So you're not exactly brimming with confidence in the new General Motors, are you? Well, take heart.
Inside sources tell us management has decided to 'bet the company' on a radical new product - one that could be on the market very soon. And it's not the much hyped battery powered Chevrolet Volt It's something bigger, but in a way, simpler.
GM is claiming that it can produce, at an affordable price, with reliable technology, a vehicle that uses little or no external power, that has virtually no impact on the environment, and that can contribute to an outright reduction in health care costs If that is true, the company is about hit a grand slam, out of the park home run.
So what has GM got up its sleeve? A source, who spoke guardedly and insisted on anonymity, said, "it's all based on what you see in an old fashioned mill - or at least that's what someone's great grandfather told us Our design guys just flipped when they figured it out".
Explained the source: "you get something small to turn something bigger, using a natural power source, and you take it from there." More technically, insiders who have seen the prototype say the vehicle operator manually engages a pedal, which is connected to a chain, which, in turn, connects to a cog, which turns a wheel to provide forward locomotion.
The operator will love this vehicle," said our source. "It's very hands on, and you feel like you're in control of the output. It's almost directly responsive to the degree of energy you apply to the pedals."
On top of that, the vehicle leaves almost no environmental footprint. The most significant may be no more than an olfactory sensation that leaves the operator craving a shower and a change of clothes at the end of the drive.
And to the pleasant surprise of GM insiders, early user studies have shown that operators of the new concept vehicle not only feel, they are in better health after using one a few times: they are in fact, in better health. Tests reveal a reduction in blood pressure and resting heart rate right across the board.
All in all, "this product could make us look like geniuses and give Obama and Harper their money back before they know it" said our source "I'm really pumped up".
The new propulsion concept can support an entire product line of vehicles, ranging from a 18 wheel version for truckers, to a 12 wheeler for SUV nuts, to a one wheeler that seems to have some appeal to the performing arts market, and to two models - a three wheeler and 'two big, two little' wheeler - that will be aimed at the burgeoning under 10 market
Specialty models are also being developed for well established markets For example, a celebrity endorsed 'Rick Shaw' pedal-less model with two external forward engagement shafts is under consideration for the Asian consumer.
Most widely marketed will be the '1x1x2' platform; one seat, one set of pedals, two wheels. This model isa designed for solo ownership and the '4x4x4' platform; four seats, four sets of pedals and four wheels. This model is designed for family use. The source noted that, in the family model, the pedals on any seat can be disengaged "After all," he said, "you can't expect a teenaged boy to pitch in and pedal His job is to sit there and scowl."
In fact, all that is keeping these vehicles from the market is GM's final decision on what option packages to put together. "The superfluous features are where we can contribute some real value added" said our source, "it's what we do best"
What we do know is that GM will offer packages to the whole consumer spectrum. p The budget conscious consumer looking for an entry level model will still get an AM radio, rear view mirror, hand pump, single gear, pedal braking, reusable water bottle, clink bell, and plastic basket with attached flower
The customer looking for all the bells and whistles will get a bell with a ringtone from the ITunes repertoire, a whistle, hand braking, 97 gears, a Martha Stewart branded wicker basket with a complimentary baguette, an automatic pump, a sport wheel package including clothes pegs and index cards, leather upholstery, a moon roof, a Velcro lined luggage space, a Perrier rack, wifi capability and an iPod dock that doubles, no, make that triples, as a cafe latte and GPS machine.
It all seems like GM has its game back. Now, why didn't someone think of this before?
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