US auto giant General Motors has officially announced the repayment of its $5.8 Billion loan by the end of June ‘10. The loan is from the U.S Treasury and Export Development Canada, both of which currently hold Equity Shares in the company.
The company that emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009 also stated that once the repayments are complete “the focus will be to upgrade the plants in Detroit and Kansas to build their Next Generation- Chevrolet Malibu.”
The news of the repayment was made on the Wall Street Journal website on Tuesday April 20th by the CEO of GM, Ed Whitacre, as he announced “Our ability to pay back these loans less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy is a sign that our plan for building a new GM is working.”
The Detroit- Hamtramck and Kansan City factories will be updated with an investment of $ 275 million. The update will enable the plants to manufacture the Next Generation Malibu slated for release next year. On Wednesday, Mr.Whitacre addressing the Kansas City plant said that it will receive $136 million of the investment as the plant will be the prime manufacturing site for the Malibu.
As per the Automotive News Data Center, the new Chevy Malibu has a 53 day supply and Buick LaCrosse a 43 day supply, and the Kansas plant is working 3 shifts and on Saturdays to build both the cars which began production in April to maintain a 60 Day supply level as recommended by analysts.
The Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS sedans currently being produced at the Detroit Hamtramck plant will be downsized this year to accommodate the production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in sedan, to be released in the fourth quarter of ’10. The Hamtramck plant investment of $121 will assist in the production of the Malibu in period of spike in demand.
General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Cruze ECO at New York Auto Show. The Chevrolet Cruze ECO is a high-efficiency model which is powered by a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine equipped with variable valve timing that’s coupled with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic will also be offered as an option. The company estimates the Chevrolet Cruze ECO will give a 40 mpg fuel consumption on the highway.
The Chevrolet Cruze ECO comes with a lower front grille air shutter that closes at high speeds to improve aerodynamics and a lower front air dam extension. The Chevrolet Cruze ECO also features a lowered ride height, 17-inch lightweight aluminum wheels and ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires.
The Eco achieves greater fuel economy using a number of features that enhance its aerodynamics, minimize weight and reduce rolling resistance. The Chevrolet says the Cruze ECO will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 10 seconds with the manual gearbox and in 0 to 60mph in just 9 seconds with the automatic gearbox.
Also debuting in New York will be a sporty variant of the Cruze, the RS model, which is essentially a styling package. It will be available on the upscale Cruze LT and LTZ trim levels. It features special bumpers, side skirt, a rear spoiler and an instrument cluster with chrome accent rings.
The Chevrolet Cruze ECO price and availability will be announced at a later date and the Cruze Eco will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Nissan Motor Co. will sell the Leaf electric car for a base price of $32,780 in the United States and begin taking orders on April 20. When combined with a $7,500 federal tax credit, the Leaf will be priced at $25,280, the automaker said in a statement today. State and local credits can further reduce the cost to consumers, Nissan said. Early on today, the automaker also said it would sell the battery-powered Leaf hatchback starting off at 3.76 million yen ($40,640) in Japan, where it is also counting on government subsidies to slash the cost to consumers. Nissan said it aims to sell 6,000 Leaf cars, its first mass-volume all-electric model, in Japan for the year ending in March 2011. The company will start taking orders for the model April 1 in Japan, with the first delivery expected in December. After accounting for Japanese government subsidies, Nissan said the net cost to consumers to buy a new Leaf would be near 2.99 million yen ($32,373). The Leaf pricing also represents a premium over established, combustion-engine powered small sedans, such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Analysts have said the premium reflects the cost of developing and producing the Leaf’s lithium-ion battery pack. The cost of batteries and the reluctance of consumers to pay more upfront for fuel-saving technology are seen as the major hurdles to mass-market adoption of electric vehicles. Toyota Motor Corp.’s gasoline-electric Prius hybrid, now in its third generation, has a base model starting price at just over 2 million yen ($22,195) in Japan. After trailing rivals Toyota Motor and Honda Motor in the hybrid field, Japan’s No.3 automaker has bet heavily on pure electric vehicles along with partner Renault SA of France. Nissan has said it expects that 10 percent of the world’s auto market will be electric vehicles by 2020, a ratio at the top of industry projections. The automaker has also announced a series of partnerships with utilities and government agencies in the United States and Europe where it believes it has a chance of seizing market leadership. The five-passenger Leaf is designed to provide a range of about 100 miles. Nissan has developed the battery pack for the Leaf with NEC Corp., so that it can be recharged overnight on a 220-volt connection. While skeptics abound, almost all major automakers are working on developing battery-run cars for use mainly in urban areas, to meet stricter emissions and mileage regulations being introduced around the world.
Chevrolet is already redesigning its award-winning midsize car for what looks like a tough decade ahead. A Fresh styling, more room and new fuel-efficient powertrains could mean more accolades and more sales.
