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    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter- CheersandGears.com
    March 7, 2012
    Last week, General Motors and PSA announced a new alliance that would have the two sharing components and give stronger purchasing power for both. The deal is "an additional tool to the toolkit in Europe" said GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky to reporters. When asked what would come next in GM's plan to save Opel, Girsky declined.
    "We can't tell you what our play is in Europe. We will tell you when it plays out over the next period of months and years ... I don't see the play in Europe showing up in one big bang."
    This has everyone worried about what the next move will be for Opel. Currently, European production capacity is estimated to be 20% higher than needed to keep companies profitable in a weakening market.
    "Excess capacity is not a GM issue, it's an industry issue," Girsky argued.
    Also, GM is keeping quiet on whether it will post a thirteen year of losses in the European market. This comes on the heels of Ford announcing a $500 to $600 million dollar loss in Europe this year due to an 8.5% drop in European auto sales.
    "It's not just investors who hate uncertainty. It's the workers, it's the employees. People are working really hard on this," Girsky said.
    However, analysts aren't liking the silent treatment from GM. Michelle Krebs, analyst with Edmunds.com told Reuters that GM was taking risk with investors and consumers by saying they have a plan and not reveal any specifics. Also, the PSA deal doesn't solve the whole excess capacity problem.
    "It's not solving their problem, which is stemming the losses, and they are basically asking us to trust that the payoff will come in the future," said Krebs.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    February 29, 2012
    The rumor of GM and PSA Peugeot Citroën creating an alliance for the past couple of weeks is now true. Today, the two announced a new global alliance in which GM will buy a 7% stake in PSA.
    The alliance would have GM and PSA sharing vehicle platforms, components and modules. Plus, the alliance would give both stronger purchasing power for sourcing components, raw materials and other goods and services. The vehicle platforms in question are will be small and midsize passenger cars, MPVs and crossovers, with the first one arriving by 2016.
    GM says that results from the alliance will save approximately $2 billion annually within about five years.
    Still, analysts and investors are still wondering why GM & PSA are teaming up.
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM and PSA Peugeot Citroën Create Global Alliance



    Long-term strategic pairing to leverage combined scale and strengths


    NEW YORK – General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroën today announced the creation of a long-term and broad-scale global strategic alliance that will leverage the combined strengths and capabilities of the two companies, contribute to the profitability of both partners and strongly improve their competitiveness in Europe.
    The alliance is structured around two main pillars: the sharing of vehicle platforms, components and modules; and the creation of a global purchasing joint venture for the sourcing of commodities, components and other goods and services from suppliers with combined annual purchasing volumes of approximately $125 billion. Each company will continue to market and sell its vehicles independently and on a competitive basis.
    Beyond these pillars, the alliance creates a flexible foundation that allows the companies to pursue other areas of cooperation.
    In connection with the alliance, PSA Peugeot Citroën is expected to raise approximately €1 billion through a capital increase with preferential subscription rights for shareholders of PSA Peugeot Citroën, underwritten by a syndicate of banks and including an investment from the Peugeot Family Group, as a sign of its confidence in the success of the alliance. As part of the agreement, which includes no specific provision regarding the governance of PSA Peugeot Citroën, GM plans to acquire a 7 percent equity stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën, making it the second-largest shareholder behind the Peugeot Family Group.
    “This partnership brings tremendous opportunity for our two companies,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “The alliance synergies, in addition to our independent plans, position GM for long-term sustainable profitability in Europe.”
    Philippe Varin, chairman of the managing board of PSA Peugeot Citroën, declared, “This alliance is a tremendously exciting moment for both groups and this partnership is rich in its development potential. With the strong support of our historical shareholder and the arrival of a new and prestigious shareholder, the whole group is mobilized to reap the full benefit of this agreement.”
    Under the terms of the agreement, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroën will share selected platforms, modules and components on a worldwide basis in order to achieve cost savings, gain efficiencies, leverage volumes and advanced technologies and reduce emissions. Sharing of platforms not only enables global applications, it also permits both companies to execute Europe-specific programs with scale and in a cost-effective manner.
    Initially, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroën intend to focus on small and midsize passenger cars, MPVs and crossovers. The companies will also consider developing a new common platform for low emission vehicles. The first vehicle on a common platform is expected to launch by 2016.
    This alliance enhances but does not replace either company’s ongoing independent efforts to return their European operations to sustainable profitability.
    The purchasing cooperation defined in the agreement allows the companies to act as one global purchasing organization when it comes to sourcing commodities, components and services from suppliers, taking full advantage of the joint expertise, volume, platforms and standardized parts. Combining GM’s robust global processes and organizational structure with best practices from PSA Peugeot Citroën will bring significant value and efficiencies to the purchasing operations at both companies.
    Additionally, the alliance is exploring areas for further cooperation, such as integrated logistics and transportation. To this end, GM intends to establish a strategic, commercial cooperation with Gefco, an integrated logistics services company and subsidiary of PSA Peugeot Citroën, whereby Gefco would provide logistics services to GM in Europe and Russia.
    The total synergies expected from the alliance are estimated at approximately $2 billion USD annually within about five years. The synergies will largely coincide with new vehicle programs, with limited benefit expected in the first two years. It is expected the synergies will be shared about evenly between the two companies.
    The alliance will be supervised by a global steering committee that includes an equal number of senior leader representatives from each company.
    Its implementation is subject to requisite regulatory approvals in certain jurisdictions as well as notification to the appropriate workers councils.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    February 28, 2012
    Last Wednesday, we reported on talks between General Motors and Peugeot-Citroën on a possible alliance. Now, Reuters is reporting the talks have gone into advance stages and General Motors could be buying up a small share.
    Reuters has learned from a couple sources at both companies that General Motors would purchase 5% of Peugeot-Citroën as part of their alliance deal. The stake could be worth $240 million dollars at Peugeot's current market value of $4.8 billion.
    Sources say the deal could be announced within the next few days, but caution that an agreement has not been reached and the talks could still fall apart.
    When asked for comment, GM and Peugeot-Citroën didn't respond.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    February 22, 2012
    Question: What do GM's European arm and Peugeot-Citroën have in common? The answer; both are in dire financial straits and are trying to turn their fortunes around. GM's European arm announced a $562 million loss in 2011. Meanwhile, Peugeot-Citroën's announced a loss of $121 million in 2011 and has cut 6,000 jobs.
    It seems fitting then that GM and Peugeot-Citroën are talking about an alliance. Reuters is reporting that the two are in talks about a possible alliance. The alliance would have Opel/Vauxhall and Peugeot-Citroën cooperating on projects ranging from developing engines and transmissions to complete models that each brand could sell. No shares for either company would change hands.
    French newspaper La Tribune says the talks have been going on for the past few months and is entering the final stage of negotiations.
    When asked for comment, GM spokesman Johan Willems said,
    "We routinely talk with others in the industry, but have no comment beyond that."
    PSA, Peugeot & Citroën's parent company said in a statement,
    "In the context of its globalization strategy and improving its operational performance, PSA Peugeot Citroen looks at potential cooperations and alliances, There can be no certainty at this stage that these discussions will result in any agreement."
    Source: Reuters, Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    GM Announces 2011 Results

