Ahead of releasing this month's sales numbers, General Motors has announced that it will start reporting sales quarterly instead of monthly.
“Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market. Reporting sales quarterly better aligns with our business, and the quality of information will make it easier to see how the business is performing,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations in a statement this morning.
GM cites many reasons for the change to quarterly reporting - weather, product launches, number of selling days, incentives, and seasonal factors.
“It’s not that (GM) doesn’t want to talk about how many cars they are selling or if they’re having a bad month. They’re still going to report everything quarterly,” explained IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley.
“It changes the tone of the story, because with month-to-month results it is difficult to really get a good picture of the industry.”
"I understand the reasons they are doing it. There can be a lot of fluctuation during a month," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst with Autotrader to Automotive News.
Krebs went onto say that other automakers might consider following General Motors lead. She used the example of Chrysler which ended the practice of reporting sales-figures for 10 days in 1991. Other automakers would follow suit, but it took some time. GM didn't make the switch till 1994.
"What happened was they decided to go monthly, and everybody did it. That would make me believe everybody is going to follow suit and follow GM's lead."
But this move could bring forth some unattended consequences. Monthly sales numbers are used by many people and industries to help gauge the economy. It could also make estimates made by third-parties not fully reflect the automaker’s performance.
“Right now, the market looks at whether someone comes in above or below forecasts. If GM’s sales are estimated monthly, those estimates could be really high and then the results come in lower when you look at quarterly sales. That could have unintended consequences.”
But the inverse - GM posting higher sales numbers than what was estimated - is also true.
One thing is certain, we just don't know how this is going to work out.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, General Motors
Press Release is on Page 2
GM to Begin Reporting U.S. Sales on a Quarterly Basis
DETROIT – General Motors announced today it will begin reporting its U.S. vehicle sales on a quarterly basis, effective immediately. In 2018, second quarter sales will be released on July 3, third quarter sales on October 2 and fourth quarter sales on January 3, 2019.
“Thirty days is not enough time to separate real sales trends from short-term fluctuations in a very dynamic, highly competitive market,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations. “Reporting sales quarterly better aligns with our business, and the quality of information will make it easier to see how the business is performing.”
In the auto industry, monthly sales are subject to many issues that make them more volatile than quarterly sales, including product launch activity, weather, other seasonal factors, the number of selling days and incentive activity.
GM’s high level of transparency on total, brand and nameplate sales, fleet mix and inventory will not change. The company will also continue sharing J.D. Power PIN estimates for incentive spending and average transaction prices.
The company’s March 2018 U.S. sales will be released today at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
If you happen to be an owner of a General Motors vehicle and are looking to earn some cash, then a new pilot program might be of interest. Bloomberg has learned from sources that GM is planning to launch a program where owners can rent out their vehicles when they aren't driving them - think AirBnb for cars. This will be launch through GM's Maven car-sharing service sometime this summer. A GM spokesman declined to comment.
This appears to be another part of GM's plan to transition from manufacturer to mobility provider. GM already has their car-sharing service Maven and invested $500 million into ride-hailing service Lyft.
This idea of allowing owners to rent out their vehicles isn't new. Companies like Turo and Getaround have been doing the same thing for a number of years. But Alexandre Marian, a director in the automotive and industrial practice at consultant AlixPartners LLP said GM could have one big advantage, having a huge network of vehicle owners that could be part of the service.
But there is a big risk for owners who decide to offer their vehicles up for rent, what happens if they get into an accident? Maven provides liability coverage for its renters. If you offer your vehicle through Turo have the choice of adding commercial coverage through their own insurance or one of the insurance companies that have partnered with the service. We're expecting GM to have some solution in place if they decide to go forward with this program.
Another one of GM's International Operations Could be on the Chopping Block
This past year has seen General Motors not be shy with scaling back operations in various international markets. The company sold off Opel/Vauxhall to PSA Group, ended sales of Chevrolet vehicles in India, and closed down their operations in South Africa. Now, GM's Korea operations are on the chopping block.
Last week, GM CEO Mary Barra revealed that company officials were in discussion with minority owners and union officials that could lead to "some rationalization actions or restructuring."
"We're going to have to take actions going forward to have a viable business," said Barra during a conference call talking about GM's 2017 financial results.
Sales of GM vehicles in Korea have dropped 20 percent, while manufacturing costs have increased. This has made South Korea a poor place to export vehicles to other markets.
This week, GM announced that it will shutter the Gunsan plant (one of the four plants operating in South Korea). The plant employs 2,000 out of the 16,000 workers employed at GM Korea. GM said the reason for the closure came down to high labor costs and low output. The plant only operated at 20 percent of its capacity last year according to Reuters. Unsurprisingly, the news angered the South Korean government and workers at the plant.
“The government expresses deep regret over GM’s one-sided decision to suspend and shut down” the plant, the finance ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it wants to conduct an audit of GM's operations help with the restructuring plan.
As for workers at Gunsan plant, workers staged a protest yesterday, declaring the move a “death sentence”, and threatening a strike.
“Let’s protect our right to live on our own,” said Kim Jae-hong, the leader of the workers’ union at the Gunsan branch.
A GM Korea spokesman said the company "would continue discussions with the union and seek their understanding over the closure plan." Workers though aren't fully buying this.
