ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- General Motors is working without interruption on the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid despite mounting financial woes and the threat of bankruptcy, said Tom Stephens, the automakers product development chief.
At this point in time, I know of no reason why we cant be in production by November of 2010, Stephens told reporters on the sidelines of an event at the University of Michigan. Earlier today, GM posted a $6 billion net loss for the first quarter, its seventh straight quarterly loss.
Stephens said GM is deciding which of the three other surviving GM brands -- Cadillac, Buick or GMC -- would get a vehicle with the Volts hybrid powertrain.
Its best utilized in urban vehicles, Stephens said, referring to the Volts ability to drive the first 40 miles on electric power only. We have to consider what is the usage of the person buying the vehicle. For a commuter who drives 40 miles a day and takes it shopping on weekend, its the perfect application..
Stephens said the chief guiding factor behind GMs future products is that every vehicle being developed has be a leader in price, quality, styling and performance.
He said CEO Fritz Henderson and other top executives believe the biggest thing you can do to have a sustainable automobile company is to make great cars and trucks.
Stephens succeeded Robert Lutz as vice chairman of global product development on March 31. Lutz will advise the company through the end of the year.
GM announced today that it is creating the Institute of Automotive Research and Education with the University of Michigan.