    By William Maley, in GM News,

    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    February 16, 2012
    Today, General Motors announced their results for 2011 and forth quarter.
    The company announced a profit of $7.6 billion for 2011, a large increase from the $4.7 billion profit in 2010.
    However, forth quarter results were not as impressive. Net income for the forth quarter was only $472 million, or about the same as Q4 2010. While this makes it eight straight quarters of positive growth, the earnings were weighed down by losses of $562 million in Europe.
    There were also a number of one-time events that affected earnings in the fourth quarter. Take those events out and GM says the profit would have been around $900 million.
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Reports 2011 Net Income of $7.6 Billion


    Full-year EBIT-adjusted of $8.3 billion, up $1.3 billion from 2010
    Fourth quarter net income of $0.5 billion and EBIT-adjusted of $1.1 billion

    DETROIT – General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today announced 2011 calendar-year net income attributable to common stockholders of $7.6 billion, or $4.58 per fully diluted share, up from $4.7 billion, or $2.89 per fully diluted share, in 2010.
    Revenue increased 11 percent to $150.3 billion, compared with $135.6 billion in 2010. Full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) adjusted was $8.3 billion, compared with $7.0 billion in 2010.
    “In our first full year as a public company, we grew the top and bottom lines, advanced our global market share and made strategic investments in our brands around the world,” said Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO. “We will build on these results as we bring more new cars, crossovers and trucks to market, and make GM a far more efficient global team. This includes reducing our break-even level in Europe and South America and driving higher revenues around the world.”
    Overview (in billions except for per share amounts)

    Q4 2010



    Q4 2011



    Full-year 2010



    Full-year 2011


    Revenue

    $36.9



    $38.0



    $135.6



    $150.3


    Net income attributable to common stockholders

    $0.5



    $0.5



    $4.7



    $7.6


    Earnings per share
    (EPS) fully diluted

    $0.31



    $0.28



    $2.89



    $4.58


    Impact of special items on EPS fully diluted

    $(0.21)



    $(0.11)



    $(0.14)



    $0.70


    EBIT-adjusted

    $1.0



    $1.1



    $7.0



    $8.3


    Automotive net cash flow from operating activities

    ($1.7)



    $1.2



    $6.6



    $7.4


    Automotive
    free cash flow

    ($2.



    ($0.9)