“We can’t accept this. The company informed us about the closure plan, not asking for our opinion. It was already the end of the discussions,” Dang Sung-geun, a senior official at the union of GM Korea told Reuters.
“This is like a death sentence notice before the Lunar New Year holidays.”
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Reuters (2)
More crew cabs are expected to be rolling off the production line
When the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra begin rolling off the assembly line sometime later this year, there will be a larger number of crew cabs.
GM's vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss tells Automotive News that the company has been "constrained' when it comes to the output of their crew cab pickups, a segment that has seen its popularity increase in recent years. Reuss said the company is planning to increase capacity for crew cabs with their next-generation pickups.
A Chevrolet spokesman said that crew cabs have grown from more than 50 percent of GM's truck sales in 2013 to more than 60 percent.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
Despite General Motors mostly leaving the European market with the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group earlier this year, the automaker isn't ruling out a full-scale return.
During a recent meeting of the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company would "absolutely" consider a return to the European market, adding that "nothing keeps us from going back." But it will be some time before GM decides to go back. According to Barra, the company would need to build out a lineup of "transformative products" like electric or self-driving vehicles to make it worthwhile.
General Motors does have a small presence in Europe with Cadillacs being sold by 45 dealers - most of them in Germany and Switzerland. The Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette are also sold in small numbers.
The current-generation GM trucks will soldier on with the next-generation models
The 2019 model year looks to be the year of the full-size truck. Alongside a redesigned Ram 1500, General Motors will be launching their next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The new trucks will be bringing a number of improvements such as a lower curb weight thanks to new materials, updated powertrains, and some new tech. But the current-generation pickups will be sticking around for some time.
The Truth About Cars came across GM's 2019 VIN code documents that were submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In them, GM lists the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Legacy and GMC Sierra Limited. These models will only be offered as a double cab with the 5.3L V8. Trims include base and LT/SLE. Production of these models will take place at GM's Oshawa, Ontario plant.
Source: The Truth About Cars
General Motors has announced plans of moving towards an electrified and self-driving future. But in the foreseeable future, the company's core business model of selling vehicles to drivers will not be going away.
“The owner-driver model will be there for a very long time. So far we see (mobility) as additive, but we see it as having potential to grow and be quite substantial,” said GM CEO Mary Barra during a meeting of the Automotive Press Association.
Most of GM's and other automaker's profits come from crossovers, pickup trucks, and SUVs. But GM is planning for a possible future where the automotive landscape is very different. Back in October, the automaker announced an ambitious plan of launching 20 electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2023 - two of those will launch within the next 18 months. The company is also planning to launch a driverless ride-sharing service in 2019.
Source: The Detroit News
GM possibly adds lightness to their next-generation truck beds
General Motors had a field day when Ford switched from metal to aluminum for their truck beds. The company ran a series of ads showing how their metal beds could stand up to the rigors of a pickup truck's life compared to the Ford's. So it seems slightly ironic that GM is planning to use a lightweight material for their next-generation truck beds.
The Wall Street Journal and Automotive News have learned from sources that GM is planning to use carbon fiber in their full-size pickup beds. According to one source, carbon fiber will be part of a mix of different materials, including aluminum. The move makes sense as stricter fuel economy regulations come into effect. Finding ways to cut down on weight is a good way to boost fuel economy.
There is a big issue with carbon fiber, price. The material is very expensive to produce due to the long, labor-intensive process. The Journal reports that at first, the beds would be used on the premium versions of the trucks (High Country and Denali). It would trickle down to lower trims as "more efficient production processes" come online.
The new beds are expected to debut within the next two years.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
PSA Group is demanding a refund from General Motors of between $711 million and $948 million stemming from the purchase of Opel by PSA. PSA is claiming that GM misrepresented Opel's emissions reduction strategy during the due diligence negotiations.
EU Emissions regulations for 2021 set a target reduction of 130 g/km to 95 g/km. Regulators can fine manufacturers $113 per vehicle per gram over the limit. Any vehicle at the 130 g/km limit today would see fines of $3,955 per car sold.
PSA claims that GM's plan for reaching that target relied on unrealistically high sales of the Opel Ampera-E, the European model of the US built Chevrolet Bolt EV, and extra rosy forecasts of diesel sales. Opel loses $11,850 per Ampera-E sold. PSA has already cut sales of the Ampera-E in Norway and raised its price at least $6,700 for the rest of Europe. Adding to the trouble are falling diesel sales in Europe as consumers move to less efficient gasoline engines.
Even during the sale negotiations, PSA was was aware that GM was forecasting Opel to miss the 95 g/km target by 3.7 grams. Take the Ampera-E forecast of 20,000 vehicles out out of the picture and that number jumps to 6 g/km. Adjusting for falling diesel sales and Opel will miss its target by 10 grams. Such a large miss could result in fines approaching the entire purchase price of Opel ($1.54 billion).
PSA is now speeding into production electric or plug-in hybrid variants of Opel's mainstay cars, with the entire lineup being converted to PSA platform architecture by 2024.
PSA must now go through GM lawyers and arbitration to determine if they will get any refund from GM.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra spoke yesterday at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York. During her talk, Barra said the company expects to make a profit off electric vehicles once they launch their next-generation EV platform.
