"Holden boss wants Ford's gas guzzler outlawed
By Toby Hagon
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday December 10 2002
Holden took a swipe at arch-rival Ford yesterday as it called for the Federal Government to force the development of more environmentally friendly cars.
The nation's biggest car maker said that any increase in fuel consumption -- such as the minor one recently initiated by Ford with its heavily revised Falcon -- was "inexcusable".
Speaking yesterday at a lunch to outline the company's busiest year of new product releases in its 54-year history, Holden's chairman and managing director, Peter Hanenberger, said the increasing demands of export markets should encourage Australian car manufacturers to improve efficiency.
"One thing that has concerned me about the fuel economy debate in this country has been the line that 'It's only a few extra dollars a week'," said Mr Hanenberger. "We are talking about a finite resource and deteriorating fuel economy performance is inexcusable.
"It becomes harder to protect Australia's environmental quality if some car makers take a 'few extra dollars a week' approach."
Holden has set its own internal goals for 2010 ahead of an imminent government move to impose strict economy guidelines, similar to those enforced upon United States car makers in the form of the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations.
"The industry has proposed to the Federal Government that a national fuel consumption average of 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres could be achieved by 2010 if the right environment is in place," Mr Hanenberger said.
However, critics believe that Holden is clutching on to one of a handful of advantages its latest Commodore has over the vastly improved Ford Falcon. The BA Falcon has been widely praised as having made a huge leap forward to the point where it is now the benchmark in the fiercely-contested large car class.
But Holden still holds on to a fuel economy advantage at a time when the new Falcon uses more fuel than its predecessor due to a significantly heavier body. Ford's general manager of communications, Louise Teesdale, said the added weight in the Falcon was unfortunate, but necessary.
"We would have preferred not to inherit a small disadvantage in fuel economy, but that was partially a pay-off for the expensive additional safety equipment that was incorporated into this car," Ms Teesdale said.
Holden also announced plans for a $6 million research and development hub in Port Melbourne that will create more jobs and help cement the company's long-term plans as a global manufacturer of niche products.
Mr Hanenberger said the centre -- dubbed Holden Innovation -- would promote product innovation as well as innovation in safety, information technology and crash avoidance.
"These areas will extend Holden's planning capabilities well beyond generally applied horizons of five years," Mr Hanenberger said."
and what about the LS1