您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 华尔街日报中英文版 >> 时尚 >> 正文

底特律车展主题词:更大、更快、更轻

更新时间:2014-1-20 20:57:36 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Trending at Detroit Show: Bigger, Faster, Lighter Autos
底特律车展主题词:更大、更快、更轻

Every year, Detroit's auto makers use their hometown auto show to telegraph views about where the car business is headed. This year's message: advanced technology means bigger, faster and lighter.

At General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet booth, redesigned large sport-utility vehicles and new Colorado pickup are front and center. Also up front is the 625-horsepower Corvette Z06. Further in, there is a lineup of Camaro muscle cars. Tucked away in alcove are a couple of Volt hybrids.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden stopped to admire the Corvette, and reminisced about burning rubber in his 1967 Stingray. 'What a difference five years makes,' Mr. Biden said to auto executives.

No doubt about that. The point of view from the auto show today compared with 2009 is profound, affecting the kinds of cars and trucks consumers will be offered in the years ahead. Except those cars and trucks aren't exactly what federal regulators had in mind when they called on auto makers to design vehicles for 2025 that could average 54.5 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

Five years ago, President Barack Obama pushed Detroit auto makers to use $80 billion in taxpayer money to build fleets of American-made compact cars and plug-in hybrids--like the Volt. In 2011, auto executives signed on to the administration's plan to more than double fuel efficiency over the next 10 years. With some experts predicting gasoline prices hitting $6 a gallon or more, it made perfect sense at the time.

The shiny SUVs, trucks and luxury cars displayed in Detroit this week suggest that future won't arrive on schedule.

Between 2008 and 2010, the U.S. did move away from its historical preference for bigger and faster vehicles. The average horsepower and weight of new vehicles sold in the U.S. dropped, and average fuel efficiency rose, says the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2008, the average new vehicle had 219 horsepower and got 21 mpg. In 2009, power fell to 208 horsepower while mileage rose to 22.4 mpg.

What changed? The shale oil revolution has sidelined worries that we are condemned to an endless upward spiral in pump prices. In response, car makers are dialing down efforts to persuade mainstream consumers to embrace electric cars, and instead are racing to develop technology and materials that allow them to offer large, comfortable and fast vehicles that are more efficient.

Demand for SUVs and pickups is growing. Trucks accounted for more than half of all light vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, a reversal from the prior year. The shift coincided with lower fuel prices.

When 2013 numbers are tallied, the EPA projects that vehicles will get heavier and horsepower will match the all-time high. But here's a surprise: fuel efficiency could rise, too. It just may not rise as rapidly as the EPA rules will demand.

The current trends point to a new and intense debate over federal fuel economy regulations leading up to a 2017 review of whether the regulation calling for a 54.5 mpg fleet in 2025 make sense where oil is abundant and relatively cheap.

Despite a surge in the number of hybrid and plug-in vehicles offered in the U.S., sales of such vehicles are stuck at about 3% of the market, of which roughly half are members of the Toyota Prius family. Tesla Motors Inc.'s Model S has demonstrated affluent, tech-savvy consumers will buy electric cars. But Tesla's $70,000 and up cars are a niche product.

Mainstream car makers are increasingly worried that without higher gas prices, U.S. consumers won't pay for the technology and exotic materials required to make a big truck or a family-sized SUV efficient enough to meet federal muster in 2025. Adding to the anxiety is that for auto makers, 2025 is just around the corner--barely two model cycles away from cars and trucks that are being locked in today for debut at the 2017 Detroit show.

'I appreciate the vision of the administration wanting to lead the industry and consumers to higher mileage cars,' says Jim Lentz, head of Toyota Motor Corp.'s North American operations. 'Consumers have to be willing to accept that.'

As things are, he says, 'there's going to be a disconnect.'