“We are working to provide desirable, obtainable and profitable vehicles that deliver a range of over 300 miles. There’s a lot of really creative things we’re doing to achieve that profitability point for that new platform,” Barra said to investors.
The next-generation modular platform, due in 2021 will play a pivotal role in GM's plan to launch 20 all-new electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2023. The platform will help drop the total per-unit cost by 30 percent or more. It will be used across a number of GM brands and various segments.
GM is also working on a new battery system that will cut the per-kilowatt-hour from $145 to under $100 by 2021.
Before these two launches, GM will be introducing four new EV and hydrogen vehicles. Two of those will be launch by April 2019 according to a GM spokesman. At least two vehicles will be small crossovers according to Automotive News. It is expected the electric models will use the underpinnings of the Chevrolet Bolt.
The company has a set a goal of a million electric vehicles by 2026 - with most happening in China due to their strict production quotas for EVs.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
The strike at General Motors' CAMI Assembly plant, home of the Chevrolet Equinox has come to an end. Today, 86 percent of Unifor Local 88 members voted yes on a new 4-year contract. With the approval, workers will resume work at the plant beginning at 7 PM tonight for early start-up, with production beginning at 11 PM.
Here is what new 4-year contract include
Stronger language around job security. Union said the new contract would make it more costly for GM to close down CAMI - $290 million vs. $190 million.
If CAMI is shuttered, employees near retirement will still be able to get into a retirement program.
Workers will get a 4 percent wage hike and $8,000 in lump-sum payments over the contract
New hires on the production line will see an accelerated pace in terms of their wages increased to the max of $34.15 per hour
A $6,000 performance bonus once the deal is ratified
"The ratification of a new 4-year agreement between GM Canada and Unifor Local 88 at CAMI Assembly is welcome news for our company, employees and the community. We have an outstanding new product at CAMI with the Chevrolet Equinox and I am confident that we will quickly pull together to continue to demonstrate to the world the outstanding productivity, innovation and quality that is synonymous with the CAMI workforce," said Steve Carlisle, President of GM Canada in a statement.
There is one thing missing from this contract, a written assurance that CAMI would be the lead producer of the Equinox. This was the major point of contention between the two during negoations.
It is clear that Unifor officials are not happy with this contract.
“The end result was not the result we were hoping for, it shows the true colors of GM,” Unifor Local 88 Chair Mike Van Boekel said in a statement to members.
Given these actions, our demand to protect the Equinox was not only fair and reasonable, it simply made sense. Our members had every reason to make this [lead producer] demand, and did everything to demonstrate it was a demand that deserved to be met. However, at the highest levels of General Motors corporate in Detroit, they coldly refused. As a result and after much internal discussion, we decided that we could not, in good conscience, ask for more economic sacrifice from you in this fight,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
We have to wonder if GM's threat of ramping up Equinox production in Mexico issued last week was the turning point.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), CBC News, GM
Press Release is on Page 2
2017 CAMI / UNIFOR NEGOTIATIONS
The ratification of a new 4-year agreement between GM Canada and Unifor Local 88 at CAMI Assembly is welcome news for our company, employees and the community. We have an outstanding new product at CAMI with the Chevrolet Equinox and I am confident that we will quickly pull together to continue to demonstrate to the world the outstanding productivity, innovation and quality that is synonymous with the CAMI workforce.
I want to extend thanks to the local and national Unifor teams who have worked long hours together with the GM negotiating team these past many weeks. The negotiations process requires a great deal of straight talk, creative problem solving, and compromise to achieve a positive outcome for both the membership and the Company. Success is also achieved by remembering that we are here to serve our customers proudly and deliver the very best product and services to them.
Having grown up in Southwestern Ontario, the CAMI plant and the Oxford County community mean a great deal to me. The challenges of the past months have been hard on all of us but now it’s time to show the character of our region and our plant. With the recent $800 million investment at the CAMI plant and this agreement, it is up to each of us to demonstrate the unparalleled value we deliver as leaders within Canada’s auto sector. The employees at CAMI have created a culture of team involvement and continuous improvement resulting in numerous industry awards for vehicle quality and productivity. I am confident that by working as one team, that will continue for years to come.
President and Managing Director
General Motors Canada
After a month-long strike and threat earlier this week, General Motors and Unifor Local 88 have reached an tentative agreement for workers at the CAMI assembly plant. Last night, Unifor Local 88 made the announcement via email to its workers. Details of the agreement are being kept under wraps until a ratification vote is held on Monday. If the agreement is approved, workers will return to the plant starting at 11 PM Monday night.
"We have addressed job security which will be in this deal. I think it's a fair agreement ... and everybody is looking forward to going back to work and making vehicles their customers want, knowing there will be some sort of job security there," said Mike Van Boekel, the union's plant chair at CAMI to CBC News.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), CBC News
This I believe is what is called the 'Nuclear Option'
The news isn't getting any better at General Motors' CAMI plant where workers have been on strike for a month after the automaker and Canadian union Unifor were unable to reach an agreement. Already, the strike has caused GM to make adjustments and idle some of their plants in North America, and there are concerns about the shrinking stock of Chevrolet Equinoxes.
