Fifteen years after Tesla, more than a century after the Detroit Electric, and following a spate of clueless executives, the realization that the planet can only be saved with a zero-emission offensive has finally taken hold even in Dearborn, Warren and Auburn Hills – especially as the unimaginative and uninspiring product range of the American manufacturers has scarcely any appeal anymore. Sedans, once a symbol of prosperity, have become shelf warmers even in America. With the exception of Lexus, the premium segment is firmly in European hands. Alternative technologies such as the fuel cell are developed elsewhere. And pickups are a purely American phenomenon. SUVs and crossovers, on the other hand, which are enjoying growing global popularity, are a completely different story. As an export product developed in Detroit, they would be a real hit if – yes, if – they at least promised ethical and moral absolution in the form of a carbon-neutral powertrain.
Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram now belong to Stellantis, which pulls the emissions strings from Europe. GM is once again fighting alone against the world, with Europe, following the divorce from Opel, currently just a white spot on the map. Ford has been experimenting like crazy, bought and sold first Aston Martin then Jaguar, made a mess of the Americanization of the Europe-produced Sierra and Scorpio, sacrificed Mercury for Lincoln, fell for Mazda, flirted with VW, brought Jiangling on board, and briefly considered co-development with Rivian. What came of it?