DETROIT -- Chevrolet plans to launch a family van soon in several global regions, GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said today in showing analysts GM's future product plans.
General Motors Co. will base the van on its global compact-car architecture, said Stephens, who heads product development. He showed a picture of the van to analysts at a company presentation today, but his slides were not made available to members of the media.
Stephens also showed analysts a Chevrolet SUV concept designed by GM's South American region and a Chevy small-car concept, although he did not give details on markets for those vehicles. In addition, he previewed a three-row Buick business van designed for China. He did not give timing for possible launches for any of the vehicles he showed.
During the daylong conference calls, CEO Ed Whitacre and other top executives gave a review of GM's current business operations, including restructuring in Europe, growth in other markets and 85 percent capacity use in North America. The United States, which owns 61 percent of the automaker, may sell 20 percent of its stake in a planned initial public offering, making it a minority owner, said two people familiar with the plan.
“We are not re-introducing GM,” Whitacre told the audience at the automaker's technical center in suburban Detroit. “We are introducing a new GM.”
GM is now positioned to break even during troughs in demand, Whitacre said. The management team is executing well, he said.
The automaker's equity is worth $70 billion, according to a May 20 report by Eric Selle, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. debt analyst who projects a return of 47 cents on the dollar for holders of bonds issued by GM's predecessor, General Motors Corp., that will be converted to stock and warrants in new GM. At today's bond prices, GM's equity is worth about $47 billion.
GM reported first-quarter net income of $865 million, helped by higher production and smaller discounts. CFO Chris Liddell on May 17 called the profit a “good, useful step” toward an IPO.
The company's operating profit was $1.2 billion in the first three months of the year, and the company generated $1 billion in free cash flow. Revenue rose 40 percent from the same period a year earlier to $31.5 billion.
GM's Opel and Vauxhall operations in Europe lost $506 million in the first quarter. GM is restructuring the business with plans to take out 20 percent of its production capacity and cut 8,300 jobs.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.