But now the stakes have been raised. According to Reuters and Automotive News, General Motors issued a warning to leaders at Unifor that it will start winding down production of the Equinox at CAMI unless the strike is called off. Unifor leader Jerry Dias was told by GM officials that the automaker would begin ramping up Equinox production at the San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plants if the strike was not called off.
"GM just told us today that they are going to ramp up production in Mexico. They have declared war on Canada," Diaz told Reuters.
GM had no immediate comment on Dias' statement when reached by Reuters.
According to a source at GM, the discussions between them and Unifor have been going nowhere and there is "a high degree of frustration." Because of this, GM is planning to study how quickly key suppliers for the Equinox could move their operations down to Mexico. No final decision on CAMI's fate has been decided according to the source, but the time frame for getting a deal done is narrowing.
Mexico has been the dividing point between GM and Unifor. The union objected to GM's decision to lay off 600 workers at CAMI when it moved production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Unifor wants CAMI to be the lead plant for Equinox production by "giving it more production if Equinox sales rise and making it the last to scale back production if sales fall." But GM has invested $800 million into the plant for retooling to build the new Equinox. The automaker believes this should be enough commitment and putting it into writing isn't necessary. According to the source, there is no such language in any of the other union contracts.
The strike has gotten so bad that the Government of Ontario has stepped in, urging both groups to resolve this rift.
“I feel like we’re engaged in a poker game, but the interests of Ontario are sitting on the table right now,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario's Economic Development Minister.
“It’s an uncomfortable place to be, obviously, and we’d really like to urge the parties to find a resolution to this as quickly as possible before permanent damage is done.”
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
General Motors has brought back a concept idea from their past for the modern era. This is SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) which takes the hydrogen skateboard platform from the GM Autonomy and Hy-Wire concepts from the early 2000s and supersizes it.
The platform uses GM’s new Hydrotec fuel cell system that is comprised of a gen 2 fuel cell, storage tank that can provide a range of 400 miles, electric drive units, and a lithium-ion battery. This is placed onto a commercial truck chassis that will allow it handle various tasks and terrains such as military transport or a mobile medical unit in an area after a natural disaster. The platform also features autonomous tech.
“SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments. General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business.
GM will be showing off SURUS fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from October 9th to 11th.
Source: General Motors
Press Release is on Page 2
GM Outlines Possibilities for Flexible, Autonomous Fuel Cell Electric Platform
Washington, D.C. — General Motors aims to solve some of the toughest transportation challenges created by natural disasters, complex logistics environments and global conflicts. The company will display its Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a flexible fuel cell electric platform with autonomous capabilities, at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from Oct. 9-11, 2017. The commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use.
SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times.
Fuel cell technology represents a key piece of General Motors’ zero emission strategy. It offers a solution that can scale to larger vehicles with large payload requirements and operate over longer distances. SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis. The SURUS platform is equally well-suited for adaptation to military environments where users can take advantage of flexible energy resources, field configurability and improved logistical characteristics.
GM is evaluating multiple applications for SURUS, such as:
Mobile and emergency backup power generation
Flexible cargo delivery systems
Light- and medium-duty trucks, improving upon the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 that has been evaluated by the U.S. military under guidance of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and is undergoing testing on bases
Future military-specific configurations
SURUS will deliver highly mobile autonomous capability and agility in unpredictable terrain. Operating multiple vehicles in a leader-follower configuration could reduce manpower needed. For future potential military uses, the system’s inherent low heat signature and quiet operation offer benefits in environments to reduce detection and risks. TARDEC has been in discussions with GM evaluating the commercial SURUS concept as a next step of the broader collaboration to evaluate fuel cell technology for future military applications.
“SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.”
The SURUS platform leverages GM’s vast experience in fuel cell technology, high-voltage batteries and electric drive systems, autonomous driving and vehicle manufacturing. The platform boasts:
Two advanced electric drive units
Lithium-ion battery system
Gen 2 fuel cell system
Hydrogen storage system capable of more than 400 miles of range
Advanced propulsion power electronics
GM truck chassis components
An advanced, industry-leading suspension
The SURUS commercial platform draws on GM’s more than 50 years of research and development of fuel cell technology. The scalable and adaptable technology enables land, sea and air applications across commercial and military environments.
Since April 2017, the Army has been testing the commercial Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 on its U.S. bases to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles in military mission tactical environments. The vehicle has been operating in off-road conditions to evaluate its power generation, reduced odor, acoustic and thermal signatures, high wheel torque, extended operating range and the potential to use the byproduct water.
Military testing has shown the ZH2 reduced acoustic non-detection distance by 90 percent compared to current military vehicle in operation. This means the ZH2 can get 10 times closer before being detected. Leaders also observed the potential advantages for stationary power generation over diesel generators, including a significant reduction in idle noise and fuel use. Testing will continue through spring 2018.
Partnerships remain an important part of GM’s electrification strategy. Last year, the U.S. Navy unveiled a GM fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for testing purposes that leverages GM fuel cell technology common with the Colorado ZH2.
General Motors is the latest automaker that is preparing for an emissions-free future. Today at GM's technical center in Warren, MI, the company announced plans to introduce 20 electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2023. The first two models of this plan will launch in the next 18 months and will be "based off learnings" from the Chevrolet Bolt.
