I saw this on MSNBC today and also in The Wall Street Journal. I just shook my head in wonder.
With GM on the verge of bankruptcy, I'm beginning to think it may be a good idea. It would get them out from under punitive union contracts and hopefully bring in a whole slate of new board members and executives. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for innovation, but when the products you're making don't sell because they have no appeal to the buyer, why would you spend tons of research and development money on a project such as this?
P.U.M.A. Personal Urban Mobility and Accesibility. A joint venture between Segway of scooter fame and General Motors of honkin' big truck and SUV fame! It's like a marriage between Goliath and a Hobbit! Aiming for 2012, this little two seat, two wheeler will be battery run with a recharge time of six hours and will tool along at 35mph. Keep it off the highways!
Those cute little Smart Cars you see occasionally are good for where I first saw them Vancouver's Granville Island where the few streets they have are narrow and parking is scant. These are even smaller!
The New York auto show is slated for this week so GM decided it was the right time to tout this thing as the vehicle of the future. Right. They didn't even take it on a street for demonstration purposes but rather stuck to the sidewalk nearly running over a pedestrian. That might not be the best place either. Will they be able to add PUMA lanes like bus lanes?
Okay. I can see these things tooling around Sun City or similar enclosed communities, but on city streets? Like New York? You wouldn't even be able to see it unless you banned every other autombile known to man!
If selling cars is what GM is all about, I think they've missed the message here. They've slashed product development programs, advertising and auto shows budgets, yet this is what they choose to showcase.
If I were leading the change I'd be looking at how to better produce the gas guzzling trucks and SUVs they do so well. Let's face it, people from rural areas no matter where in the country, and especially those in areas that have mountains and winter, there will always be a mass market for the big and powerful. It's not a lifestyle issue; it's a necessity of life!