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Court Upholds GM’s Bankruptcy Shield from Death Claims

But judge leaves potential loophole for plaintiffs.

by on Apr.16, 2015

The faulty GM ignition switch could inadvertently move to the Off position, causing a crash.

General Motors has been handed a major victory in its effort to shield itself from lawsuits linked to the defective ignition switches it used in older vehicles.

A federal judge has ruled the “new GM” is not liable for death and injury claims for crashes that occurred prior to the automaker’s emergence from bankruptcy in July 2009 – even in the event of misconduct by the “old GM.” But ruling from the federal bench in New York, Judge Robert Gerber did say owners could seek damages if they prove vehicles equipped with those switches have lost value since GM exited Chapter 11.

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The automaker hailed the news which, it said, “doesn’t establish any liability against GM.” It also noted that the burden will be on plaintiffs to prove any new claims for losses.

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GM Falling Behind Nissan-Renault in Global Sales

Ghosn predicted move to third place in future.

by on Apr.15, 2015

The future is now when it comes to Renault-Nissan's Carlos Ghosn's prediction that the alliance would be the third-largest automaker by 2018.

Earlier this year, Carlos Ghosn, the leader of Renault-Nissan, said he expected his company would eventually become the third-largest automaker in the world by 2018.

Ghosn set the 2018 target during the Geneva Motor Show this year, but the future is now based on early 2015 sales results. The automaker has squeaked past General Motors through the first two months of 2015 by selling 1.185 million vehicles worldwide: 2,000 more vehicles than the Detroit-based automaker.

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GM is actually looking at a possibility of finishing No. 5 worldwide by the end of the year of Hyundai-Kia can muster a little bit of a push. The Korean conglomerate is just 36,000 units beyond GM through February. (more…)

Cadillac Boosts Performance, Cuts Price of ELR Plug-In Hybrid

Move follows cut in price of Chevrolet Spark EV.

by on Apr.15, 2015

Cadillac is looking to stimulate sales of the ELR with a price cut and a power increase.

Cadillac is boosting the performance of its ELR coupe even as it cuts the price of the plug-in hybrid in a bid to boost so far anemic sales of the compact battery vehicle.

The 2016 Cadillac ELR will get 25% more torque and horsepower, enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 6.4 seconds. At the same time, its base price will dip to $65,995 prior to U.S. federal tax credits of $7,500. Whether that will help move the needle is far from certain, however.

Electrifying!

Cutting the price on plug-in electrics is in vogue these days. In fact, GM stablemate Chevy announced yesterday it was cutting the price on the Spark by 6% as well as offering a low-mileage lease of $139 a month. Tesla, perhaps the closest comparison to the ELR in terms of segment, introduced a base model for its Model S lineup with a price that is $10k lower than the next best model in the maker’s line-up. Ford, Hyundai, Kia and BMW have all announced low-priced lease options or prices cuts on their EVs to try to stimulate sales. (more…)

GM Spending $1B on Expansion of Tech Center

Project expected to add 2,500 jobs by 2020.

by on Apr.10, 2015

GM is investing $1 billion into an expansion of its 330-acre Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

One reason General Motors was guarding its stash of cash against the advice of activist investors is becoming very clear: the automaker plans to expand its facilities.

Just after it was revealed that the company plans a $1.2 billion expansion of a plant in Texas, it appears GM will spend another $1 billion to grow its Tech Center campus in Warren, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit.

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The plan was referenced by Warren Mayor Jim Fouts during his State of the City speech yesterday. (more…)

GM Wants Bigger Plant to Make Bigger SUVs

Maker needs more capacity in Texas to meet demand.

by on Apr.10, 2015

GM is looking to invest in a $1.2 billion expansion of its Arlington, Texas, plant to keep up with demand for large SUVs.

General Motors Co. is considering an expansion of its Arlington, Texas, assembly plant to boost production of the large sport-utility vehicles, according to documents filed with the city government of the Dallas suburb.

GM officials have said for months the Arlington plant is running full out to keep up with demand for full-size Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades. The full-size SUVs are also in great demand in the Middle East and Africa and nearly one third of the plant’s output has been ticketed for export.

