This auto show turns to the public visitors who find a “new” GM with a nice portfolio of vehicles, from the sporty and sleek to the tough and tall. The automaker that entered and emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 has fewer brands and models to display. Gone vehicles are Saturn, Pontiac, Saab and Hummer. Consumers expecting the quality built products from General Motors always.
GM’s bankruptcy last year will help, analysts say, because it allowed the auto giant to shed a lot of debt. GM’s new chairman and chief executive officer, Ed Whitacre said recently that he expects GM to turn a profit in 2010 and to start paying back the government some of its billions in loans. Cole said since 2006 and heading into 2011, General Motors will have cut $5,000 to $6,000 in cost out of every car or truck it makes. “They can be profitable in everything they make, even the smallest car,” he said.
And show goers will see some important small car products with Flint and Bay City ties right at the forefront of GM’s auto show exhibit. The highly anticipated Chevy Volt is on a turntable display at the front of the roomy and cleanly colored Chevrolet area. It’s just across the aisle from the Chevrolet Cruze. The two 2011 vehicle models will include engines built by UAW Local 599 members at GM’s Flint Engine South plant with some engine parts made by Bay City ’s GM Powertrain plant.
“They have to be successful in the small car market,” and “they have to be profitable.”
The small cars are part of Chevrolet’s customer strategy. The brand is focused on five customer groups: truck buyers, performance enthusiasts, youth enthusiasts, modern family and “eco-conscious” customers, said Jim Campbell, general manager of Chevrolet. GM revealed the Chevy Spark, Chevy Aveo RS show car and the Cruze and Volt as its lineup of “gas friendly to gas free” vehicle choices, hopefully touching several of those customer groups.