Chevrolet’s midsize Malibu sedan won the 2008 North American Car of the year award title, and it out polled out a key rival. That’s an impressive turn around from the dishwater dull Malibu’s of recent years, considering that the NA COTY is chosen by the selecting group of hard headed automotive journalists.
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu will also have an arched roofline and a boxy tail which is good for truck space and higher rise bodysides with more sheetmetal creases for a leaner, less puffy look. The New version of the New Chevy Malibu’s face is with a thick horizontal bar bearing the bow-tie logo laid atop a large trapezoidal grille.
The awards and buzz quickly fade from memory, and there’s no time to rest in today’s fast paced automotive world. That’s why
Chevrolet is already working on the next generation Malibu , which is expected for model year 2010, possibly 2011. Chevrolet still takes four to five years for most vehicle makers to take a new model from first thoughts to final assembly, about three years once the basic design is locked-in.
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu will share GM’s new “Epilon2” midsize-car platform with the 2010 Buick Lacrosse, slated to bow in early 2009, and a redesigned 2010 Saturn Aura expected later that same calendar year. Exterior sheetmetal will again disguise the common “bones” but with a key difference. The flexible manufacturing allows GM to more quickly alter the production mix to suit changes in sales demand, which not only saves money but also boosts potential profits.
The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu will be somewhat larger than today’s car. That implies an extra inch or two in wheelbase and overall height, but maybe not overall length which should mean more passenger and cargo space. E2 engineers at GM’s German Opel branch, which have global responsibility for GM midsize cars, will be watching weight with an eye towards boosting fuel economy and reducing emissions. We thus expect the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu and other E2 models to make greater use of lightweight materials, including stronger hydroformed steel for major structural members, which should pay off in cars that are tighter, quieter, and more durable.
Thirty-six vehicles and 12 companion models received Best Buy ratings from Consumers Digest out of some-240 total 2010 models. The ratings, published in CD’s December issue (on sale November 1), span 10 categories: Small Cars, Family Cars, Luxury Cars, Sporty Cars, Pickups, Minivans, Compact SUVs, Midsize SUVs, Full-size/Luxury SUVs and Hybrids. The Best Buys–based on behind-the-wheel assessment, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities–reflect CD’s view of which 2010 vehicles offer the most value for the money.
The investment incurred to build and run Auto plants amounts to very high cost. The traditional model carried out by Auto companies was limited to engineering and manufacturing processes. Ford used to charge dealers based on model, the time they left the factory outlet, led to development of integrated automobile factory, “The River Rouge plant” which today has become a burden
The current scenario of auto industry today is entirely different, where in there is hair line margin between the best and worst, no longer there is much difference in terms of finished products and all vehicles meet the same standard, what defines best and worst is how brands are perceived by car drivers.
For example, Cherokee is considered still as a jeep even though manufactured by Magna in Austria and BMW 3 models are seen as German cars, even though they are manufactured in South Africa. It is very strange to observe, Penske’s Saturn does not own a single auto factory, design studio or proving ground, what all they own is intellectual property of the Saturn brand and that is what Penske stroke of genius.
Marketing strategy has become a vital tool for the auto company to sell their brands. Saturn has succeeded in the market although it was not much different from Toyota or Honda, but the smart way it was marketed with subtle promises of the brand coupled with excellent customer services and no haggle pricing
As per the current agreement, General Motors have agreed to build Saturn for Penske for a period of two years, there is talk from Penske, that future Saturn models may be sourced from variety of automakers around the world, the latest hearsay is Penske talks with Renault There is also possibility that they may re-badge the manufacturer existing models
According to CSM Worldwide, a reputed auto Industry forecaster, It would not be difficult to build 92 million vehicles a year, but the forecast for 2009 would be 60 million If the global economy would recover soon, the spare capacity could be higher
The Saturn brand is the driving force behind Penske success in selling the cars and trucks. The moral to learn is irrespective of vehicles made anywhere and by any automotive segment, the end result if it meets the performance, quality, equipment levels and economy, the purchase experience always would be on higher side.
july 10 would be a new beginning for General Motors. GM has gone through the bankruptcy for 40 days period and had come out of it within a very short span of time. The new GM has done away with all its regional operations and has removed all operational areas from Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. It has now set up an international operation office at Shanghai which sows the emphasis and importance of Chinese market.
According to latest sales statistics, China has sold over more than six million units during the first half year. China has emerged as the largest auto market in the world followed closely by US and Japan.
Nick Reilly, the former GM president for Asia was appointed as the executive vice president for General Motor International operations. This shows the remarkable performance on China led Asia Pacific market which was given due credit by the head office.
According to an reputable web site, China has garnered all the attention from the global auto market owing to high auto demand rate, good robust market growth rate and stable economic environment. The North America auto industry which in recent times has been affected by bankruptcy cases such as Chrysler and GM.