每年,底特律汽车制造商都会利用底特律车展传达对未来行业趋势的看法。今年的主题是:先进技术意味着更大、更快和更轻。

在通用汽车公司(General Motors Co., GM)的雪佛兰(Chevrolet)展区,重新设计的大型运动型多用途车(SUV)和新款Colorado皮卡被放在最重要的位置。625匹马力的科尔维特(Corvette) Z06的位置也很显眼。再往里是一组科迈罗(Camaro)大功率高速中型车。靠墙角的则是几台Volt电力车。

美国副总统拜登(Joe Biden)在科尔维特Z06前驻足欣赏,回忆起当年他驾驶1967年款的科尔维特Stingray时轮胎烧焦的味道。拜登对汽车公司高管们说:这五年变化可真大。

这点毋庸置疑。现如今,车展对未来趋势的前瞻性意义已非2009年时可比,影响的是未来几年市场上会销售哪些种类的轿车和卡车。只不过这些轿车和卡车与联邦监管机构的愿望并不完全吻合,监管机构希望到2025年的时候,汽车制造商生产的汽车每加仑汽油平均能跑54.5英里。

五年前,奥巴马(Barack Obama)政府敦促底特律汽车业用纳税人的800亿美元生产一系列本土紧凑型轿车和插电式混合动力车(就像Volt)。2011年,汽车公司高管与政府达成协议,同意未来十年将燃油效率提高一倍以上,这在当时是非常合理的,因为有专家预言汽油价格将达到甚至突破每加仑6美元。

但在本周的底特律车展上,那些闪亮的SUV、卡车和豪车,无不预示着政府的期望将要落空。

美国对体积大、速度快的汽车情有独锺,但这种传统在2008年至2010年发生改变。美国国家环境保护局(Environmental Protection Agency)说,这段时期销售的美国新车的平均马力和重量均有所下降,而平均燃油效率有所提高。2008年销售的新车平均马力为219匹,每加仑燃油行驶英里数为21英里。2009年新车平均马力降至208匹,每加仑燃油行驶英里数增至22.4英里。

是什么让这一转变戛然而止?页岩油革命。页岩油技术的突破暂时消除了人们对汽油价格无限上涨的顾虑。汽车制造商不再那么卖力地游说主流消费者接受电力车,相反,它们争相开发新技术和新材料,试图生产出燃油效率更高的又大、又舒适、跑得又快的汽车。

SUV和皮卡需求日渐增长。去年美国卡车销量相当于所有轻型车总销量的一半以上,较此前一年出现了大逆转。这种转变与燃油价格下跌不谋而合。

在统计2013年数据时,美国国家环境保护局预计未来汽车将更重,马力将达到纪录高位。但令人意外的是,燃油效率也可能上升,只不过其升速可能不像美国国家环境保护局规定要求的那么快。

当前的趋势表明,在2017年之前将出现围绕联邦燃油经济性法规的激烈辩论。2017年将评估有关2025年新款车型平均每加仑汽油里程数达到54.5英里的规定是否合理,因为届时汽油供应充足,而且价格相对便宜。

尽管美国混合动力车和插电式混合动力车供应量飙升,但此类车的销量却固定在了市场总销量的3%左右,而且其中约一半都是丰田汽车公司(Toyota Motor Co., 7203.TO)的普锐斯(Prius)系列。Tesla Motors Inc.生产的Model S证明了懂技术的有钱人会购买电动车,但售价7万美元甚至更高的Tesla汽车毕竟只是小众产品。

主流汽车制造商越来越担心,如果油价不再上涨,美国消费者就不会为公司生产在2025年达到联邦节能规定的大型卡车或家庭用SUV所需的技术和特殊材料买单。除此之外,使它们更焦虑的是,2025年近在眼前——目前将在2017年底特律车展上首秀的汽车和卡车已经锁定,距离2025年只有两个改款周期。

丰田汽车公司北美业务负责人Jim Lentz表示,我欣赏政府希望引领行业和消费者迈向节能型汽车时代的愿景;消费者必须得愿意接受这一点。

他说,照目前的情况来看,双方在这点上步调并不一致。

本文版权归道琼斯公司所有,未经许可不得翻译或转载。

相关文章列表