    $2.4



    $1.2


    Fourth Quarter Results
    Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2011 increased 3 percent to $38.0 billion, compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. GM’s fourth quarter 2011 net income attributable to common stockholders was $0.5 billion, or $0.28 per fully diluted share, including a net loss from special items of $0.2 billion or $0.11 per fully diluted share.
    In the fourth quarter of 2010, GM’s net income attributable to common stockholders was $0.5 billion, or $0.31 per fully diluted share, including a net loss from special items of $0.4 billion or $0.21 per fully diluted share.
    EBIT-adjusted was $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with $1.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010. Fourth quarter EBIT-adjusted for 2011 includes the impact of restructuring charges of $0.3 billion.
    GM’s fourth quarter 2011 special items include impairment charges related to goodwill and GM’s investment in Ally Financial, and gains related to the Canadian Health Care Trust (HCT) settlement, the reversal of deferred tax asset valuation allowances in Australia and the extinguishment of debt.
    Regional Results
    GM North America (GMNA) reported EBIT-adjusted of $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $0.8 billion in 2010. Full-year EBIT-adjusted was $7.2 billion in 2011 compared with $5.7 billion in 2010. Based on GMNA’s 2011 financial performance, the company will pay profit sharing of up to $7,000 to approximately 47,500 eligible GM U.S. hourly employees. The full payout will be paid to employees who had 1,850 or more compensated hours in 2011.
    GM Europe (GME) reported an EBIT-adjusted loss of $0.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, including $0.2 billion of restructuring costs, matching last year’s results. Full-year EBIT-adjusted was a loss of $0.7 billion in 2011, an improvement of $1.3 billion over 2010.
    GM International Operations (GMIO) reported EBIT-adjusted of $0.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $0.3 billion in 2010. Full-year EBIT-adjusted was $1.9 billion in 2011 compared with $2.3 billion in 2010.
    GM South America (GMSA) reported an EBIT-adjusted loss of $0.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, including $0.1 billion in restructuring costs, compared with EBIT-adjusted of $0.2 billion in 2010. Full-year EBIT-adjusted was a loss of $0.1 billion in 2011 compared with EBIT-adjusted of $0.8 billion in 2010.

    Cash Flow and Liquidity
    For the fourth quarter of 2011, automotive cash flow from operating activities was $1.2 billion and automotive free cash flow was $(0.9) billion, which includes the previously announced $0.8 billion contribution to the HCT.
    GM ended the year with strong total automotive liquidity of $37.5 billion compared with $33.5 billion in 2010. Automotive cash and marketable securities was $31.6 billion compared with $27.6 billion at the end of 2010.
    U.S. Pension Update
    GM’s U.S. defined benefit pension plans earned asset returns of 11.1 percent in 2011. They ended the year 88 percent funded, largely unchanged from 89 percent funded a year ago.
    The company also announced today that it is taking further steps toward its goals of de-risking and fully funding its U.S. pension plans. Effective Sept. 30, 2012, GM will freeze its defined benefit pension plan for U.S. salaried employees, who instead will receive contributions to a defined contribution plan, or 401(k). This initiative will affect GM's U.S. salaried employees hired prior to Jan. 1, 2001. Salaried employees hired after that date are already covered by a defined contribution plan.
    2012 Outlook
    Looking forward, GM expects to increase its top-line revenue year-over-year in an expanding global automotive industry. In addition, GM expects continued pricing improvement with cost inflation well contained, while product mix and pension expense are expected to be unfavorable.
    Capital spending in 2012 is expected to be in the range of $8 billion as the company continues to aggressively invest in new products and technologies.
    “We are executing an aggressive product plan that will give customers around the world even more reasons to purchase a General Motors vehicle,” said Dan Ammann, senior vice president and CFO. “Behind the scenes, we are working hard to eliminate complexity and cost throughout the organization to increase margins in all of our regions, and return Europe and South America to profitability. Overall, we have made good progress and we have more work to do.”

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    February 5, 2012
    General Motors and Ford Motor Company are butting heads over a commerical to air on tonights Super Bowl. Today, Ford sent GM cease and decease order to take down the "2012" commercial for the Chevrolet Silverado. Ford also pressured NBC to not air the ad tonight.
    The ad shows the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012 comes true. With a disastrous looking landscape, the only remaining object to survive is a new Silverado truck. The driver and his dog drive around in the wasteland till they come across a group of other Silverado owners. The group talks about a fellow friend that did not make it because he drove a Ford truck.
    “We stand by our claims in the commercial, that the Silverado is the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickup on the road. The ad is a fun way of putting this claim in the context of the apocalypse. We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away,” said General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick.
    For now, GM has said the ad will still air during the first quarter.
    *UPDATE* Ford spokesman Mike Levine confirmed to Motoramic that Ford did send GM a letter asking them to take the ad down, saying Ford disagreed with several of GM's claims, "particularly around durability." Levine also said GM's "longest-lasting" claims are false due to Ford having more trucks on the road with 250,000 miles or more than any other make.
    "Claims are made in advertising frequently by every auto manufacturer. This type of ad protest happens from time to time...We'll always defend our products."
    Levine said any decision on what to do after the ad airs will come from Ford's legal team.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxFYYP8040A&feature=youtu.be
    Source: Motoramic
    Press Release is on page 2

    Chevy Response to Ford on Silverado 2012 Super Bowl Ad


    DETROIT – Last evening Chevrolet was asked by Ford Motor Co. to stop showing its Super Bowl commercial for the Silverado, the longest-lasting, most-dependable full-size pickup on the road.
    The good-humored ad, called “2012”, shows the Silverado navigating a completely over-the-top, outrageous version of the devastation and destruction predicted to occur this year by the Mayan calendar includes giant attack robots, meteors and frogs falling from the sky.
    A group of friends, who are Silverado owners, makes its way to the designated meeting spot but notice one of their buddies is missing. The missing friend, however, did not drive a Chevrolet. Instead, he drove a Ford and doesn’t appear to have made it to the meeting point.
    “We stand by our claims in the commercial, that the Silverado is the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickup on the road. The ad is a fun way of putting this claim in the context of the apocalypse,” said General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick. “We can wait until the world ends, and if we need to, we will apologize. In the meantime, people who are really worried about the Mayan calendar coming true should buy a Silverado right away.”
    The Silverado ad will run in the first quarter of the Super Bowl and is one of five spots that Chevrolet is debuting on Super Bowl Sunday. To see all of the spots visit: http://www.youtube.c...Chevrolet/home.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    February 2, 2012
    GM’s Arlington, Texas plant, the place where the current Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL is going under some renovations. GM announced a new $200 million stamping facility that will produce large stamping components for GM’s next-generation full-size SUVs. The facility will save the company $40 million in logistics and will come online in 2013.
    Since we’re talking about Arlington and next generation SUVs, Motor Trend has uncovered some information about the next generation. All of the SUVs will stick with the underpinnings from Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. GM will use more high-strength steel as well as other alloys to keep weight down. Also being talked about for the next generation SUVs are direct-injected small-block engines, eight-speed transmissions, and a updated two-mode hybrid system.
    The new SUVs are due out sometime in late 2013.
    Source: Motor Trend
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Will Build $200 Million Stamping Facility in Texas


    2012-01-31
    ARLINGTON, Tex. – General Motors will start construction next week on a new $200 million stamping facility that will create approximately 180 jobs. The new facility, part of the company’s Arlington manufacturing complex, will produce large stamping components for the next generation of full-size Chevrolet Tahoes, Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades.
    "Our investment in GM's Arlington plant is one more example of GM strengthening the economy and creating jobs throughout the many U.S. communities where GM does business," said GM Manufacturing Manager Larry Zahner.
    Currently, Arlington receives stamped components from several GM plants, with some parts coming from more than 1,000 miles away. The new facility, which comes on line in 2013, will save about $40 million a year in logistics cost. The new facility is in addition to a $331 million investment to purchase tooling and equipment and expand the Arlington Assembly Plant that was announced along with 110 additional jobs in May 2011.
    “Today’s announcement is further evidence that the U.S. auto industry is back. An important goal for the UAW is to increase the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States and we are pleased that General Motors has decided to make this investment in Arlington,” said Joe Ashton, vice president of the UAW representing the GM department. “We look forward to more good news in 2012 as our workers continue to build the world’s best vehicles.”
    Tuesday’s announcement is the first manufacturing investment by GM in 2012. Since June 2009, the company has announced more than $6.9 billion of investment to upgrade or expand operations in 12 states, creating or retaining more than 17,600 jobs.
    “This investment is possible because of the teamwork among GM, the UAW, the Arlington community and the great State of Texas,” said Zahner. “We truly appreciate the support we have enjoyed from the Arlington community over the years.”

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    January 25, 2012
    Today, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending (gesundheit!) held its hearing on the Chevrolet Volt and investigation done by NHTSA. The hearing titled - "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It?" showed the committee led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wasn't here to mess around.
    First to testify was NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Strickland defended the agency's decision not to talk about the fire in a crash-tested Volt for more than five months, saying that it would have been "irresponsible" to disclose the fire before the agency had determined whether the Volt posed a risk to safety.
    Strickland also said replicating the initial fire was "difficult" and took a "tremendous amount of engineering" to produce a second fire in laboratory conditions.
    Next to testify was General Motors CEO and chairman Dan Akerson testified to the committee that the Volt is a safe vehicle and it has become "political punching bag."
    "We engineered the Volt to show the world the great vehicles we make at General Motors. Although we loaded the Volt with state of the art safety features, we did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag. Sadly that is what it's become." Akerson said.
    Akerson also told the comittee that GM never asked the White House to keep the Volt Fire that happen in June a secret and never had disscussions with the White House about the Volt.
    When asked how he got to hearings, Akerson said he drove a Volt.
    Issa said after the hearings he's satisfied with GM's response but now plans to focus on NHTSA.
    "We are disappointed. NHTSA could have been a much better job both in transparency and speed. When you have a new vehicle, it's better to take a pause," said Issa.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    January 24, 2012
    The UAW has scheduled a strike authorization vote for Thursday after workers at GM’s Fairfax, Kansas assembly plant voted last Friday to reject a proposed contract at the plant.
    On Friday, 66% of production workers and 58% of skilled-trades workers voted against a contract.
    "The UAW is working through issues with the company and is optimistic that we will be able to reach an agreement,” said UAW spokeswoman Michele Martin.
    George Ruiz, president of UAW Local 31 said the strike authorization vote is part of the negotation proces. The vote helps gives the UAW more leverage during negoations.
    Ruiz said the UAW and GM have taken a break, but expects negoations to resume after the vote is taken. Ruiz wouldn't go into details to what the issues are.
    GM and the UAW negotiate separate contracts at each of its plants that cover issues like work rules and other items.
    When asked for comment, GM Spokeswoman Kim Carpenter declined.
    GM employs 3,400 workers at the Fairfax, Kansas plant which builds the Buick La Crosse and Chevrolet Malibu.
    Source: Detroit Free Press