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The tentative plans, which haven’t been confirmed by GM, call for adding 1.2 million square feet of space to the plant, adding 589 jobs. The plant currently employs 4,125, more than the required level, the city said. GM has filed a petition with the city government in Arlington asking for tax abatement of 80% for 10 years on the expanded plant and its equipment and waiving building permit and development fees. (more…)

GM Ending Current Volt Production in May

Maker clearing out old models to make way for new ones.

by on Apr.09, 2015

The new Chevrolet Volt is designed to spend even more time operating in electric mode. Photo credit: Len Katz.

Due sluggish sales and a new model on the horizon, General Motors plans to end production of the Chevrolet Volt extended range EV at its plant in Detroit in May.

The car is being replaced by a newer 2016 model later this year and the maker needs to clear out the inventory of the current iteration sitting on dealer lots.

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“Halting Chevrolet Volt production in anticipation of the all-new 2016 model year is a smart move for GM, and allows for less inventory and incentives on the outgoing model,” said Akshay Anand, analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “Hybrid and alternative fuel vehicle sales have been declining for some time now, with gas prices well below the summer prices of 2014. (more…)

Feds Aim Rusty Brake Line Probe; Put Onus on Owners

Excess corrosion an issue for many manufacturers.

by on Apr.09, 2015

A 2007 Chevrolet Suburban, one of the GM sport-ute models targeted by the investigation.

Federal regulators have ended a five-year probe of rusting brake lines involving 5 million older General Motors vehicle. Ruling it found no defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has instead put the onus on owners to deal with the potential problem.

The federal safety agency ultimately determined that motorists have been contributing to the problem by failing to wash road salt off of their vehicles, a problem primarily seen in Snowbelt states.

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Excess corrosion has been a problem for a number of manufacturers in recent years. In some cases, such as those involving several Toyota products, NHTSA has ordered recalls. The agency is also facing complaints regarding some Nissan vehicles. But NHTSA has reversed course with the resolution of the GM investigation, indicating that owners need to take steps to keep their vehicles in a safe operating condition.

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GM, Ford Enjoy Strong March Sales in China

Auto sales rise despite economic sluggishness.

by on Apr.07, 2015

Cadillac's March sales in China were 76% due in large measure to a strong interest in the ATS.

General Motors and Ford saw their vehicle sales grow in China during March despite concerns about the slower growth in the Chinese economy.

GM reported its sales increased 8% last month to a March-record 338,350 units. GM has 11 joint ventures, two wholly owned foreign enterprises and more than 58,000 employees in China.

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Sales by SAIC-GM-Wuling and Cadillac, which saw its sales grow by more than 76%, reached an all-time monthly high, while Shanghai GM and Chevrolet had record March domestic sales. (more…)

Canada Bails Out of GM Stock for $2.7 Billion

Government sells its shares to Goldman Sachs.

by on Apr.07, 2015

Unifor President Jerry Dias said the Canadian government shouldn't sell its stake in GM in order to have some leverage in manufacturing decisions.

Government Motors is now officially dead: really. The Canadian government announced it is selling its $2.7 billion stake in General Motors Co. to Goldman, Sachs & Co. by the end of this week.

The Canada GEN Investment Corp., a subsidiary of Canada Development Investment Corp., plans to sell its 73.4 million shares of GM in a single unregistered block.

Union News!

The government received the shares as part of the 2009 bailout of the company, and more details about the sale will be available in the “next several days” after Canada GEN reports the trade with U.S. and Canadian securities regulators. (more…)

GM CEO Mary Barra Named One of World’s 10 Most Influential Leaders

One of three women named by Fortune, Barra lags behind Taylor Swift.

by on Mar.27, 2015

GM CEO Barra, pictured here on the cover of Time which last year chose her as one of its top 100 leaders.

Barely 15 months in as the first woman to head a major automaker, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has been named one of the 10 most influential leaders in the world by Fortune magazine.

In the ninth position, Barra is the only auto exec in the top tier, and ranks well ahead of Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, who was 23rd on Fortune’s list of 50 top global leaders. But Barra was just one of three women in the top 10 and actually was listed behind singer Taylor Swift, in Fortune’s sixth spot.

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“Immersed in GM’s ignition-switch megacrisis almost since day one as CEO, Barra has deftly juggled the demands of investors, regulators, customers, plaintiffs, and employees on one of the business world’s most visible stages,” explained Fortune.

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