GM’s $9,800 Car . . . The One We’re Not Allowed To Buy

How much is the EPA and DOT costing you?

One way to quantify this is to consider a car GM builds – but which you can’t buy. Well, not unless you move outside the United States – and beyond the diktats and fatwas of the EPA and DOT.

It is called the Sail – and GM makes it in China. It retails for 60,000 yuan – equivalent to about $9,800 in “federal” reserve notes.

Demand for the car is so great that GM plans to increase its exports of the Sail to countries like Chile and Ecuador by nearly 70 percent, according to a recent Reuters article (see here).

It just won’t be exported here.

And why?

Those two federal agencies mentioned at the beginning of this story. These unelected and unaccountable bureaucracies have made it illegal – a criminal offense – to sell you a car like the Sail. Which, by the way, is neither primitive nor pathetic. The most recent design is a modern and aesthetically appealing sedan or five-door hatchback wagon with a Corvette-inspired “dual cockpit” dash layout. The car has AC, power windows, power door mirrors and a modern stereo with Bluetooth wireless and music streaming. It even has a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

It would look at home on any road – and in any garage – in the Western world.

But what really sets the car apart is what’s under its hood. There, you would (if you could buy the Sail) find a high-efficiency 1.4 liter, 101 hp engine or (if you were allowed to choose) 1.2 liter, 85-hp engine that averages 41.2 MPG – easily meeting the 35.5 MPG fuel economy fatwa issued by the Feds, which goes into effect just two model years from now (2016). There is also a 1.3 liter turbo-diesel engine (Fiat-sourced!) on the roster of options.

It does even better.

Imagine that: A 40 MPG-plus car that costs less than $10,000 and which isn’t a flimsy/shoddy latter-day Yugo, either. It’s not the quickest thing on wheels – depending on the engine, zero to 60 takes 12-15 seconds – but it’s certainly adequate for A to B commuting and general knocking around. It’s only slightly less quick than a Prius C, hybrid – which takes about 11.3 seconds to get to 60 (and costs almost $20,000).

Unfortunately (for American car buyers) the Sail does not pass muster with current EPA emissions and DOT safety requirements.

Hence, it cannot be sold here.

But it is neither “unsafe” – nor “dirty.”

Read the rest of the article

The Best of Eric Peters

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts