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    GM Can't Make A Business Case for A Small Performance Car


    • At the moment, GM can't make a case for a pocket rocket

    It seems a month can't go by without another automaker announcing a new pocket rocket. Currently we have the Ford Fiesta and Focus ST; Honda Civic Si, Subaru WRX and WRX STI; Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S, and Volkswagen GTI. So that leaves us and a number of enthusiasts wondering - where is GM's contender?

     

    General Motors' vice president of product development tells Automotive News that at the moment, there isn't a business case for one.

     

    "Capital is not a black hole. On those cars, the price point begins to approach the segment of the next car up. We would spend a lot of money and resources, and what are we really doing?" said Reuss.

     

    AutoPacific Inc. analyst Dave Sullivan agrees with Reuss' reason, stating that the added cost and complexity of fitting a bigger engine and manual transmission into either the Sonic or Cruze is prohibitively expensive. But Sullivan does point out that they can pull items and help from their European division. Case in point is the Opel/Vauxhall Astra OPC/VXR with a turbocharged 2.0L four with 276 horsepower.

     

    For the time being, Reuss says that the company is offering a wide selection of accessories to boost performance for not that much cash. Case in point is the $995 performance stage kit and exhaust package for the Sonic. But if you press Reuss, he says a production pocket rocket could be in the timeline.

     

    "The real question is: Is that a big priority? For now, no. Forever? I wouldn't say that."

     

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    Focus ST is a fantastic car but at some point it crowds price points of other cars (like say for example base Camaro or an LT vs. a Focus ST).

     

    Also the key demographic for such cars has been broke (millenialz and younger set) for awhile now.  They car barely scrape the cash for a Sonic.  If they hit the jackpot, then they want to go right to the 3 series or Merc CLA.

     

    I do think the 3 door Astra OPC would be a fantastic addition to the Buick lineup here.

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    Seriously, it can't be that hard.    I know the 2.0T won't fit in the sonic, but the new 1.6T would be a nice mill in there.  Raise the boost a bit and gear it right and it will be a great little pocket rocket without needing to spend a lot of cash.

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    Agree with Drew, they can turn the existing Sonic into that Pocket Rocket to compete. No need for a new compact ride. AWD would be nice, but that might not work on the existing Sonic platform.

     

    This is a niche market anyway so no need to spend allot of cash. Offer an SS Sonic with the 1.6T and aftermarket GM Performance kits and call it a day.

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    Agree with Drew, they can turn the existing Sonic into that Pocket Rocket to compete. No need for a new compact ride. AWD would be nice, but that might not work on the existing Sonic platform.

     

    This is a niche market anyway so no need to spend allot of cash. Offer an SS Sonic with the 1.6T and aftermarket GM Performance kits and call it a day.

    I don't think it would be quite SS level, but it would be a good upgrade for the current RS.  200 hp, maybe boosted up t o 215hp and 206 lb-ft of torque at 1700rpm, maybe use an overboost option like the Cruze diesel to bump that up too.... That would be perfectly acceptable for a a 2800 lb. hatchback.

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    Excuses. There's already development of these vehicles from GM-Europe and most of the new platforms are federalized.

     

    Mr. Reuss, by spending money on things like these you are keeping and creating customers who go to other brands because of lack of choices, even if it means less ROIC than other bread and butter vehicles. For me, e.g., I am looking at a GTI, ST, Mazda3 S hatch as a daily driver, why? Because there's nothing in GM stable that provides utility, performance, fuel economy and fun-to-drive factor in a smaller, cheaper to insure package.

     

    When it comes to the main stream cars, GM is following Toyota model for being boring and appealing masses rather than covering all bases. It had a goodwill in Cobalt SS, HHR SS Turbo and blew it with Cruze by not offering one.

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    Focus ST is a fantastic car but at some point it crowds price points of other cars (like say for example base Camaro or an LT vs. a Focus ST).

     

    Also the key demographic for such cars has been broke (millenialz and younger set) for awhile now.  They car barely scrape the cash for a Sonic.  If they hit the jackpot, then they want to go right to the 3 series or Merc CLA.

     

    I do think the 3 door Astra OPC would be a fantastic addition to the Buick lineup here.

     

     

    Dare I say I agree with Reg here. The younger set for the most part are not buying these cars, it's the F & F crowd grown up from the last decade. I have yet to see a real youngin' around here driving in a Focus ST...and while they are great cars, what kid has 30k laying around?

     

    I would love to see GM make a faster Cruze, but I'd rather see the money invested elsewhere in the company right now...

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    I'd be happy if they just refresh the Sonic RS with the new 1.5T from the Malibu. Doesn't have to be a pocket rocket with Brembos and a track suspension to be peppy and fun.

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    Excuses. There's already development of these vehicles from GM-Europe and most of the new platforms are federalized.

     

    Mr. Reuss, by spending money on things like these you are keeping and creating customers who go to other brands because of lack of choices, even if it means less ROIC than other bread and butter vehicles. For me, e.g., I am looking at a GTI, ST, Mazda3 S hatch as a daily driver, why? Because there's nothing in GM stable that provides utility, performance, fuel economy and fun-to-drive factor in a smaller, cheaper to insure package.

     

    When it comes to the main stream cars, GM is following Toyota model for being boring and appealing masses rather than covering all bases. It had a goodwill in Cobalt SS, HHR SS Turbo and blew it with Cruze by not offering one.

     

     

    You, my good friend, are in a rare crowd right now. None of these cars are big sellers at the moment, and I know Ford is cutting back on ST production right now. And while it's good to have a halo car right now, I'm just not sure if the time is right just yet. With GM working on a bunch of updated models right now, I would rather see that finished first.

     

    And I am not so sure about the Cruze...I've seen quite a few modded ones, so I know there is some movement out there. Lots of folks are modding that 1.4 anyways..

     

    Trust me, as a small car guy myself, I'd love to agree with ya! Just not GM is ready yet....

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    I'm in agreement with a few here about the lack of need for a small purpose built "Code 130R" type car, but the Cruze should at the very least be offered with an optional 2.0L engine. The issue at hand really seems to stem from the fact that unlike VW, Subaru, or even Ford.. Chevy has a solid performance set of cars in its line-up. Chevy, like Nissan, for instance, offers a Camaro (370Z) and a Corvette (GT-R) Each oof Chevy's models do come in "Steps" from V6 to V8 to S/C V8. VW does not do this. Ford technically does not do this, and even with the upcoming GT, will still not be doing this as that car will costs about $400,000 and be extremely limited. Then there is the price. Why the EFF, would someone pay $22K for a God Damn Fiesta ST when they could get a Mustang for only $1K more???

     

    That being said.. again.. a Sonic RS with an actual engine upgrade, say at least 190HP would be pretty sweet considering its handling capabilities. Cruze??? Jumpin off the Cobalt SS and going with the 2.0L Turbo say around 270HP would be choice. 

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    I'm in agreement with a few here about the lack of need for a small purpose built "Code 130R" type car, but the Cruze should at the very least be offered with an optional 2.0L engine. The issue at hand really seems to stem from the fact that unlike VW, Subaru, or even Ford.. Chevy has a solid performance set of cars in its line-up. Chevy, like Nissan, for instance, offers a Camaro (370Z) and a Corvette (GT-R) Each oof Chevy's models do come in "Steps" from V6 to V8 to S/C V8. VW does not do this. Ford technically does not do this, and even with the upcoming GT, will still not be doing this as that car will costs about $400,000 and be extremely limited. Then there is the price. Why the EFF, would someone pay $22K for a God Damn Fiesta ST when they could get a Mustang for only $1K more???

     

    That being said.. again.. a Sonic RS with an actual engine upgrade, say at least 190HP would be pretty sweet considering its handling capabilities. Cruze??? Jumpin off the Cobalt SS and going with the 2.0L Turbo say around 270HP would be choice. 