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    January 23, 2012
    GM's Lambda Trio; the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia are still selling very well (sales were up 5% in 2011), but there is no hiding the face that these three models are growing long in the tooth. Outside, the three are still very handsome. But, jump inside or drive one and you realize how old the three are. That will soon change as GM is readying updated models of the Enclave and Acadia, as shown here via some new spy shots.
    From what the pictures show, the overall shape remains the same. The Enclave gets a new, larger front end and headlights. The Acadia receives similar updates, but judging from the pictures, the grill outline shows designers are attempting to visually tie it to the smaller Terrain.
    Expect bigger changes under the skin for the two vehicles. The interior of both vehicles were heavily camouflaged, suggesting big changes are in store.
    GM's 3.6L DI V6 is expected to stay on, but rumors point to turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines.
    We'll likely see both vehicles make their appearance sometime this year, with GMC Acadia appearing at next month's Chicago Auto Show.
    Source: Motor Trend

    Z-06
    V.V. Haldavnekar
    Administrator - Cheers and Gears
    January 19, 2012
    After turning in profits for consecutive quarters of 2011, General Motors regained the global sales crown for 2011. Buoyed by an upswinging Chevrolet brand that saw growth in many of global markets, GM reported sales of more than 9 million units, a gain of over 7% compared to last year's sales. Chevrolet brand accounted approx. 4.8 million units. General Motors reports that it gained the global market share by 4th of a percent during 2011 to 11.9 percent.
    Hit the jump to read the full article.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    January 15, 2012
    Tom Stephens, the Vice Chairman and Chief Technology Officer for General Motors is retiring on April 1st, ending a 43-year career that included leadership of GM's global powertrain and product development organizations.
    Stephens started at GM back in 1969 as part of a student program. From there he would hold positions at Cadillac, Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Division, and GM Powertrain.
    Highlights for Stephens include leading the development of the first Cadillac Northstar engine and spearheaded the creation of GM’s advanced propulsion technology strategy.
    “Tom Stephens is an engineering icon within our company and within our industry. We have all benefited greatly from his passion, wisdom, and commitment to product excellence. His talent and contributions to GM are deeply appreciated and his expertise will be missed,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson in a statement.
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GMViceChairman and Chief Technology Officer to Retire



    Tom Stephens caps 43-year powertrain and product development career April 1


    DETROIT – General Motors Vice Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Tom Stephens has elected to retire effective April 1, capping a 43-year career that included leadership of the company’s global powertrain and product development organizations.
    In his most recent role as CTO, Stephens led the company’s product technology arm, working to identify and develop advanced and game-changing technologies for integration in future GM vehicles. He also focused on building closer relationships with external and internal technology partners. His successor will be named later.
    Stephens, 63, served as Vice Chairman, Global Product Operations from April 2009 through February 2011. He was Group Vice President of Global Powertrain from July 2001 to March 2008, when he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Global Powertrain and Global Quality.
    His GM career began in 1969 as an hourly employee at the Chevrolet Engineering Center in Warren, Mich., under the University of Michigan Student Co-op Program. Stephens held several engineering positions at Cadillac Motor Car Division and a series of engineering leadership posts with the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Division before being chosen to lead the newly created GM Powertrain Division.
    “Tom Stephens is an engineering icon within our company and within our industry,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “We have all benefited greatly from his passion, wisdom, and commitment to product excellence. His talent and contributions to GM are deeply appreciated and his expertise will be missed.”
    Key highlights of Stephens’ career include leading the development of the first Cadillac Northstar engine, GM’s premier dual overhead cam performance engine, which won numerous industry and engine awards. He also spearheaded the creation of GM’s advanced propulsion technology strategy, which guided the company’s development of a wide range of advanced engine technologies, hybrid vehicles, and the Chevrolet Volt.
    Stephens led the globalization of powertrain engineering, leveraging global centers of expertise to speed engine development. He also championed the use of computational tools and common parts in GM engineering and product development processes to increase quality and efficiency.
    After retirement, Stephens will continue to serve on the board of directors of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Foundation and the board of trustees for the Detroit Science Center. He is a member of the Engineering Advisory Council for the University of Michigan School of Engineering and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007 for his contributions to powertrain engineering.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    January 12, 2012
    GM is retiring one of their workhorse engines. The 2.4L four-cylinder found under the hoods of the Buick Regal and Verano, Chevrolet Equinox, and GMC Terrain will say farewell. In it’s place will be a new 2.5L DI four-cylinder.
    The new four-cylinder will make its debut in the regular Chevrolet Malibu, due out this summer. The engine is rated at 190 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. This is a decent size bump in power compared to the 2.4L’s 169 hp with port injection and 182 hp from the direct-injected version.
    The changeover will happen within the next twelve months. GM hasn’t said if the 2.5L will also take the place of the 2.4L in its eAssist hybrids.
    Source: Car & Driver

    Blake Noble
    January 3rd, 2011
    by "black-knight"
    CheersandGears.com
    Good news doesn't always mean great news, especially if you're in GM's shoes right now. Despite the fact GM is closer to snatching Toyota's global sales crown away, Chevrolet is very close to eclipising its all time sales record, and more new models are on the way, GM's stock has been trading somewhere between $20 to $21 bucks a share the last few days. Compare that to around this time last year when one share of GM's stock would have set you back about $36 dollars a pop or back in October when shares skyrocketed to about $43 dollars a piece.
    When you do all of the math, it adds up to a decrease of 46.1 percent, which sadly makes GM's stock the automotive industry's worst performing stock of 2011. By comparison, Ford's stock decreased by 37.3 percent throughout the course of last year -- which still isn't anything to celebrate about.
    So why has GM's stock taken such a nosedive in light of the major progress GM has made over the course of last year? Blame GM's European operations, which are still running in the red thanks to the Euro's rapid approach to meltdown status, and the U.S. Treasury still holding on to a big chunk of GM's shares.
    However, if the Motley Fool is to be believed, this might also be a good time to snap up a few of GM's shares if you think they are a wise investment since they are, after all, trading for less than five times of GM's earnings.

