Key GM Vehicles Stay on Track
GM announced Monday that despite its move into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, key vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and the Cadillac SRX crossover are still set for release in 2010.
Despite the gut-wrenching restructuring in bankruptcy that lies ahead for General Motors, key upcoming products remain on track and GM's future showroom will be a source of strength, the company said Monday.
In announcing its historic move into Chapter 11, the company made a point of highlighting vehicles arriving or soon to arrive in the market. The Chevrolet Volt plug-in extended-range vehicle is still due by the end of 2010, and Cadillac's SRX crossover and CTS Sport Wagon are to arrive this year.
GM president and CEO Fritz Henderson said the days of the company launching 15 cars and hoping for five or six true hits are over.
"We need to make sure all of our launches is an outstanding car or truck," he said.
GM's bankruptcy also eventually will allow it to focus more on products, Henderson said, reasoning that once its balance sheet is cleared up, the company won't be as distracted by financial troubles.
GM also announced that it has a deal to sell its German division, Opel, though GM will retain a stake, and that it plans to sell or close Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab.That leaves volume-seller Chevrolet, luxury Cadillac, truck-specialist GMC and premium Buick as the remaining brands to get GM's engineering, design and marketing resources. That likely will result in market share of 18 percent to 18.5 percent in the next few years, the company predicts — a far cry from the days when the company ruled the industry with more than half of all new-car sales in the United States.
"I think putting these [new] vehicles in the four core brands gives us the best chance to win in the marketplace," Henderson said.
GM will build environmentally friendly vehicles — no less than President Barack Obama says so. But despite the massive government presence, including an ownership stake of 61 percent and about $30 billion in government aid, the government won't meddle in day-to-day decision-making regarding products.
"They [the auto task force] basically said, 'You should run your business, we should hold you accountable,'" Henderson said.
On Friday, GM said it plans to build a fuel-efficient, "B-segment" small car in the United States at an idled plant, though details remain unclear.