Tech helps keep models off gas-guzzler tax
business sense: Those extra taxes can put a model at a competitive disadvantage if its rivals aren’t subject to it.
General Motors will have one less model on the list next year: It will stop using its high-end, 638-horsepower V-8 in the 2014 Corvette ZL1, which was subject to the tax. GM also announced that a new, more-efficient 450-horsepower V-8 will be the base engine for the iconic American sports car.
When that model is gone, the only GM vehicles subject to the tax will be the Cadillac CTS-V performance sedan, coupe and wagons that use the high-end V-8.
Excluding niche brands such as RollsRoyce, Bugatti and Ferrari, here’s how other major car brands are faring:
Ford has worked its way off the list entirely. It had two models that were subject to the tax in the 2010 model year, but now technology has improved enough that it can produce a 662-horsepower V-8 for the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 that isn’t subject to the tax.
Only the models in its small-volume, exclusive SRT performance division are on the list. They include Dodge Challenger, Charger and Chrysler 300.
The number of models that fall under the tax has been reduced from 17 in the 2010 model year to eight for 2013. One reason for the reduction: killing its super-premium Maybach division.
It has eight models on the list for 2013, but adding efficient six- and eight-cylinder engines to its giant flagship, the 7 Series with eight-speed transmission, got that model kicked off the list. The M5 and M6 are still there, but they’ve improved enough that the amount of tax to be paid has been reduced, spokesman Dave Buchko said.
The brand’s speedy supercar, the R8, remains subject to the tax, but Audi has managed to free the S5 and S6. Audi says it sprang the 2013 S5 sport sedan off the list by replacing its V-8 with a more efficient turbocharged V-6. Likewise, the new 2013 S6 banished its 10-cylinder engine in favour of a V-8.
Thanks to increased technology, by 2014 the Cadillac CTS-V performance sedan, as well as the CTS-V coupe and wagon, will be the only General Motors cars that will not be exempt from the gas-guzzler tax. Even the new Corvette will meet the guidelines.