     

    They already make a Cobalt SS you describe.  It's called the Verano Turbo and it's sold at Buick dealerships.  It even comes with a 6-speed manual. 

     

    If your only concern is performance, there is a case to be made for the Mustang v. Fiesta ST comparison, but in terms of content, the base Mustang will not stack up to a fairly loaded Fiesta ST.

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    I'm in agreement with a few here about the lack of need for a small purpose built "Code 130R" type car, but the Cruze should at the very least be offered with an optional 2.0L engine. The issue at hand really seems to stem from the fact that unlike VW, Subaru, or even Ford.. Chevy has a solid performance set of cars in its line-up. Chevy, like Nissan, for instance, offers a Camaro (370Z) and a Corvette (GT-R) Each oof Chevy's models do come in "Steps" from V6 to V8 to S/C V8. VW does not do this. Ford technically does not do this, and even with the upcoming GT, will still not be doing this as that car will costs about $400,000 and be extremely limited. Then there is the price. Why the EFF, would someone pay $22K for a God Damn Fiesta ST when they could get a Mustang for only $1K more???

     

    That being said.. again.. a Sonic RS with an actual engine upgrade, say at least 190HP would be pretty sweet considering its handling capabilities. Cruze??? Jumpin off the Cobalt SS and going with the 2.0L Turbo say around 270HP would be choice. 

     

    They already make a Cobalt SS you describe.  It's called the Verano Turbo and it's sold at Buick dealerships.  It even comes with a 6-speed manual. 

     

     

     

    Absolutely.. I kno. But the Buick crowd isn't taking this car out to track or drift. The engine could just as easily be thrown in a Cruze.. and the suspension and braking be upgraded to a level that the Cobalt SS had. That car was pretty fun to drive. A friend of mine had an '09 that was factory tuned to 290HP and 315lb of twist. The thing was fun to say the least. That was in 2009. Imagine what we would be seeing now. As for Buick.. they need to go full-on Astra and get the hatch too.. along with all the upgrades the OPC has. I drove one of those when I was in Germany last year and was jealous of what they get to say the least

     

    Opel-Astra-OPC.jpg

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    I wonder if they make the chip upgrades for the Verano Turbo.....hmmm

     

     

    I dunno about factory warrantied, but they do in the aftermarket. .. well at least for the LTG in the Regal. I kno they are slightly different tho. 

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    I wonder if they make the chip upgrades for the Verano Turbo.....hmmm

     

     

    I dunno about factory warrantied, but they do in the aftermarket. .. well at least for the LTG in the Regal. I kno they are slightly different tho. 

     

     

     

    Probably a different topic, but any brand you recommend? I was considering one for the Encore to get at least a little bump in power.

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    I wonder if they make the chip upgrades for the Verano Turbo.....hmmm

     

     

    I dunno about factory warrantied, but they do in the aftermarket. .. well at least for the LTG in the Regal. I kno they are slightly different tho. 

     

     

     

    Probably a different topic, but any brand you recommend? I was considering one for the Encore to get at least a little bump in power.

     

     

     

    For those I'd look around. I'm pretty used to messing with V8s at this point myself, so the 2.0L I would have to ask a few people I kno who have Regals or ATS. The Encore tho.. Intune Diablo has a nice tune for the 1.4L Turbo

     

    678qbq.jpg

     

     

    Hell.. for the ATS 2.0L they supposedly are getting 50 more HP and 60 more lbs of twist from a tune  Intune .

     

    In my Stingray.. their numbers have been proven to be REAL. Yukon too. 

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    I hope they continue to produce a performance Astra, or at least allow the option of it as an upgrade perhaps? Would be a great shame if they just threw it down the pan.

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    A boost of 42lb-ft would be nice but I don't think I could convince the other half that spending the money for 91 octane would be worth it.   Darn.