“General Motors believes in an all-electric future. Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain in a statement.
Those who were at the technical center got a preview of three clay models featuring the next-generation electric powertrain - a Buick crossover (Encore replacement?), Cadillac wagon, and a pod-looking vehicle.
GM is also working on building out vehicles using hydrogen powertrains.
"General Motors believes in an all-electric future... Our electric solution cannot be 'one size fits all.' We believe you need two different flavors of electrification — battery electric and fuel cell electric."
GM showed off SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) which takes the idea of the skateboard hydrogen chassis from the Hy-Wire concept and makes it quite larger - about the size of a commercial truck chassis.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Green Car Reports , Roadshow, GM
Press Release is on Page 2
GM Outlines All-Electric Path to Zero Emissions
DETROIT — General Motors announced today how it is executing on a major element of its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, recently announced by GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs.”
In the next 18 months, GM will introduce two new all-electric vehicles based off learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt EV. They will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that will launch by 2023.
Given customers' various needs, getting to a zero emissions future will require more than just battery electric technology. It will require a two-pronged approach to electrification — battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric depending on the unique requirements.
GM also introduced SURUS — the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure — a fuel cell powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that’s driven by two electric motors. With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance — all emissions free.
The effects of the CAMI strike are beginning to appear
Last Sunday night, workers at General Motors' CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario went on strike due to the automaker and Unifor Local 88 being unable to reach a tentative agreement. The plant where the majority of the Chevrolet Equinoxes are built has been shut down since. Now the side effects are the strike are beginning to be felt.
At least 255 workers at GM's St. Catharines, Ontario plant have been given temporary layoff notices that begin tomorrow. St. Catharines is where the transmissions for the Equinox are built. According to Automotive News, workers spent the week stockpiling transmissions.
"We supply about 90 per cent of (CAMI's) transmissions, so it's related to that. Even though they were down, we ran all week ... We have a lot of transmissions stockpiled now because we didn't know if they were going to resolve it this week or not. It doesn't look like they're going to," said Tim McKinnon, chairman of Unifor Local 199 that represents St. Catharines.
“We’re off until they get it settled. Every time they sneeze, we catch a cold. If they pick up more volume, we pick up more volume.”
GM announced late last week that it is making production adjustments at St. Catharines, Spring Hill, and Flint Engine Operations. Both Spring Hill and Flint provide the engines for the Equinox. Also last week, Canadian supplier Magna International said it would suspend the supply of parts.
The top concerns for the two sides are very different. For GM, it is the worry of having enough supply of Equnoxes for the demand. Sales rose 85 percent year-over-year in August. While GM does also build the Equinox in San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, the two plants cannot match the output of CAMI (40,017 for the Mexican plants vs. 132,288 for CAMI). For Unifor, they want assurances that CAMI will remain the lead plant for the Equinox and want another product for the plant to build.
Unifor has reached out to GM on Wednesday on possibly restarting negotiations. At this time, no word on whether two have or will meet.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Canadian Press via CBC
The first strike for Canadian auto workers since 1996
Last night, workers at General Motors' CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario went on strike. GM and Unifor Local 88 - the group that represents about 2,750 workers at the plant - were unable to reach a tentative contract before a deadline of 10:59 P.M. last night. This is the first time since 1996 that Canadian autoworkers went on strike against an automaker.
"While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the Company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement. We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement," GM said in a statement on Sunday.
You might be wondering why a strike is taking place in the first place as GM already worked out a deal with Unifor back in September. That's because Unifor members at CAMI are under a different contract than workers at other plants, meaning they were not involved in the negotiations.
CAMI is home to the Chevrolet Equinox and used to build the GMC Terrain, before being sent down to Mexico. The loss of the Terrain meant 400 workers were laid off, while another 200 workers took early retirement.
Unifor Local 88 President Dan Borthwick said the two sides are very much apart on “language issues, economic issues that are still outstanding, and, most importantly, job security.” Borthwick also said GM wouldn't budge on Unifor's demand by making a long-term commit through new products and investments.
"We put our best foot forward, and we don’t believe the company is serious about our membership’s demands,” he said to Automotive News.
Stalling production at CAMI raises some headaches. As The Truth About Cars note, various operations such as the engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines, Ontario and numerous suppliers will be hampered by this strike.
There are concerns if the strike goes long-term. The popularity of the Equinox and Terrain has been booming thanks to the large increase in crossovers. Data from Automotive News shows that Chevrolet dealers in U.S. had about a 53 day supply of Equinoxes at the start of the month, well below the 74-day supply last month. While GM also builds the Equinox in two plants in Mexico, CAMI is where the majority of the models are built. Through August, the San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe plants in Mexico built a combined total of 40,017 units. Meanwhile at CAMI, 132,288 Equinox models rolled off the line. Losing CAMI for a time could mean a tighter supply of Equinox models.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Truth About Cars
After three years, General Motors finally gets the go-ahead to use the Corvette emblem in Australia
After three years of fighting, General Motors has finally gotten the green light from IP Australia to use the Corvette emblem in the country.
