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GM Promising 8 Models Will Top 40 MPG

Detroit maker also targets big cut in CO2 emissions.

by on Jul.11, 2013

General Motors reaffirmed its commitment to reducing the energy it uses and to improving the gas mileage of its vehicles.

General Motors has promised at least eight of its U.S. vehicles will get 40 miles per gallon or better by 2017, while also pledging to reduce the CO2 emissions of its fleet 15% by 2015.

The mileage target, listed in GM’s latest sustainability report, would double the current number of products achieving at least 40 mpg, and reflect an expanding use of battery-based technologies, like those in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, as well as advances in more conventional internal combustion technologies.

The Last Word!


Is 40 the New 30 – MPG, That is?

Searching the LA Auto Show for the newest 40 mpg offerings.

by on Dec.03, 2012

The new Honda Accord PHEV will get 115 MPGe, says the EPA, the highest mileage rating in the industry.

For years we’ve been hearing about the surprising vim and vigor of people who hit age milestones like 40 that once meant the downhill slide had begun.  Now 40 is being touted as the new 30.  Might this milestone hold true for cars, as well?

Is 40 miles per gallon the new 30?

Could this be the de facto standard for a new crop of vigorous, green machines that promise to cart our gracefully aging selves around while taking baby sips of fuel — or electrons?

Your Inside Source!

To get a sense, we kicked the tires and listened in on the news conferences and Q&A sessions during the two press preview days at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The second day started off with the Green Car of the Year award going to the promising new 2013 Ford Fusion that offers a hybrid version providing an average for city and highway driving of 47 mpg.  Not bad.


GM Shutting Down Volt Production for Five Weeks

But February sales showed 60% sales jump.

by on Mar.02, 2012

GM will temporarily down production of the Chevrolet Volt to bring inventory into sync with demand.

Facing a significant backlog of unsold inventory, General Motors will shut down production of the Chevrolet Volt for five weeks.

The maker has notified 1,300 workers at the GM plant in Detroit that they will be idled from March 19th through April 23rd while assembly operations at idled.  But the maker insists the latest setback is not a sign of long-term problems for the plug-in hybrid, noting that Volt sales in February jumped 70% over the prior month.

“We’re going to do what we need to the keep production in line with what the market demands,” said GM spokesperson Michelle Malcho.

The Final Word!

She noted that demand has been recovering in the wake of reports, late last year, that several Volt battery packs had caught fire following federal crash tests.  After briefly opening an investigation into the problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Chevy Volt a clean bill of health when GM announced it would take several steps to further reduce the risk of battery problems. The maker has stressed there have been no such incidents involving Volts in real-world use.


Top Chevy Volt Engineer Bolts for BMW

More turmoil at GM’s troubled opel subsidiary.

by on Apr.12, 2011

Former GM engineer Frank Weber helped guide development of both the Chevy Volt and its near-twin, the Opel Ampera, shown here.

Frank Weber, the talented engineer who guided the early development of the Chevrolet Volt, has elected to leave Opel and General Motors for a job with BMW.

Weber has been Opel’s product planning chief since the autumn of 2009 but apparently left with little warning — and Opel was none too pleased as it issued a terse statement saying he had departed to pursue other opportunities – the language often used when someone is sacked or leaves in a huff.

Weber, who helped put an engagingly fresh face on the Volt project at a critical time,  has apparently signed on for an unspecified position with BMW, which is also in the midst of launching its own electric vehicle program.

(For more on BMW’s new sustainable mobility program, Click Here.)

Weber had worked for GM for 10 years and was put in charge of struggling Opel’s product development, following what was generally agreed to have been a star-turn heading up the Volt product team.


New GM CEO Confirms More Cuts Are Coming

Fritz Henderson vows to get the job done "in or out of court."

by on Mar.31, 2009

The aura of confidence projected by Henderson belies the enormity of the task in front of him.

An aura of confidence projected by Henderson belies the enormity of the task in front of him.

General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson in his second day on the job held a news conference that reaffirmed his commitment to “go deeper and go faster” in preparing a revised viability plan with “a clean balance sheet” that will pass muster with the President’s Auto Task Force. If not, Henderson said “we will do it in court.”

He acknowledged the sweeping criticisms of the President and the U.S. Treasury Department as “painful,” but quickly added that “we got it” and sketched in broad outlines the areas of the strategy that need improvement by June first. 

More job cuts and plant closings will be required, and bondholders and retirees will see commitments made to them by GM trimmed or eliminated. The decision on the sale or closing of Hummer will be made shortly. Saturn’s future remains in doubt beyond 2011, but Henderson said that it is still being studied with no immediate need to take action. Few details emerged, as Henderson said he was not going to conduct negotiations in public that are properly done at the bargaining table. 

Henderson also claimed not to be concerned about his own future beyond 60 days, “I don’t really worry too much about that,” he said. “If we get our job done it’s going to be okay,” he added. In a press briefing yesterday, Robert Gibbs, the President’s Press Secretary, denied that Rick Wagoner’s resignation as GM’s chairman was a quid pro quo for the continuation of aid. He also refused to speculate on what happens to Henderson or GM beyond the current 60-day deadline. 

Treasury is in the process of appointing two directors to the board of General Motors Acceptance Corporation, and is expected to have a significant, if not dominant role, in the remaking of the GM board of directors so that a majority of its members are new by the August meeting. Henderson now has the unenviable task of reporting to two constituencies – the changing GM board, with its new interim chairman, Kent Kresa, and Treasury through its Auto Task Force, headed by Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom. Treasury continues to be involved with any GM decisions that involve taxpayer funding on a “daily basis.”

Henderson said that the need for further cash is being evaluated, and would not say how much more liquidity from U.S. taxpayers would be needed during the next two months. The need for the $2 billion in support that was skipped in March and the $2.6 billion requested for April are still being evaluated. He would not say when taxpayers could expect to see repayment of the loans.

The aura of confidence projected by Henderson during his first leading role belies the enormity of the labors in front of him and his management team that has careened and crashed through an unending series of emergencies.  Henderson worked for virtually his entire career for Rick Wagoner, and he did not really say what would be different now that he is boss in spite of multiple questions on the topic.

Perhaps the biggest issue in getting through the next two months is the core problem of fleeing customers. It’s lights out, if an even worse sales collapse occurs than GM is currently enduring as car buyers shun its brands. The President’s warranty program announced yesterday will be of some, as yet unknown, help. GM also announced — just prior to Henderson speaking — that it will start a plan called “GM Total Confidence,” that it says protects a customer’s paycheck, investment and vehicle for 24 months.  (more…)