    GMTruckGuy74
    I am a huge Disney Parks fan - My favorite attraction to visit at Epcot in WDW happens to coincide with my passion for all things General Motors - the GM Test Track (formerly GM's World of Motion pavilion).
    Mouseplanet's weekly WDW news update reports that the GM Test Track attraction is scheduled to be closed from April 15 through September 21, 2012 for an upgrade to include a name change -Test Track presented by Chevrolet:
    …Our friends over at TouringPlans.com are reporting that Test Track may close from April 15 through September 21, 2012 to get an upgrade and to also change the official sponsor from General Motors in general to GM's Chevrolet brand in particular. It's likely that the changes to some of the attraction's vehicles are a preview of some of the new look. We'll have more once this closure is confirmed.
    TouringPlans.com also reveals a possible logo change for the attraction, seen below.

    The ride will feature new vehicles designed by GM's own research and development team rather than Disney's Imagineering unit who previously did the cars. Essentially, the ride will be gutted to the point where only the track path and vehicle chassis remain with a new ride built on the skeleton. The theme is going to be highly futuristic to mesh with the rest of Epcot .
    So, what's your take on this news? Is it a good idea for GM to concentrate on only one of it's brands in such a widely seen place?
    Source: Mouse Planet, TouringPlans.com, epcyclopedia.com

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    December 26, 2011
    With GM's next generation pickups just around the corner, GM is planning a 21 week vacation for their truck plants to update them.
    GM spokesman Chris Lee told Automotive News the company will begin idling their Fort Wayne assembly plant for nine weeks from January to October. Following Fort Wayne will be Flint assembly which will be idled for seven weeks from June to November. GM’s Arlington assembly is scheduled to shut for five weeks from June to December.
    GM's next generation pickups will arrive in 2013.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    Intrepidation
    General Motors Corp., which was 103 years old and was once America's largest company quietly died on Dec. 15, 2011. There were no ceremonies or anyone present to mark the company's passing.
    General Motors Corp. was founded in 1908, acquired more than 20 other companies in its life, including Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Opel, and Oakland. It would become the world's largest Automaker from 1931 until 2008 when it was eclipsed by Toyota. For much of the century it was the world's largest company, and at one point employed more than 600,000 people.
    In its final years it was known as "Old GM", although it had been been officially renamed "Motors Liquidation Co. when it went into bankruptcy in 2008. "Old GM" became the bad assets and debts of General Motors Corp. Some assets were sold to startup automakers Tesla and Fisker. The remaining assets, including some 65 building spanning 14 states and 40 million square feet are being transferred to four trusts, which includes The Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Trust (owner of those 65 buildings).
    In some ways the passing of Old GM is more symbolic than it is substance. General Motors Co., born from the bankruptcy, and free of the debt and bad assets still uses the same trademarks, brand names, and email addresses.
    In other ways it was a painful end of an era. Once having over 1 million stockholders in the 1960s, Old GM canceled stock during bankruptcy and made significant cuts on pension plans recipients Bondholders were only paid part of what they were owed and GM walked from with many bills.
    However, while the chapter closes on General Motors Corp. and new one is being written for General Motors Co. New GM earned 7.1 billion in the first nine months of 2011, and is a leaner, more efficient company than it was before.
    "It's the end of an era," said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research. "But new GM is a phoenix rising from the ashes."

    William Maley
    Back in September, we reported that GM and BMW were in talks about an alliance. The possible alliance would have General Motors looking at BMW's lineup of gas and diesel engines, while BMW is looking at the Voltec powertrain. Now, a report from German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche says there could be more to this alliance.
    Wirtschaftswoche reports the two are in talks about jointly developing fuel cell technology for vehicles. The plan would allow BMW to access GM's fuel cell tech. In return, BMW would help pay research costs.
    When asked about this, a BMW spokesman said,
    "We are speaking to GM about various future technologies but we are not saying anything more beyond that."
    GM declined to comment.
    Source: Reuters
    Related:
    Rumorpile: GM & BMW To Team Up?