Wheels Magazine reports that Australia's governing body on trademarks has rejected GM's application for the Corvette emblem four different times. The initial rejection by IP Australia was due to yellow-on-red bowtie used on the emblem looking similar to the Red Cross, "a symbol protected under international law and with deep ties to Australia’s wartime history," according to Wheels. The international law in question is the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957 which states the emblem can only be used during times of war or conflict as a “do not fire upon” marking.
But there are some strings attached to GM's victory.
“It is a condition of registration that, in use, the cross device contained within the trade mark will be rendered in colours other than red on a white or silver background, or white or silver on a red background,” said IP Australia.
This is some good news for GM as rumor has it that the next-generation model - the rumored mid-engine one - is destined for Australia.
General Motors has been seeing sales of their passenger cars take a sharp drop as buyers latch on to crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. The first half of 2017 has seen GM's passenger car sales drop 19 percent. In June, passenger cars went into freefall with a 36 percent drop. This has General Motors making some drastic decisions in terms of products and production sites.
"We are talking to (GM) right now about the products that they currently have" at underused car plants such as Hamtramck in Michigan and Lordstown in Ohio, and whether they might be replaced with newer, more popular vehicles such as crossovers, said Dennis Williams, president of the UAW.
According to sources, GM is considering dropping six models after 2020. The models include,
Cadillac CT6 (See Update Below)
Four of the vehicles listed (LaCrosse, CT6, Impala, and Volt) are built GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit. According to suppliers, Hamtramack's production output for the first half of 2017 is less than 35,000 vehicles, down 32 percent when compared to the same time last year. Other GM plants are able to produce 200,000 - 300,000 vehicles in a year, putting Hamtramck in a dangerous spot.
GM must "create some innovative new products" to replace slow-selling sedans "or start closing plants," said Sam Fiorani, vice president of AutoForecast Solutions.
A possibility of a new product is replacing the Volt with some sort of utility vehicle boasting a plug-in hybrid powertrain according to sources.
UPDATE: “There is absolutely, if I could speak all capitals now, they’d be coming out of my mouth. There is absolutely no plan, at all, to cancel the CT6,” said Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen to Jalopnik when asked about this report from Reuters.
“That report came as a surprise to me, too.”
de Nysschen said the brand is planning to invest more into the CT6 in the coming years as it will play an important role in the coming years.
“The [CT6] forms a very important part of our product strategy going forward for the brand,” de Nysschen said. “The car also has a very major contribution to make to the shaping of brand perceptions, and the transformational process that Cadillac is undergoing as far as that is concerned.”
General Motors now finds itself in the diesel crosshairs
If you thought the pain and suffering against diesel would end anytime soon, think again.
Today in Federal Court in Detroit, a class-action lawsuit was filed against General Motors by 705,000 owners of the 2011 to 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HDs equipped with the Duramax V8 diesel claiming the engine has illegal software to skirt emission tests. The 190-page suit says GM equipped the Duramax V8 with various software programs to pass regulatory emission tests, while spewing two to five times the legal limit when driven under regular conditions. Bloomberg notes the suit has 83 references to Volkswagen and alleges environmental damage caused by these trucks could surpass Volkswagen.
“GM claimed its engineers had accomplished a remarkable reduction of diesel emissions,” said Steve Berman, a managing partner at Hagens Berman.
“These GM trucks likely dumped as much excess poisonous emissions into our air as did the cheating Volkswagen passenger cars.”
It should be noted that Berman has also represented drivers and dealerships against Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler Automobile for their diesel issues.
"These claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves. The Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations," General Motors said in a statement today.
For those keeping score, this is the sixth automaker either being sued or under investigation for claims of cheating emission tests. Aside from Volkswagen and FCA, Diamler is currently under investigation in Germany for possible fraud charges relating to possible manipulation of emissions. In France, both PSA Group and Renault face their own investigation.
Two more international markets go on the chopping block
General Motors will soon be exiting two more global marketplaces. This morning, the company announced that it would be cease selling vehicles in India and end its operations in South Africa by the end of this year.
“As the industry continues to change, we are transforming our business, establishing GM as a more focused and disciplined company. We are committed to deploying capital to higher return initiatives that will enable us to lead in our core business and in the future of personal mobility," GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
As we reported back in March, GM said it was "considering reducing investments in North American cars and "select" international markets" during a call with analysts. At the time, GM was keeping quiet what markets could see cuts.
“Recent actions by General Motors demonstrate clearly it is not the GM of old. Today's GM management is correctly focused on profits, not sales volume and market share. It has shown a willingness to cut its losses if there's no clear path to profitability and market dominance," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader to the Detroit Free Press.
In India, the decision to end sales doesn't come as a surprise. Despite being one of the first automakers to enter the market, sales of Chevrolet vehicles (only GM brand to be sold) never made a dent. Autocar India reports that sales from March-April 2017 dropped 6,717 units to 25,823. Market share also saw a sharp drop from 1.17 percent to 0.85 percent. Analysts tell Reuters the part of the reason GM wasn't able to make any inroads into India was failing "to launch low-cost yet feature-rich vehicles that Indian buyers prefer." Also the high servicing costs drew many people away.
“We determined that the increased investment required for an extensive and flexible product portfolio would not deliver a leadership position or long-term profitability in the domestic market,” said Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president and president for GM International.
