Tired of rival Ford Motor Co. stealing the limelight, General Motors Corp. wants to let the world know it is no slouch when it comes to addressing environmental issues (see column, p.60). The world's biggest carmaker is launching a new Web site — gmability.com — that touts what it is doing to improve fuel economy and emissions.

GM says its ultimate objective, part of a 10-year plan, is to offer a complete line of vehicles worldwide that meet all local emissions standards while minimizing use of precious metals.

According to charts on display in the environmental “war room” at GM's Truck Product Center in Pontiac, MI, the automaker is targeting a boost in its fleet car and truck fuel economy of 1% per year beginning 2003.

GM is looking at launching new technology in its trucks, including 6-speed automatics and cylinder-deactivating V-8s and V-6s with variable valve timing by 2006. By 2007, it expects to launch new direct-injection diesels and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) in its light trucks.

On the car side, GM is planning to introduce what it calls the CVT II on its front-drive, midsize Epsilon models and launch a Gen III (Corvette) engine with cylinder deactivation around 2006. A year later, GM expects to have cylinder deactivation on a double-overhead-cam car engine, a third-generation CVT and a direct-injection version of its gasoline L850 engine now used in the Saturn L-series.