With all the excitement coming out of San Francisco
and Las Vegas
this week, it's easy to overlook the
good ol' Dee-troit Motor Show
It's been a relatively exciting affair,
too. And from the level of publicity being generated by Chevrolet's
planet-friendly Volt concept
, an optimist could perhaps be forgiven for hoping
that the Motor
City, birthplace of the
gas-guzzler, might be accepting the realities of the effect of fossil fuels on
Er, no. Just to shatter that hope, the BBC
extensively from DaimlerChrysler's Chief Economist, Van Jolissaint, in the
context a 'private breakfast' of industry peers yesterday morning. Mr
Jolissaint, according to the Beeb
, was pretty joli forthright in demonstrating
his disdain for us "quasi-hysterical
and our "Chicken
Little attitudes toward global warming"
continued, based on dubious economics, with global warming but a far-off risk of
Let's contrast Mr Jolissaint's remarks in Detroit with some of the
language on the parent company's corporate website.
on the corporate front page
announcement of DaimlerChrysler's new BLUETEC
joint-venture diesel engine, which
promises 'particularly clean, highly fuel-efficient passenger cars and SUVs with
diesel engines'. So far so good.
Click through to the Sustainability
, and we're reassured that 'our
vision is one of sustainable development – worldwide'
. On the same
page Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of DaimlerChrysler AG, tells us 'we are committed to protecting the environment and
meeting social needs within our company and in society in general'
Dr Zetsche again, in DaimlerChrysler's latest Sustainability
, goes further:
climate protection is one of the greatest challenges automakers face today, and
our goal is to continue to improve our vehicles and production processes in
order to further reduce pollutant emissions.
Page 44 of the
report trumpets sustainability partnerships with the UN, while page 56 outlines
a vision for climate-friendly motoring involving a long-term strategy to develop
viable fuel cell technology, backed up by cleaner and more efficient petrol
engines in the short and medium term. All great stuff - I'm impressed.
But which DaimlerChrysler was Mr
Jolissaint representing at yesterday's breakfast? the responsible corporate
citizen as depicted in its own Sustainability Report, proudly working
with the US
government to develop
? Or the head-in-the-sand, founder member or the
, slated by one US
as being "at the bottom of the heap when it comes to addressing greenhouse
Two great names may have merged, but I
suspect the cohesion of both policy and attitude between Detroit and
perhaps rather less complete than we've been led to believe.
The H&K London Public Affairs team
works for Toyota
, arguably the leader in hybrid
automotive technology, although I don't personally work on the account. But I do care about climate
change. Mr Jolissaint, you should too.
[EDIT 12.45 11/1]
Just noticed (thanks, Statcounter) that someone from Chrysler Motor Corporation, Royal Oak, Michigan, read this at 12.27. Woot!
Detroit motor show