Did Detroit fudge facts on auto mileage?

 (Another area where the white man resistance to change is to everyone else’s detriment.)


Did Detroit fudge facts on auto mileage?

Yes, a former GM economist says. Consumer research was manipulated to show buyers wanted big, gas-guzzling vehicles — the automakers’ most profitable.


Car on highway © Brand X/SuperStockDetroit insisted for years that customers preferred big, gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups — which were also their most profitable vehicles.

Actually, a former General Motors (MTLQQ) economist says, the opposite was true — and he, along with others, helped fudge all the data.

As Energy & Environment News reported, GM often received outside data during the 1990s showing that consumers were interested in fuel economy.

Walter McManus routinely dismissed it.

"The survey would estimate that people would estimate fuel economy fairly highly," McManus told Energy & Environment News. "Being a good economist, I said, ‘No, they don’t,’ and I changed the results," because it wasn’t in line with auto-industry beliefs.

In fact, "there was a systematic bias against such results," he added.

McManus is now a professor and chief of the Automotive Analysis division of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

"Our job was not to seek the truth, but to justify decisions that had already been made. (Those decisions are) being made by upper-middle-class white males, by and large. They don’t understand that the customers are not the same as they are."

McManus’ comments came in an interview about a new fuel efficiency report, issued last week by Citigroup, that says the new federal CAFE standards for average fuel economy  — 35.5 mpg by 2016 — will benefit the auto industry as well as consumers.

McManus was lead analyst for the study.

Consumers would benefit from fuel savings, the study found, but automakers would benefit by producing vehicles "that everyone wants."

The report projects that profits for Ford Motor (F), GM and Chrysler Group would increase by a combined total of $3 billion a year from selling more-efficient vehicles, while Japanese auto companies’ collective profits from U.S. sales would rise by just $800 million a year.

That’s because the Japanese already sell fairly efficient autos and wouldn’t see as much of a sales volume gain as would the U.S. automakers.

Once the market offers a wider selection of more fuel-efficient vehicles, McManus said in the interview, consumers will come to realize that they want them.

"People have a hard time thinking about their fuel savings," he said. "It’s hard for people to understand the abstract, that a mile per gallon means this many dollars saved every month.

But if you actually start experiencing by driving the vehicle, then you understand it."

And when the industry is producing the vehicles that people want, he said, the rules of supply and demand mean that they can charge more for the cars and trucks that meet that demand.

Did Detroit fudge facts on auto mileage?- Market Dispatches – MSN Money

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