    William Maley
    With Detroit only a month away, news has began to come/leak out of what will be premiering. Late last week, GM’s senior vice president of global product development, Mary Barra told the Automotive Press Association in Detroit the new ATS would make it's debut at Detroit.
    But that's not all, Chevrolet will be showing a production version of the Sonic RS and two concept vehicles from their GM North Hollywood Design Center. Buick will have the brand new Encore, a small crossover based on GM’s front-wheel-drive Gamma II platform there as well.
    Source: Automobile Magazine, Left Lane News

    William Maley
    General Motors might have figured out what caused the Volt to catch on fire in a NHTSA storage yard back in June.
    A source tells the Associated Press the cause of the fire is the coolant used in batteries to help keep them cool. The coolant didn't catch on fire, but crystallized and caused a short circuit.
    But just as that information was coming out, Reuters learned from a couple sources that GM is closing in on a package of proposed fixes for the battery pack. The fixes include laminating the circuitry in the Volt's 400-pound battery pack, reinforcing the case surrounding the lithium-ion battery and better protecting the coolant system from leaks in a severe crash.
    The fixes could cost less than $9 million, or about $1,000 per Volt, the sources say.
    Sources: Associated Press, Reuters
    Related:
    Chevrolet Volt Fire Prompts Investigation Into Batteries
    NHTSA Opens Investigation Into Volt Batteries
    GM Offering Free Loaner Cars to Volt Owners During Battery Investigation
    Chevy Volt Tops Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey
    GM May Redesign The Volt's Battery *UPDATED*
    A "couple dozen" Chevrolet Volt Owners Take Up GM's Buyback Offer
    House Committee Planning A Hearing Into The Volt Fire

    William Maley
    Last week, GM's CEO Dan Akerson said in a interview with the Associated Press that the company would be willing to buy back Volts from concerned owners.
    Well some owners are taking GM up on that offer. Today, GM told The Detroit News that a "couple dozen" Volt owners have asked the company to buy back their Volts.
    "For those few who have requested repurchase, we're going to move fast" if their concerns can't be met any other way, said Greg Martin, GM spokesman.
    GM is currently working with Volt owners individually to understand their concerns and offering loaner vehicles to those owners during the NHTSA investigation.

    Source:
    The Detroit News

    Related:
    GM May Redesign The Volt's Battery *UPDATED*

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    December 1, 2011
    In a interview today with Reuters, GM CEO Dan Akerson said the company may redesign the Volt's battery in response to a NHTSA investigation.
    "We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we're just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly," Dan Akerson told Reuters.
    Back on Monday, GM announced they would offer loaner vehicles to 5,500 Volt owners after NHTSA opened a investigation into Volt's batteries last Friday.
    In addition, Akerson said the Opel Ampera would not go on sale until engineers and safety regulators had worked out how to deal with the 400-pound battery pack after any accident.
    Akerson also reiterated that the Volt is a safe car, pointing to the safety ratings the car has received.
    Source: Reuters
    UPDATE: Dan Akerson told the AP today that the company would be willing to buy Volts back from their owners. Akerson also said that if necessary, GM will recall more than 6,000 Volts on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.
    "I think in the interest of General Motors, the industry, the electrification of the car, it's best to get it right now than when you have - instead of 6,000 - 60,000 or 600,000 cars on the road," said Akerson.
    Source: The Associated Press
    Further Reading:
    NHTSA Opens Investigation Into Volt Batteries
    GM Offering Free Loaner Cars to Volt Owners During Battery Investigation
    Chevy Volt Tops Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey

    William Maley
    Today, General Motors announced that it will provide a loaner to any Chevrolet Volt owner concerned about the safety of their vehicle. The announcement comes a few days after NHTSA announced an investigation into the Chevrolet Volt's batteries after tests done by NHTSA have cause the batteries to catch on fire.
    GM says they will try to contact every Volt owner to attempt to clear up the confusion. GM has sold 5,329 Volts and each owner should receive a letter within the next few days.
    “We are contacting all Volt owners to assure them and reassure them the car is safe to drive. The Volt is our pride and joy and we will do all we can to make Volt owners as happy with it as we can,” said Mark Reuss, head of General Motors North America, in a conference call with reporters.
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Builds on Battery Safety to Ensure Confidence in Chevrolet Volt


    Customer safety, satisfaction remain highest priority
    Volt owners offered alternative GM vehicle loans for peace of mind
    Senior GM engineering team to work with NHTSA on possible changes

    2011-11-28 - DETROIT - General Motors announced Monday initiatives for customer satisfaction and battery safety research to ensure ongoing confidence in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.
    The initiatives follow six months of research and testing in the United States with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designed to induce electric vehicle battery failure after severe crash situations.
    The agency advised GM on Friday that it would open a preliminary evaluation of Volt battery assemblies after NHTSA test results caused electrical fires up to three weeks after an initial vehicle New Car Assessment Program side pole crash test.
    Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, said the company would take every precaution to assure the driving public of GM’s commitment to the safety of the Volt being handled after a severe incident and the total satisfaction of everyone who owned one.
    “The Volt is a five-star safety car. Even though no customer has experienced in the real world what was identified in this latest testing of post-crash situations, we're taking critical steps to ensure customer satisfaction and safety,” Reuss said.
    “Our customers' peace of mind is too important to us for there to be any concern or any worry. This technology should inspire confidence and pride, not raise any concern or doubt.
    “The question is about how to deal with the battery days and weeks after a severe crash, making it a matter of interest not just for the Volt, but for our industry as we continue to advance the pursuit of electric vehicles.”
    Senior GM engineering investigation team
    Mary Barra, senior vice president, Global Product Development, said GM had established a senior engineering team to develop changes to eliminate concern of potential post-crash electrical fires and work with industry to ensure appropriate electric vehicle protocols were in place. Barra said such electrical fires had not occurred on public roads and NHTSA was not investigating any such potential imminent failure on the roads.
    “GM and the agency's focus and research continue to be on the performance, handling, storage and disposal of batteries after a crash or other significant event,” she said.
    “We’re working with NHTSA so we all have an understanding about these risks and how they can be avoided in the future. This isn’t just a Volt issue. We’re already leading a joint electric vehicle activity with Society of Automotive Engineers and other automotive companies to address new issues, such as this protocol of depowering batteries after a severe crash.”
    Barra said the team would continue to work closely with NHTSA, suppliers, dealers and manufacturing teams to initiate any necessary changes as soon as possible.
    Volt owner loan program
    Reuss said GM would establish a Volt owner satisfaction program. Any Volt owner concerned about safety can contact his or her Volt advisor to arrange for a free GM vehicle loan until resolution of the issue.
    “A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our commitment to the vehicle and its owners,” he said. “These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations.”
    Launched in late 2010, the Chevrolet Volt has won more than 30 awards in the United States and other markets. The Volt achieved a five-star NCAP overall vehicle score for safety by the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. GM carried out more than 1 million test miles in vehicle development.

