GM’s new-product pipeline is alive and well

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
With bankruptcy in the rearview mirror, General Motors Co. has the pedal to the metal, developing several new vehicle programs.

In case you missed it, in the past seven weeks GM executives have revealed three new vehicles that have gotten the green light.

In early August, then-CEO Ed Whitacre announced that a Cadillac luxury sedan is planned.

The Cadillac will be a rear-drive, low-volume model. The media is reporting an expected six-figure price tag, possibly around $130,000 -- a Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series competitor. The vehicle is aimed to continue Cadillac’s momentum in the United States, plus create buzz and credibility in Europe and China.

Additionally, Whitacre said a minivan has been approved. No details were given.

Sources tell me the minivan is about the size of the Chrysler Town & Country. This time GM has the right formula, they say. Past GM minivans were compromise vehicles, sized to appeal to North American and European buyers. They appealed to few buyers.

Presumably, the minivan will be sold by Chevrolet and Buick.

A few days before Whitacre’s comments, word came that GM is working on a new pickup being developed by the automaker’s subsidiary in Brazil.

Karl Stracke, vice president of global vehicle engineering, told Automotive News’ editors and reporters that it is a mid-sized pickup. The vehicle will be sold outside of North America.

There’s also is a media report that GM has revived a program to develop a rear-drive sedan for Chevrolet. No, it won’t be a civilian version of the upcoming Chevrolet Caprice police car, which is assembled in Australia. It sounds as if the new Chevy will be the spiritual successor to the well-praised Pontiac G8 GXP. In fact, it will be about the same size.

The good news is that the government hasn’t handcuffed GM’s product planners. Some appealing new products are on the horizon.