Fighting for American Industrial Renewal; Industry and Manufacturing Advocacy Group for public Education

We allow ourselves to be labeled Dinosaurs

...when nothing could be further from the truth! American manufacturers pioneered the vast majority of emissions control

and safety devices in use today. General Motors is recognized for its development of the automotive catalytic converter, a

device which reduces oxides of nitrogen 

(2nox) into nitrogen and oxygen, 

hydrocarbons (HC) to carbon dioxide 

and water, and carbon monoxide (2co)

to less harmful carbon dioxide. This

device removes as much as 98% of the

harmful by-prodcuts of combustion and

was mandated in the United States in 

1975, but not until 1993 for most of 

Europe. This device, along with other 

controls such as Exhaust Gas

Recirculation, Positive Crankcase

Ventilation, and Evaporative Canisters have

all been the products of American

Innovation and are important parts of

emission control

systems worldwide to this day. It was the Chrysler Corporation. which pioneered the idea of Electronic

Engine Management  with the introduction of its Lean Burn System in 1975, another example of a

universally adopted technology.

 

Ford Motor Company built test fleets of air-bag

equipped sedans in 1970, and GM began offering

them as options in 1974.  Chrysler is generally

considered the first manufacturer to make them

standard equipment on an affordable car, starting

in late 1988.  

 

 

 

But safety is hardly a new idea in Detroit, be it in the form of "crumple zones",

(before they became catchy marketing terms coined in imported car advertising) or

simply avoiding the crash in the first place with features such as 4-wheel anti-lock

brakes, first made available in 1971.

 

Admittedly, domestic

car builders have done a

very poor job managing

their image, and by their de-facto refusal to defend

their record of innovation and industry firsts, they have allowed themselves to be seen as barriers to

progress, rather than the leaders who have answered the call of government regulation. The United

States has a system of due-process that allows individuals and corporations the chance to question a

government decree. In spite of this (or some would say because of this) we have led the world in

both emission and safety standards.

 

 Of course there is nothing wrong with asking "What have you done for me lately"? 

There are answers here too, whether in the form of unanswered pleas for a national energy policy,

or again with technical progress like cylinder deactivation, hydrogen powered city buses, two-mode hybrid SUVs, inductive charging for

electric/plug-in hybrids and class-leading hybrid sedans like the 2010 Ford Fusion.

We are at a crossroads. We can either place our bet on the proven leaders and a system

of government that has produced leadership in technology and legislation, or we can

hope that those nations and manufacturers which have lagged the US in these areas will

take over as innovators. Given their track record of building "cleaner" cars strictly for the

US market, a leadership position seems unlikely.

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