This is the Autosavant Weekly News Digest — your first stop for a recap of the week’s top stories in automotive news across the wide world of cars. A true Autosavant knows the value of a good story, well told. Continue Reading →
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By Chris Haak
Today, General Motors officially confirmed the vehicle that will be produced at its currently-idled Spring Hill, Tennessee plant. The answer: the Chevrolet Equinox. The company can’t seem to keep up with Equinox demand ever since the current-generation vehicle was launched for the 2010 model year, despite running a steady three-shift operation at the CAMI plant in Ontario, and even conducting final assembly at another plant to further add capacity. Even more interesting than a solution (coming in mid-2012) to Equinox supply shortages, though, is the fact that according to the company, Spring Hill will be able to produce nearly any GM vehicle that is in high demand thanks to its ultra-flexible operation.
By Charles Krome
There. I said it. The Saturn Astra is a cool car.
One of GM’s last-ditch efforts to save the Saturn brand, the Astra was, of course, a slightly Americanized version of a nifty European compact—shades of the new Ford Focus!—and makes an excellent poster child for the whole “Americans will never buy a small, premium-ish, hot-handling Eurocar” business that is still keeping the Cruze hatchback away from our shores.
Now, I have no problem admitting that I’ve never driven, or even driven in, an Astra. But then, not many folks have. GM had high hopes for the car, but U.S. customers stayed away from it in droves. In fact, the General had to stop importing the car from its Belgian home base after roughly two years and fewer than 20,000 sales. But all that being said, it looks like a winner on paper.
By Chris Haak
Wednesday night, GM’s Saturn division sent letters to approximately 1.5 million Saturn owners to alert them that even in the face of GM announcing that it would likely close down the Saturn brand, Saturn would not necessarily fade into the sunset in 2011 when the current models’ life cycles ended. Somewhat surprising, however, was the concept that the letter put forth of Saturn continuing beyond 2011 by distributing vehicles built by either GM or other manufacturers.
Saturn Distribution Corporation, or SDC, already exists as a subsidiary of GM, and is the entity with which Saturn dealers have their franchise agreements. Saturn General Manager Jill
By Kevin Gordon
Late yesterday afternoon General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner held a news conference to discuss the viability plan that was submitted to the U.S. Treasury. The highlights have been noted by Blake M and Kevin M. Here I wanted to focus on some of the video coverage that has been available online.
First, Rick Wagoner’s press conference should be available to view at noon (EST) today. (Click read the rest of this entry below for additional videos)
Reorganization Plan Calls For Saab To Become Independent By Year-End
By Kevin Miller
Yesterday was the day that GM’s long-awaited restructuring plan made it to Washington, DC. It confirmed some things we had heard before as well as containing plenty of new information. Some facts that have been confirmed include the fact that unless Saturn is sold or spun-off, it will be phased out at the end of the current product lifecycle, which is in 2010-2011. Also, a decision to sell or phase-out Hummer will be made this quarter. These are major decisions, ones that affect uncounted retailers, suppliers, assemblers, and customers.
One of the big pieces of news surrounds Swedish carmaker Saab. A full member of the GM family since 2000 (GM first acquired half of the company in 1990), Saab has consistently underperformed in the market, though the fact that the automaker has only two vehicle nameplates for sale, which were introduced in 1998 and 2003, respectively, is largely thanks to GM’s stewardship of the brand (or lack thereof). In any case, the paragraph below, from GM’s Restructuring Plan, shows that Saab will be off of GM’s books as of December 31, 2009. Continue Reading →
By Andy Bannister
With most commentators agreeing that if General Motors is to survive it needs to simplify its confusing array of divisions, talk has begun to circulate recently about the pros and cons of dropping the Vauxhall brand.
Largely unknown today outside its homeland of the United Kingdom, Vauxhall is a car maker with a history dating back 105 years, 74 of them under the ownership of GM.
However, the company effectively gave up its design independence in the 1980s to its German sister, Opel. Today’s Vauxhall is merely a British badge affixed to an Opel car. In many ways it is a crazy arrangement.
The trouble is, Vauxhall as a brand is as British as they come, and despite the disappearance of a UK-owned volume car industry, a home-grown name still counts for quite a lot. To British buyers Opel is an obscure make last sold on their market in the 1980s. Continue Reading →
This Badge-Engineered Hatchback Unwittingly Showcases the Problems of GM’s Divisional Structure
By Kevin Miller
A press release today claimed “Pontiac Announces New Small Car for U.S. Market.” The release went on to describe the “sporty, five-door hatchback G3″. The thing is, the G3 is not new to the US market. It is already sold at Chevrolet stores as the Aveo5, and is also sold in Mexican and Canadian markets.
“The small car segment has literally exploded in recent months, with sales up nearly 33 percent in the first six months of 2008 alone,” said Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. “The Vibe, G3, G5, and G6 prove that you don’t have to sacrifice sporty design and responsive driving to achieve impressive fuel economy.” I would say that the G3 subtracts credibility from Pontiac as GM’s “performance” division. And as for fuel economy, goes, the G3 isn’t really that impressive. Continue Reading →
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