Chevrolet plans to release Chevy Van globally

Chevy plans to release a family van quickly within several global regions, GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens mentioned today in showing analysts GM’s future product plans. General Motors Co. will base the van on its global compact-car architecture, said Stephens, who heads product development. He or she demonstrated a image of the van to analysts at a company presentation today, but their slides were not really made available to members of the media.

Stephens also showed analysts a Chevrolet SUV concept designed by GM’s South United states region and a Chevy small-car concept, although he did not give details on markets with regard to those vehicles. In addition, he previewed a three-row Buick business truck designed for China. He did not give timing for possible launches for any of the vehicles he showed.

During the daylong conference calls, CEO Ed Whitacre and other top executives gave a review of GM’s current business operations, including restructuring within Europe, development within other markets as well as 85 percent capacity use in North America. The United States, which owns 61 percent of the automaker, may sell 20 percent of its stake in a planned initial public offering, making it a minority owner, said two people familiar with the plan.

“We all are not re-introducing GM,” Whitacre told the viewers from the automaker’s technical center in suburban Detroit. “We are introducing a new GM.” GM is now positioned to break even during troughs in demand, Whitacre said. The management team is executing well, he said.

GM reported first-quarter net income of $865 million, helped by higher production and smaller discounts. CFO Chris Liddell on May 17 called the profit a “good, useful step” toward an IPO. The company’s operating profit was $1.2 billion in the first three months of the year, and the company generated $1 billion in free cash flow. Revenue rose 40 percent from the same period a year earlier to $31.5 billion.

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