New car, powertrain programs to meet the changing needs of U.S. customers
Chevy Volt production gets the green light from the GM board
GM builds on car momentum with additional capacity; adjusts truck capacity
Hummer brand set for strategic review
WILMINGTON, Del. - GM today announced a range of strategic initiatives to aggressively respond to growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and to economic and market challenges in North America. Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO, made the announcements here as part of the GM annual meeting of stockholders.
Major initiatives announced by Wagoner include:
A new global compact car program for Chevrolet, a next generation for the popular Chevy Aveo, and a high efficiency engine module for the U.S. market.
Funding for production of the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle.
Addition of third shifts to Lordstown and Orion, which build hot-selling Chevy and Pontiac cars.
Cessation of production at four plants that build pickups, SUVs and medium-duty trucks.
A strategic review of the Hummer brand.
"From the start of our North American turnaround plan in 2005, I've said that our goal is not just to return GM to profitability, but to structure GM globally for sustained profitability and growth," said Wagoner.
"Since the first of this year, however, U.S. economic and market conditions have become significantly more difficult," he said. "Higher gasoline prices are changing consumer behavior, and they are significantly affecting the U.S. auto industry sales mix."
In North America, GM has been moving rapidly and successfully to revitalize its car lineup and grow its crossover business. New GM cars and crossovers, including the Cadillac CTS, Chevy Malibu, Pontiac Vibe and Buick Enclave, have been selling strongly, and GM intends to build on this success. In fact, 18 of the next 19 new GM products for the U.S. will be cars or crossovers.
Additional operational and strategic actions will be required to position GM for sustainable profitability and growth. These initiatives fall into three broad areas: product and technology, manufacturing facilities and capacity, and the Hummer brand.
New Chevrolet models and a high-efficiency engine module approved
To further strengthen GM's lineup of fuel-efficient cars, the GM board has approved a next-generation compact Chevy for the U.S. and global markets, a next generation of the popular Chevy Aveo, and a U.S. production module of GM's 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The new Chevy compact will be better equipped than today's compact cars, and will be designed to set quality and safety benchmarks for the compact class. Production will begin in mid-2010 at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant, subject to final negotiations with state and local authorities.
"This car will represent the first U.S. application of our global architecture strategy," said Wagoner. "This strategy will pay major dividends as we leverage our extensive car product development capability in Europe, Korea, and other locations to accelerate the shift in our U.S. product portfolio."
The next-generation compact will be pure Chevrolet in design, and will feature the 1.4-liter turbocharged version of GM's global four-cylinder engine. With this engine and a manual transmission, the new Chevy is expected to achieve a 9 mpg improvement over Chevy's current entry in this segment. The engine will be produced in Flint, Michigan, again subject to final negotiations with state and local authorities.
Also recently approved was a next generation of the popular Chevy Aveo. Based on a global architecture, the Aveo is also expected to have segment-leading fuel economy when it goes on sale in the U.S. market in the second half of 2010.
These new Chevy models will help build on GM's leadership in fuel efficient vehicles. For example, GM continues to offer more vehicles with a 30-mpg or better highway fuel economy rating than any competitor.