The Bible says you reap what you sow — and because of that, the domestic auto-makers had better start looking for some divine intervention, because years of concentrating on nothing but trucks and SUVs now has the domestics sucking wind on several fronts, including powertrain development.
You see, rampant truckmaking virtually dictates that a company suspend innovation. The truck/SUV profit formula relies on foisting off industrial revolution-era technology on buyers stupid enough to pay big bucks for solid axles, leaf springs and old-world architecture. That's how you make 15 grand on a Navigator: trucks and lack of innovation go together like Trans Ams and trailer parks.
The problem is that the profit-mongering philosophy endemic to truck-making infects the entire company, and suddenly there's no innovation anywhere — including powertrains.
As can be seen from this year's Best Engines list, the domestics are starting to pay for their profit-mongering: There are but two domestic-automaker engines here — and both are truck engines. Where the heck are the great new engines for real vehicles?
Dead on arrival, that's where. If it ain't for trucks, the domestics ain't been interested.
Take variable valve timing (VVT), for instance: The technology's commonplace for European or Japanese engines — and has been for years. Yet the domestics have no presence worth mentioning regarding this critical development. GM won't have its first VVT engine until next spring.has a grand total of one VVT engine, the 2L DOHC I-4 in the Focus, and it's a limited VVT system solely to reduce emissions. The side of -Chrysler's still pondering, and probably will be for another decade or two.
In another six months or so, whenand GM and are crying about “the downturn,” remember that the term is relative. Check out the automakers with winners on this year's 10 Best Engines list: Trucks never have been the only eggs in their baskets — and you can bet they won't be whining about how they're getting their fannies kicked by “the competition.”