General Motors isn't leaving India entirely. The company will still operate its tech center in Bangalore and transition of its two assembly plants to building vehicles for export. The other assembly plant will be sold to their joint venture partner in China, SAIC.
"We are not giving up benefits India offers as a local cost manufacturing hub with an excellent supplier base which is extremely competitive," said Jacoby.
In South Africa, General Motors will cease selling Chevrolet vehicles and transition their operations to Isuzu. This includes the purchase of GM's light commercial vehicle assembly plant in Port Elizabeth, along with control of GM's Parts Distribution Centre and Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre.
"After a thorough assessment of our South African operations, we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business. We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities," said Jacoby.
“These decisions were not made lightly. We appreciate the support that our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, the government and other key stakeholders have given us over the many years that we have operated in this country. We will manage the transition as smoothly as possible,” said GM South Africa president and managing director, Ian Nicholls.
General Motors says servicing and support will continue in both markets for owners.
Source: Reuters , Autocar India , Detroit Free Press , Car Magazine SA, Wheels24
Press Release is on Page 2
General Motors Restructures International Markets to Strengthen Global Business Performance
GM India to focus on export manufacturing
Isuzu Motors to purchase GM South Africa light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations
Chevrolet to be phased out of Indian and South African markets
SINGAPORE – General Motors (NYSE: GM) today announced key restructuring actions in its GM International operations to drive stronger financial performance and focus its capital and resources on business opportunities expected to deliver higher returns.
The company will focus its GM India manufacturing operations on producing vehicles for export only and will transition GM South Africa manufacturing to Isuzu Motors. GM’s Chevrolet brand will be phased out of both markets by the end of 2017.
“As the industry continues to change, we are transforming our business, establishing GM as a more focused and disciplined company,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We are committed to deploying capital to higher return initiatives that will enable us to lead in our core business and in the future of personal mobility.
“Globally, we are now in the right markets to drive profitability, strengthen our business performance and capitalize on growth opportunities for the long term. We will continue to optimize our operations market by market to further improve our competitiveness and cost base.”
These decisions were made following an extensive review of operations in GM International markets and reflect a series of actions taken to improve global business performance that began in late 2013.
"These actions will further allow us to focus our resources on winning in the markets where we have strong franchises and see greater opportunity," said GM President Dan Ammann. “We have compelling plans for growth in both the top line and the bottom line as we invest for the future."
GM Executive Vice President and President, GM International, Stefan Jacoby said the company is running its GM International markets with an enterprise approach and making decisions that are best for the global business.
“In India, our exports have tripled over the past year, and this will remain our focus going forward,” he said. “We determined that the increased investment required for an extensive and flexible product portfolio would not deliver a leadership position or long-term profitability in the domestic market.”
In South Africa, Isuzu will acquire GM’s light commercial vehicle manufacturing and GM will cease manufacturing and sales of Chevrolet in the domestic market, subject to local regulatory requirements.
“After a thorough assessment of our South African operations, we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business,” said Jacoby. “We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities.”
Under the improvement actions announced:
India: GM’s manufacturing facility at Talegaon will continue as an export hub for Mexico and Central and South American markets. GM will cease sales of Chevrolet vehicles in the domestic market by the end of 2017. Existing Chevrolet customers will continue to be supported in the market.
South Africa: Isuzu will purchase GM’s Struandale plant and GM’s remaining 30 percent shareholding in the Isuzu Truck South Africa joint venture, with sales through a national dealer network. Isuzu will also purchase GM’s Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre and assume control of the Parts Distribution Centre. The company will phase out the Chevrolet brand in South Africa by the end of 2017. GM continues to work with PSA Group to evaluate future opportunity for the Opel brand in South Africa. Importantly, existing Chevrolet and Opel customers will continue to be supported in the market.
East Africa: As announced on February 28, Isuzu has agreed to purchase GM’s 57.7 percent shareholding in GM East Africa, assuming management control. GM will withdraw sales of the Chevrolet brand from the market.
Singapore: GM International will streamline its regional headquarters office in Singapore, which will retain responsibility for strategic oversight of the remaining regional business and markets, including Australia and New Zealand, India, Korea and Southeast Asia. This will deliver greater organizational efficiencies while leveraging global resources and in-market expertise.
Across affected markets, GM is working with employees, their union representatives and local authorities to provide transition support.
As a result of these actions, GM expects to realize annual savings of approximately $100 million and plans to take a charge of approximately $500 million in the second quarter of 2017. The charge will be treated as special and excluded from the company’s EBIT-adjusted results. About $200 million of the special charge will be cash expenses.
With sales of new vehicles slowing down, automakers find themselves making tough decisions in terms of production and jobs. Later this week, General Motors will temporally shut down their Delta Twp, MI plant (home to Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse) for a month to retool to make way for the next-generation models. When production begins back up on June 12th, there could be more than 600 workers without a job due to the third shift being cut.
The Lansing State Journal reports that back in March, close to 1,100 workers were possibly going to be laid off. Workers were notified about this via a WARN notice (an advisory that is required to be sent out to workers under Michigan law).
"At this point, we anticipate approximately half the number of people reported in the WARN notice to be impacted by the shift reduction," said Erin Davis, GM's Lansing spokeswoman.
Davis didn't give an explanation as to why GM cut down on the number of layoffs.
