DETROIT -- Profit-starved General Motors is moving up the launch of its redesigned mid-sized SUVs in an effort to get as many high-margin models in showrooms as soon as possible.
"The next-generation TrailBlazer and Envoy need to be pulled ahead," GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz said last week at the New York auto show.
He gave no details, but company and supplier sources say GM wants to speed up its next-generation Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Buick Rainier, and GMC Envoy and Envoy XL by six months to July 2007.
In another move aimed at shoring up its sagging balance sheet, GM has canceled the mid-cycle restyling and re-engineering of the Hummer H2, scheduled for the 2007 model year. The SUV was scheduled to get a longer front end that would have housed a diesel engine. But there were higher priorities - and the H2 wasn't the only loser:
GM last week confirmed that it has halted North American applications of its Zeta-architecture rear-drive sedans. That affects the development of at least seven products from three divisions that were once in the product portfolio, according to supplier and industry sources. (See story, Page 26.)