Written by Felix Minderbinder
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Topics: Cars, Models

Monday, 30 May 2005

DETROIT--In a radical move, General Motors has decided to switch to pedal power for all of its car models in the 2006 model year say top executives at the company, who also unveiled their first pedal-powered model.

"With people power, we know we can compete with the Japanese car makers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan," boasted Stanley Dogbody, Vice President of the new GM division of People Powered Vehicles. "There are also up and coming car makers like Hyundai and Kia in South Korea and even car makers in China and India to worry about. All those companies can build better quality cars than we can, ones that get far better gas mileage, or are just plain cheaper. But they can't compete with our new pedal powered models."

Too illustrate his point, Dogbody proudly unveiled the new two-seater people powered Cadillac and took reporters for a spin in it in the parking lot of GM headquarters. He also allowed several children to test drive the vehicle, and the kids reported that it handled very well, sort of like a four wheeled mountain bike. But Dogbody emphasized that these are fully qualified road vehicles and not to be confused with bicycles, although children can drive them. "Maybe pedal powered cars will allow the minimum age for driving licenses to be lowered to about 13," he speculated.

"We anticipate considerable cost savings by eliminating gasoline powered engines from our vehicles," added Dogbody. "They also save on weight by doing away with other heavy parts like axels, transmissions and radiators. This stream-lining of the traditional GM car will make the vehicle light and very easy to operate. Everybody will want one, and everybody will be able to afford one, even kids. Overweight Americans will also be able to work off some of that fat by going for a drive now. Both drivers and passengers will be able to operate the pedals for greater efficiency."

Both General Motors and Ford have seen the price of their company stock plummet in recent months, and their corporate debt was recently downgraded to junk status. Both companies have huge pension liabilities and are seeing foreign car makers take over their traditional share of the North American market.

But Wall Street has viewed the GM switch to pedal power favorably, and the company stock rose $5.60 upon hearing Dogbody's announcement.

Ford is widely expected to follow GM's lead and similarly change its car product line over to pedal power in the near future.

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