RICK KRANZ

Predictions, putdowns and other news

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.

It’s been a newsy week for General Motors and Ford Motor Co., and it’s only Tuesday.

So far:

• Today, General Motors held its first shareholders’ meeting since coming out of bankruptcy. GM CEO Dan Akerson told investors to hold on to their stock, have faith and view the automaker as a long-term investment.

•  Today, Akerson also said the automaker will expand Cadillac production by the end of next year, presumably in China. The company currently assembles the SLS sedan, a stretched version of the STS, in China.

•  Today, Ford Motor Co. gave Wall Street a wildly optimistic prediction, that global sales will increase a whopping 50 percent by 2015 to 8 million units annually, driven by increasing demand for small cars.

• Today, Ford also said by 2020 it expects 55 percent of its global vehicles sales will be small cars and a third of those sales will be in Asia.

• Monday, Akerson made news with a heartless comment, dismissing Lincoln, Ford’s struggling luxury brand and a Cadillac competitor.

• “They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It’s over,” Akerson said in an interview with The Detroit News.

• Monday, in that same interview, Akerson made what could be interpreted as less than flattering comments about two GM luxury cars: specifically, the upcoming large, front-drive Cadillac sedan that is expected to be called the XTS and a rear-drive compact Cadillac sedan. Both cars will be launched next year.

He said: “They're not going to blow the doors off, but they will be very competitive.”

Does that sound like a slap at ex-GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, who helped formulate Cadillac’s product strategy? Interestingly, Lutz has openly supported Akerson.

With GM stock trading around $29 a share, down from $33 when the initial offering was launched last November, I can’t image that Cadillac comment will sit well with investors and dealers.

Well, it’s only Tuesday. Things can change quickly.

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