     

    Oh well, Regal GS AWD could be the solution. ;-)

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    With the 2016 Cruze based on the new D2XX platform with transverse AWD support, one cannot help but wonder if GM should take up the torch Mitsubishi is setting down.  The formula is simple and very attainable:-

    • Base Price: $39,995
    • 2016 Cruze Chassis (D2XX) -- 3,200 lbs Target Weight
    • 400 bhp 2.0L Extreme Output Turbo Four (LTX)*
    • Getrag 7DCT500 7-speed Dual Clutch transmission (7,500 rpm max input speed; 413 lb-ft Max Torque)
    • Open Front / Active Rear / Quaife Helical Torque Biasing Center Differential (40F/60R default split)
    • Wider Fenders wrapping 18x9.5" wheels shrodded by 275/35R18 Michellin Super Sport Tires
    • Brembo Brakes w/ 14.6" vented Discs (Front) ; 13.3" vented discs (rear) -- from ATS-V
    • Recaro Racing Bucket Seats (Optional)
    • Aggressive Air Dam / Hood Vent / Ridiculous Wing  (Totally Optional)

    *2.0L Extreme Output (LTX) Engine

     

    Based on the ubiqutous 270 hp / 295 lb-ft (LTG) 2.0L engine, the (LTX) is beefed up with light weight Titantium connecting rods, Titanium Intake Valves, hypereutectic pistons and a forged crankshaft. Compression Ratio remains at 9.5:1, but the twin-scroll turbocharger is englarged and features a titanium-aluminide turbine wheel. The Intercooler system is replaced with a low volume, high efficiency air-to-water setup. Maximum boost remains unchanged at 22 psi, but the new turbo now supports much higher airflow rates allowing for the torque peak of 300 lb-ft be available from 3000 to 7000 rpm. The power peak of 400 bhp is reached at the engine's 7000 rpm redline -- 500 rpm short of the 7500 rev limiter. This turbo philosophy is not unlike that adopted by the McLaren MP4-12C's M838T engine. Compared to the Mercedes CLA45AMG's M133 engine, the LTX achieves 40 more horsepower with 4 psi less boost, a more linear torque curve and an 800 rpm higher rev limit. Coupled with a lofty 7000 rpm redline this makes for a revy, easy to control engine which is less demanding on transmission or the driver.

     

    To keep the price a smidgen under $40,000, the Cruze "Evolution" SS does not employ magnetorheologic shocks, carbon-ceramic brake discs, carbon fiber body panels or active steering gears. Like on the Lancer Evolution X,  7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission is externally sourced from Getrag. The 7DCT500 however is 1 generation newer than the DCT470 on the Evo X. The key here is to win the Kamikaze Turbo AWD crown without busting the budget of the buyer demographics in the market for this type of vehicle (Working 20s and 30s year olds). This is why this needs to be a Chevy and not a Buick of Cadillac. Selling ~8000 of these annually shouldn't be a problem. More importantly though is that cars like these help to channel the attention of high schoolers and college freshmen onto the run of the mill Cruze, just like the Civic Si or the WRX STi does for the Civic and the Impreza lines.

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    Excuses. There's already development of these vehicles from GM-Europe and most of the new platforms are federalized.

     

    Mr. Reuss, by spending money on things like these you are keeping and creating customers who go to other brands because of lack of choices, even if it means less ROIC than other bread and butter vehicles. For me, e.g., I am looking at a GTI, ST, Mazda3 S hatch as a daily driver, why? Because there's nothing in GM stable that provides utility, performance, fuel economy and fun-to-drive factor in a smaller, cheaper to insure package.

     

    When it comes to the main stream cars, GM is following Toyota model for being boring and appealing masses rather than covering all bases. It had a goodwill in Cobalt SS, HHR SS Turbo and blew it with Cruze by not offering one.

