Wednesday, July 23, 2008

German Engineering Vehicle- Not in Toledo

It is called the Loremo- a new German concept automobile that reportedly gets 160 mpg. The official website calls the car 'simple, clever, fun.' What is not fun at all for the residents of Toledo Ohio are the Toledo-built Chrysler SUV's bombs like the Dodge Nitro and the Jeep Liberty. The plant laid off 2200 workers due to low demand for the gas-guzzling behemoths. The reduction was part of 10,000 job cuts and other cuts made nationally by Chrysler.

Why do I link the German Loremo with Toledo's Chrysler plant? Because Daimler, the German auto giant, used to be partners with Chrysler and were part of the Daimler-Chrysler building project for the assembly plant. Daimler abandoned the partnership in May 2007 after a 10-year marriage. Their stock-holders demanded a pound of flesh. Sadly for Toledo, Chrysler 'engineering' remains myopic as usual and Toledo was dealt the dirty hand and the outdated SUV's.

Imagine if the Loremo had been in production in Toledo. Wow! But the 'what ifs' lie on the production line floor and the workers are at home wondering what is in store for the rest of their lives. Vision is not high on the list of American automobile engineering requirements.

"The Loremo [Lo Resistance Mobile] concentrates on the essentials: Using standard materials and technologies and putting them together in a revolutionary new package, saving weight and air resistance without compromising on passenger protection. On top of that, you get an excellent design and a sensational gallon mileage in an affordable car that is pure fun to drive."

They have, naturally, designed the car with air resistance in mind, and it boasts an aerodynamic drag of 0.22; large SUVs are around 0.45. The engine is a 2 cylinder Turbo diesel, and can bring the car to speeds up to 160 km/h (100 mph), or 200 km/h (125 mph) for the sportier GT model.

Production begins in 2009 and prices are being listed as $22,500 for the basic model and $30,000 for the GT. They are also experimenting with an electric version, the E-Loremo, which features a 20KW electric engine, with short-term bursts of 40kw possible. The company says the car ought to consume 6kwh/100km, about the same as 0.6 liters of diesel fuel, and reach a top speed of around 170 kph (105 mph, for us non-metric folk). Loremo is looking to put around 93 to 124 miles of range into every charge.

Cry with me, Toledo, and watch yet another factory go down the drain. Just think, however, what a little bit of visionary thinking could have meant to this city and to Ohio.

Lefty Blogs