    William Maley
    GM's Spring Hill assembly has been quiet since production of Chevrolet Traverse moved in 2009, with the plant building powertrains and other components. Now, a car is returning to Spring Hill.
    Today, GM announced a $244 million investment into Spring Hill that will create one of the industry's most flexible production lines. The assembly line will open in the second half of next year building the Chevrolet Equinox, which will help supplement production in Canada. But GM says the plant will be capable of assembling any car from its portfolio should increased demand require another production site.
    GM says the investment will bring forth 594 hourly jobs and 91 salaried positions in the next half of next year. Out of the $244 million, $183 has been reserved for “future midsized vehicles,” a move that will eventually bring around 1,090 hourly workers and 106 salaried jobs.



    Press Release is on Page 2
    Spring Hill Assembly Reborn as Ultra-Flexible Operation

    Additional production of Chevrolet Equinox to begin in second half of 2012
    $61 million investment and 685 jobs for flexible operation
    $183 million for future midsize vehicles and 1,196 jobs

    SPRING HILL, Tenn. – General Motors will invest $61 million to bring its idled Spring Hill assembly plant back to life as one of the world’s most-flexible manufacturing facilities capable of building any GM car or crossover based on customer demand or manufacturing need.
    The investment will create 594 hourly jobs and 91 salaried positions for the flexible operation scheduled to begin with the hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox in the second half of 2012. The additional production will supplement Equinox production in Canada, the main assembly sites of the midsize crossover vehicle and its sibling the GMC Terrain.
    The Equinox has been so popular – U.S. sales were up 18 percent in October – that GM has increased production three times since it went into production in 2009.
    GM also announced Monday a second investment of $183 million for future midsize vehicles to be built at Spring Hill, located about 40 miles south of Nashville. Timing was not announced, but that investment is expected to create an additional 1,090 hourly and 106 salaried positions.
    “Spring Hill has a history as one of GM’s most innovative and flexible plants,” said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM Labor Relations. “We’re pleased that, working together with the UAW, we were able to build on that history and develop a plan to resume production at Spring Hill.”
    The potential for Spring Hill’s future role was discussed as a part of negotiations for a four-year national labor agreement ratified in October.
    "Our number one priority in auto negotiations this year was jobs," said UAW President Bob King. "We asked the company to bring jobs back to America , and that’s what this collective bargaining agreement represents. Together, we are bringing 1,800 jobs to Tennessee, and a total of 6,400 new GM jobs, which translates to nearly 60,000 good, auto-related jobs in the United States."
    Equinox production is only the start for Spring Hill Flex. Operators will be capable of building a variety of products on a range of platforms – covering for plants being retooled for new products and also allowing real-time reaction to sales spikes in a given car or crossover.
    Spring Hill powertrain and stamping operations, part of the integrated complex that was the home to the former Saturn brand from 1990 to 2007 and the Chevrolet Traverse large crossover into 2009, are still operating. In fact, GM has invested $515 million in the engine operations in the last 14 months for current and next-generation Ecotec 4-cylinder engine production.
    "The re-opening of Spring Hill is a testament to the value of collective bargaining," said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union's General Motors Department. "Collective bargaining works for companies, for workers and for America. Collective bargaining is what brought good jobs to Tennessee. It is what built our middle class. It is how workers and communities have a voice in corporate decision-making. Bargaining is what gives the working class a seat at the table."

    William Maley
    The current Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are getting shown up by Ford’s F-Series and Ram truck lineup with their improved interiors, ride, and powertrains. But GM is busy at work on the next generation pickup to steal back some of the spotlight.
    This week, Inside Line got some spy shots of the new Sliverado/Sierra undergoing some testing. The biggest difference between the current trucks and the one featured in the pictures is a new greenhouse. Also, the truck looks to sporting more cues from the current GM HD trucks with it’s larger front end and less rounded shape.
    Also, the new trucks are expected to be 500 lbs less than the current Siverado/Sierra.
    Source: Inside Line



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