Stories like this push me over the edge.
With the new Chevrolet Tahoe selling briskly, General Motors Corp. told workers at three assembly plants that it will increase production of its family of new full-size SUVs by about 11,000 to 12,000 a year, a GM spokesman said Tuesday.
Despite high gas prices, GM expects strong demand for its new large SUVs coming to market, including the new Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL. They are among the company's most profitable vehicles.
GM will increase the number of large SUVs coming off the production lines at plants in Janesville, Wis., and Arlington, Texas, in June and at Silao, Mexico, in July, GM spokesman Dan Flores said.
GM is driving, Thelma & Louise-style, toward a spectacular failure. The future belongs to the nimble, efficient manufacturers of nimble, efficient cars -- the mammals to the lumbering dinosaurs, consuming the bare minimum of increasingly dear dinosaur juice. In general I have little sympathy for GM as a company, which has been spectacularly bad at taking on the Japanese onslaught. (I do feel for the workers.)
But "strong demand for large SUVs"? It now costs nearly $100 to fill up these dreadnaughts, and with mileage in the low teens, that must be a frequent occurrence. And the next supply shock in the Middle East will send prices even higher.
As libruls go, I have a pretty strong libertarian streak. If you want to buy (or make) something this mind-bogglingly stupid, I wouldn't prevent it through legislation. But I am a big believer in using the law to internalize externalities, and I am convinced that Americans are not paying the true cost of driving these atavistic rolling fortresses.
Anyways. In the longer term, GM is playing while Rome burns, but it is hard to fault them from a shareholder standpoint for seeking profits by supplying the 4-wheeled hallucinogen Americans still insist on arming themselves with. I don't think the buying public deserves the blame for GM's impending failure. But Jeebus, what stoopidity.