     

     

    You, my good friend, are in a rare crowd right now. None of these cars are big sellers at the moment, and I know Ford is cutting back on ST production right now. And while it's good to have a halo car right now, I'm just not sure if the time is right just yet. With GM working on a bunch of updated models right now, I would rather see that finished first.

     

    And I am not so sure about the Cruze...I've seen quite a few modded ones, so I know there is some movement out there. Lots of folks are modding that 1.4 anyways..

     

    Trust me, as a small car guy myself, I'd love to agree with ya! Just not GM is ready yet....

     

     

    I never said that the sales will be sky high, hence my reference to reduced ROIC (Return of Invested Capital). And I never mention them to be halo cars. These cars are never intended to be sold at rate of 25,000 a month, but even at 2,500 to 3,000 a month that is additional 10% sales. GM always seems to look at 80-20, target the 80 and ignore the 20 and this my friend is no different. These cars are mainly for goodwill and keeping enthusiasts within the family while adding some profit and GM is horrible at retention.

     

    When is the right time, if not now? Unlike Z-06, Z-28, or V which take substantial R&D, most of these cars are high performance versions of lesser siblings that can be developed with them simultaneously, just ask Mercedes Benz how it does with AMG. Suspension tuning and handling is the only part that will require extra work. But it's not like starting ground up.

     

    Given GM's size it will ALWAYS be working on updating models. GM was not ready with Cruze 6 years ago when it did not bring SS version (yes fully agree with bankruptcy) but nothing is preventing that now, I guess with this mentality it will never be ready.

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    A boost of 42lb-ft would be nice but I don't think I could convince the other half that spending the money for 91 octane would be worth it.   Darn.

     

    Oh well, Regal GS AWD could be the solution. ;-)

     

    I'm pretty sure GM's turbo engines all have good high-octane tables that give enough benefit to power and fuel economy that the cost of 91 octane is just about entirely offset. I'm weary of putting regular in any turbocharged engine, they're essentially being dumbed down just to be able to accept the cheap stuff.

     

    Trifecta offers 1.4T tunes in a number of flavors. You can tell them what you want and they'll meet your needs.

     

    I would honestly test your car on premium gas for a few tanks and just monitor the differences in fuel economy and feel, you might be surprised.

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    Chevy has a solid performance set of cars in its line-up. Chevy, like Nissan, for instance, offers a Camaro (370Z) and a Corvette (GT-R) Each oof Chevy's models do come in "Steps" from V6 to V8 to S/C V8. VW does not do this. Ford technically does not do this, and even with the upcoming GT, will still not be doing this as that car will costs about $400,000 and be extremely limited. Then there is the price. Why the EFF, would someone pay $22K for a God Damn Fiesta ST when they could get a Mustang for only $1K more???

     

    Are you saying the pocket rockets are cross shopped with GTRs and Z06s, given Chevy and Nissan's plethora of performance products and therefore should not be needed?

     

    As far as why the EFF someone would pay $22K for a GD Fiesta if Mustang is $1K more:

    1. Choices - Didn't you say Cadillac is hurting in sales because of what? Choices. GM flourished in the 50s and 60s due to choices and today it doesn't.
    2. Utility - Good luck with putting your ovesized utility items in a Mustang when you make trips to Lowes
    3. One Car Does It All - Not everyone has luxury or resources to own different types of vehicles for different moods owing to financial, locational, or desirability constraints. But yet want balance of performance, utility, fuel economy and fun to drive. These cars fit the bills.
    4. Insurance Cost - Insurance is not going to be same for those two cars. And which one will a cop catch while speeding?
    5. Value - You get a lot more value for a $22k fully loaded fiesta than a $23k bottom dweller mustang.

     

    So, performance is NOT the only metric here. The effing one trick pony loses to a GD pocket rocket holistically .

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    I am not sure why there has to be such an extreme to create a big expensive trim level when a lot of folks who want a cool fast ride just want more power, maybe better steering and suspension / wheels, and maybe even a sunroof.

     

    Maybe instead of the RS trim being just body tack ons, it could have an engine upgrade.

