Following the release of several spyshots earlier this week, Chevrolet has officially confirmed that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will indeed be the official pace car of the 97th annual Indianapolis 500 which will take place later this month.
Want to see GM’s stock price recover to something closer to the IPO price or – gasp – closer to the price at which Treasury would actually break even on its bailout of GM? Perhaps the answer is addition by subtraction. Maybe it’s time for GM to cash in its chips in Europe and put Opel, Vauxhall, and Chevrolet (the Europe version) out of their misery and sell them. And if nobody wants to buy them (a very strong possibility), GM should wind down the businesses.
Popular wisdom in the car business is that it’s impossible to close underutilized assembly plants in Europe. Dozens of plants were closed in the U.S. over the past 10 years, and though the capacity reductions were no doubt painful for the workers previously employed at those shuttered plants, not to mention the communities around them that those workers lived in and bought things in, they did right-size the U.S. auto industry’s production footprint for the market share for the Detroit 3. The day of reckoning in Europe has eluded them so far, but it’s coming.
Last week, we engaged in some speculation about the future of GM’s Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant, noting that the only two confirmed products the plant produces are 1) not necessarily high-volume models, and 2) are already going to be built elsewhere along with Oshawa. Today, on the occasion of the new 2014 Impala’s launch event in San Diego, GM told us one of the ways they’ll keep Oshawa humming for the next year or two: they’ll keep making the old W-Body Impala, but it will be sold to fleet buyers only. Specifically, we’re talking about rental cars.
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson told attendees at the IHS CeraWeek conference in Houston this week that he is confident that his company is on track to meet aggressive fuel-economy requirements on schedule. In case you’ve forgotten, new CAFE rules agreed to by automakers and by California and other interested parties require fleet fuel economy to be 54.5 MPG by 2025. That’s just 11 model years from today. (It’s important to remember that 54.5 MPG for CAFE purposes is nowhere near that number in the real world; think more along the lines of about 35 MPG. Still a nice number, but not as eye-popping as 54.5 MPG). Continue Reading →
If you’re worried about in-car distractions getting worse and not better, you’re not going to like this news. GM announced today that in a partnership between OnStar and AT&T, it will install 4G LTE hotspots in its Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada starting in 2014, with additional global carrier partners coming online later. LTE is roughly 10 times faster than the 3G technology prevalent in other manufacturers’ cars with built-in hotspots.
While attending the launch event for the 2014 Corvette Stingray last month, I was struck by a thought that just wouldn’t leave my head. Were GM executives being honest when they said that they only applied the Stingray name to the car at the eleventh hour, only after it was clear that the car raised the bar in terms of design and performance? Could there be another reason that it’s no longer just a “Corvette,” but now a “Corvette Stingray” or even just “Stingray?” Well, here’s my crazy idea. Grab your tinfoil hat. Continue Reading →
It might finally be time to say goodbye to Government Motors, because General Motors is buying back $5.5 billion of the common stock that the U.S. Treasury currently owns. GM will be paying $27.50 per share, which is a 7.9% premium over its most recent trading price prior to the announcement, but is a 17 percent discount vs. GM’s $33.00 IPO price in 2010. Of note, the price that GM is paying for its own shares is also about half of the $52.39 the shares would have to be in order for Treasury to break even on its “investment” in GM.
The autoblogosphere is all atwitter today about GM’s truck inventory levels. They’re ridiculously high, and the problem has gotten worse since last month rather than better. More specifically, the company has 245,853 trucks as of the end of November, which is a 4.4 percent increase over the October 31 total – and represents a 139-day supply. The industry considers 60 days of inventory to be ideal. So how did this happen?
Who wants to buy a car from Government Motors? Apparently, not as many people as would prefer to buy one from General Motors. That’s the argument that GM has attempted to convey to Treasury officials in recent weeks. It seems that GM is tired of its association with the controversial TARP/auto industry bailout, and feels that any continued ownership by the U.S. government is acting as a drag on its reputation, and therefore its sales.
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