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GM Hints of Switch to Aluminum Bodies

Nearly $800M investment focuses on work with aluminum and steel.

by on May.01, 2015

GM invested nearly $800 million in three Michigan facilities, in part, to allow them to use more aluminum in production.

General Motors has dropped a big hint about its future vehicle plans this week – and that could mean a major shift from classic steel to aluminum bodies in the coming years.

The move would follow the lead set by rivals such as Ford Motor Co. – which launched an all-new, “aluminum-intensive” version of its F-150 for 2015 – Audi and Jaguar, the latter two adopting the lightweight material for a number of new luxury models. So-called “lightweighting” has become a critical goal for the auto industry as it struggles to meet tough new emissions and fuel economy standards.

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A possible switch to aluminum by GM was hinted at during a news conference revealing the maker’s plan to invest $5.4 billion in new plants and equipment. That includes a revamp of the prototype plant in Warren, Michigan where GM builds the first iteration of new vehicles under development before they are transferred to the assembly plant where the finished product is assembled. (more…)

GM Aims to Stabilize Capital Spending

Maker hopes to “eliminate the big swings,” says CFO Liddell.

by on Jan.12, 2011

GM moving to put its financial house in order, says CFO Liddell.

In the future, General Motors expects to hold capital spending steady from year to year and to avoid dramatic peaks and equally dramatic valleys.

“We want to eliminate the big swings in capital spending,” GM Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said.

Over the years, capital spending has been reduced dramatically and many projects cancelled during recessions, he said.  “But that’s enormously expensive,” he added.   “A lot of money was wasted,” he said.

(GM now struggling with bankruptcy-related product delays. Click Here for the story.)

It’s better in the long run for GM to hold capital spending steady during both good times and bad, he said. “You have to have control of spending,” stressed Liddell, who joined GM after serving as Microsoft’s CFO.

Stronger finances, he asserted, will enable GM to hold capital spending level during a downturn.  And, as General Motors enters 2011, its finances are steadily improving  –though the company still faces challenges, GM’s top financial officer said Tuesday.