY fuel efficient technologies via Section 179? Would it wipe away the much needed profit margins of trucks?
Foreign oil dependence. Global warming. Nothing offers more reduction potential than pick-up trucks. Obviously, trucks represent one big bull of a problem for achieving change, but at some point someone is going to have to grab the horns.