     

    Most simply, how about a bare Cruze, with a lone engine option for a 1.8t or 2.0t.  Then, a wheel / tire package to some nicer 18's and tires that are decent (not top of the line).  Maybe 4 wheel discs. then, offer the MT as an option.  Then have a bundle package for discounts on addition of moonroof and high end sound on the stereo.  Maybe a power seat is in there.

     

    I don't think we have to create a full SS if we take say the LT and just give it a couple options, which are mostly for an engine upgrade.

     

    I've always thought cars like the Cruze were worthy of a limited production, manual transmission specific package which not be a full bore performance model, but just some moderate upgrades to the plebian models of which they are twin.

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    I am not sure why there has to be such an extreme to create a big expensive trim level when a lot of folks who want a cool fast ride just want more power, maybe better steering and suspension / wheels, and maybe even a sunroof.

     

    Maybe instead of the RS trim being just body tack ons, it could have an engine upgrade.

     

    Most simply, how about a bare Cruze, with a lone engine option for a 1.8t or 2.0t.  Then, a wheel / tire package to some nicer 18's and tires that are decent (not top of the line).  Maybe 4 wheel discs. then, offer the MT as an option.  Then have a bundle package for discounts on addition of moonroof and high end sound on the stereo.  Maybe a power seat is in there.

     

    I don't think we have to create a full SS if we take say the LT and just give it a couple options, which are mostly for an engine upgrade.

     

    I've always thought cars like the Cruze were worthy of a limited production, manual transmission specific package which not be a full bore performance model, but just some moderate upgrades to the plebian models of which they are twin.

     

    Because that will not win any crowns and help boost the image of the Cruze and of Chevy in general in the eyes of people who grew up or are growing up with B16A powered Civics, 4G63/4B11 powered Lancer EVOs or VR38DETT powered GTRs. But, yes, you can have a Cruze GT-A if you will powered by a plain vanilla LTG engine making 270hp/295 lb-ft driving the front wheels via the 6T75 automatic transmission,17" alloy wheels and big-n-cheap sliding caliper brakes. That can go for $26K with the moonroof thrown in as standard.

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    I am a bit surprised to hear this, but then perhaps GM just isn't showing their hand. 

     

    A competitor to the Fiesta/Focus ST would be neat, though I'd hope they'd benchmark against VW's GTI, which is a little less frenetic and more accessible. 

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    Maybe GM should "re-badge" all of their performance oriented cars into one brand to see if people really care about buying unique pocket rockets and one-offs from the rest of the production.  I know!  They can call it "Pontiac" and sell this version of the Astra as the "Le Mans".

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      Bloomberg reports that GM will be cutting the third shift at their Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan (home to Cadillac ATS, CTS, and Chevrolet Camaro) and a shift at Lordstown, Ohio plant (home to the Chevrolet Cruze). GM spokesman Tom Wickham said the company is treating the layoffs as permanent, although some workers will be able to transfer to other plants.
      The layoffs are due to sales of compact and sports cars going down due to consumers buying more crossovers. Sales of the Chevrolet Cruze dropped 20 percent through October, while the Camaro has seen a drop of 9 percent.
      On the same day, General Motors announced a $900 million investment for three plants - Toledo Transmission Operations, Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana, and Lansing Grand River. Wickham said this investment would not add any new jobs.
      Source: Bloomberg, General Motors
      Press Release is on Page 2


      General Motors today announced initiatives to strengthen and align its production output at key U.S. manufacturing operations. The plans include investing more than $900 million in three facilities — Toledo Transmission Operations in Ohio, Lansing Grand River in Michigan and Bedford Casting Operations in Indiana —  to prepare the facilities for future product programs.
      GM also announced plans to align production output with demand for cars built at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Lansing Grand River, Michigan, assembly plants. As the customer shift from cars to crossovers and trucks is projected to continue, GM will suspend the third shift of production at both facilities in the first quarter of 2017. 

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