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I agree 100% with Jim and Steve.

Diesel (for the foreeable future) is the way to go with current technology.
IMNSHO, the only folks who are buying Priuses (Priusii?) are those folks
who, when it comes right down to it, really don't like cars all that much
and don't know their way around under a hood.

It's kinda like Volvo in the pre-Ford days, who marketed their vehicles by
saying "Since you have gritted your teeth and decided to buy a car, buy our
ugly s**tbox, because you'll have the least chance of dying in it, and no
one will mistake you for a car enthusiast."

More seriously, Daimler Chrysler is marshalling its resouces into promoting
diesel rather than hybrid vehicles.  Unlike gas vehicles, which generally
don't do as well in real life as the EPA ratings show, diesels do the
opposite under the current tesing procedures.  I suspect that is because
diesels are fantastically efficient at idle (think: traffic jams, stopping
at lights around town), which is underweighted in the current test.  That's
why you see truckers sleeping in their idling rigs at 3:00 am.  Remember, a
diesel idles by throttling back the fuel supply to say, a 100:1 mix, unlike
a gas engine which cuts both the air/fuel supply but retains a constant
roughly14:1 mix.  My Dad's Ram 250 Cummins 4X4 gets an honest 29 mpIg in the
real world versus about 9mpIg for a Ford F250 Triton.

The real reason for the current GM/Ford crisis are retirement benefit costs,
which for GM in the US are approaching $3000 per viehicle according to a
report I read a few days ago.  The costs to GM Canada are about half that
due to medical cost savings.

Like Steve said, sales are still pretty good despite the "I told you so's"
from the SUV-haters lobby trying to tell us otherwise.  There will always be
a huge core market for traditional trucks and SUVs.  If that market is
dying, why the frantic efforts from Toyota, Honda and especially Nissan to
bring out more bigger, more powerful trucks for the last three years?  Ever
seen the size of the new Tundras and Forerunners?

Leigh

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