Of the 600-plus workers being laid off, 500 could be brought back in the first-quarter of 2018 when production of the Enclave and Traverse is expected to be fully running explained Davis.
Source: Lansing State Journal via Detroit Free Press
General Motors seems being in a cutting mood as it drives to improve its profit margins and stock price. Last week saw the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group and it's only the beginning said GM CEO Mary Barra.
Automotive News reports that GM is considering reducing investments in North American cars and "select" international markets according to a chart that was shared during a conference call with analysts last week. The chart says these two earned a spot on the chopping block due to low profit potential and weak strength in franchises.
"There's a little bit more work that we're doing in the international markets. Our overall philosophy is that every country, every market segment has to earn its cost of capital," Barra said on the conference call.
Barra and GM President Dan Ammann declined to go into details about these plans.
GM has already made significant changes in terms of their international operations by ending or reducing operations Australia, Indonesia, Russia, and Thailand. The automaker has also scaled back plans in India. The comments made during the call suggest more cuts could take place here and possibly elsewhere.
As for 'reducing investments in North American cars', this likely means GM is taking a hard look at various segments in passenger car segment. With consumers trending towards utility vehicles and trucks, sales of passenger cars have been falling precipitously. As of March 1st, dealers had four month's worth of inventory of cars, compared to an 81-day supply for light trucks and less than 60-days for full-size SUVs. GM could walk away from certain segments such as compacts or full-size sedans, or delay investments in certain models.
These moves will allow GM to funnel money into models that make more money, and returning capital to shareholders.
"That's an immediate opportunity for us to reward shareholders without changing the risk profile of the company or our ability to manage through a downturn," GM CFO Chuck Stevens said.
Analysts are mixed on GM's plans.
"It takes a lot of discipline to shift away from a volume-is-king kind of mentality," she said. "In the end, that's going to make a better GM -- a longer-standing company that's not only more profitable but more relevant," said Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book to Automotive News.
John Murphy, an analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch isn't so sure about this plan.
"It appears that GM's recent decision-making has become much more short-term-focused and, in our opinion, could create challenges for the company in the coming years," Murphy wrote in a report.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
What does GM plan on doing in Europe after Opel and Vauxhall head off to PSA?
As General Motors begins to close the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group, there are questions as to what GM will do in the European market afterwards. According to Automotive News, GM is planning to become a niche brand with selling Cadillac models, along with the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette.
“That is the plan at this time, to continue with those models and brands in Europe. We continue to grow the Cadillac brand. We’ll continue to do that in a very disciplined fashion,” said GM CEO Mary Barra on a conference call this morning.
Cadillac has been trying to make end roads into Europe for a decade with middling success. Last year, Cadillac's 45 dealers in Europe (mostly in Germany and Switzerland) sold 781 vehicles, up 33 percent when compared to 2015. The brand has the goal of selling 5,000 vehicles yearly in Europe by the end of this decade. This includes sales of the Camaro and Corvette which are doing much better - more than 1,800 models sold last year.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
Despite the dark cloud that diesel has gotten due to the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal, General Motors sees a bright future for it.
“The outlook for diesel in the U.S.A. is actually promising. We definitely see certain segments reaching 10 percent penetration and yes, an upside potential of 10 percent overall,” said Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems to The Detroit News.
Case in point, nine percent of Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks sold are equipped with a diesel.
General Motors already has six vehicles available with a diesel (Silverado and Sierra HD: Colorado, Canyon, Express, and Savana). But they are planning to add three more diesel models in the coming year - Cruze, Equinox, and Terrain.
Why? A lot of it comes down to the upcoming CAFE mandate that an automaker's fleet average must meet 54.5 mpg by 2025. GM sees diesel as a way to help reach this goal. Also with the ongoing Volkswagen mess, GM sees an opportunity to possibly draw former Volkswagen TDI owners to one of their models.
Source: The Detroit News
"Living out of trailers..."
The RV industry is booming because people still want/need to go on vacation but they don't want to fly in rickety sky buses. So they're buying/renting RV.
Please provide proof the person is "living" in that camper.
And the other question is:
Wireless phone chargers are a thing you want to argue against? For Tesla actually making their own and cashing in? Because obviously its too late and time has past them by for them to actually make their own phone charger... Its not as if they never had the know-how to do one....its not as if they havent built a battery charging infrastructure all over the world for their cars...for you to actually question how good their wireless phone charging accessory is...
Like honestly David... This is not an "OUCH" moment. And this is not "to each their own" moment either...
This is just a flagrant hatred for nothing moment... And honestly...it seems like Electrek is getting paid advert dollars for them to peddle Amazon's shytty products... Made in China no less, shytty products...
They casually slip that in there, in hoping nobody notices the blatant shilling...
now that i think about it, I got to drive a Fiesta ST at a ford ride and drive a few years ago,... and a Focus ST also. Both were a hoot but the Fiesta for its size was really fun. May not be a bad used car find for someone wanting a small urban car they can go to the track with if they want.
the continental should have been cancelled before it hit the showroom floor. it missed the mark badly in so many ways. that said, like the CT6, it will be a fantastic used car be when the crap depreciates out of it. Find one with like 30, 40 thousand miles and like 40% of the sticker price. then its a darn nice car.