While Chrysler’s alt-fuel plans for the future—and its integrity—seem uncertain at best, its cross-town rival General Motors is trying to make good on its fuel efficient pledges in a different way. This includes (finally) offering a Hummer with E85 flex-fuel capabilities, as promised in 2007.
Oh, and for those who are wishing for a Volt sub-brand, keep wishing. GM has no plans of spinning off the Volt as a brand of its own (as Toyota might do with the Prius). That won’t stop the General from spreading its hybrid drivetrain across other models, however.
Hummer isn’t exactly an eco-friendly brand, and GM recently sold it to a Chinese company for a scant $150 million. But for 2010, GM is finally offering a Hummer with its flex-fuel capable 320 horsepower 5.3 liter V8 engine. This engine is capable of 11/16 MPG running E85 in the Silverado XFE pickup truck, though it will get only 9/12 MPG in either Hummer model. The engine will come standard on all Hummer H3 models and, well… meh. Hummer, if it exists at all in five years, will be a totally different beast.
Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp., who finalized a deal with GM for the Hummer brand last month, also gained control of Hummer’s extensive dealer network. Chinese cars are coming, sooner rather than later. It also isn’t likely this flex-fuel engine will carry over once the ink is dry on the deal. So, like I said, meh.
In other GM news, the much ballyhooed Volt won’t spin off into its own sub-brand, though its drivetrain will no doubt be used in other cars across the General’s lineup. One such car has already been penned, the Cadillac Converj, though weather or not it makes it into production is yet to be seen. A wise move by GM, as they recently shed half of their eight brands during the bankruptcy fallout (whereas Chrysler recently added a brand, Ram, to exclusively sell pickup trucks).
Toyota has been bouncing the idea of a Prius sub-brand around for some time now. Unlike GM, Toyota has just two brands under its banner; Toyota, and Lexus. A Prius sub-brand might actually work for Toyota, as the name carries with it impressive marketing power. Prius, hybrid, it is impossible to differentiate between them. The Volt, on the other hand, remains to be a proven car. Give it a few years, things might change. For now, we’ve got what we’ve got.