NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Gamma underpins next Cobalt, Pontiac gets an Alpha

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Code Name Alpha
UAW reveals GM plans to build small rwd cars
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By JAMIE LAREAU | Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek


DETROIT — In an unauthorized revelation on Friday, UAW officials disclosed General Motors’ plans to produce a small rear-wheel-drive vehicle architecture code-named Alpha.

The revelation came as the UAW publicized GM’s pledge to invest in future vehicles for 16 assembly plants — a pledge the union won this week during its contract negotiations with GM.

GM will build two body styles of the new Alpha vehicle, which will begin production in 2011. GM’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio, will assemble it.

GM has not unveiled a concept version of the vehicle, said a source familiar with the program.

It’s an all-new architecture that does not exist in the portfolio now,” the source said. “It is in the compact area but bigger than the Gamma. It’s more like a small entry-level vehicle that would be more luxury-inclined, like a BMW used to be.”

The source would not say which of GM’s eight brands would get the vehicle. GM executives have previously said that Pontiac would be the brand of choice for “affordable” rear-wheel-drive cars.

News of the Alpha — along with other extensive details about GM’s product plans — were included in the UAW’s contract highlights. The union will distribute the highlights to its members this week in advance of the contract ratification vote.

If the UAW’s contract booklet is to be believed, GM also has big plans for its Gamma world car. The next-generation Chevrolet Cobalt car will switch from the Delta platform to the cheaper Gamma platform in 2010.

Lordstown, which produces the Cobalt and its sibling, the Pontiac G5, will produce the next Cobalt, too.

“Just like everyone’s replacement cars are getting bigger, Gamma gets a bit bigger due to all the safety requirements,” the source said. “The Gamma product would be a Cobalt replacement. It might go to other brands, but the main one is Chevy.”

According to the UAW highlights, GM also confirmed that it will build the Chevrolet Volt plug-in-hybrid at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant in 2010. GM plans to build a small seven-seat van in Hamtramck for export to other markets, the source said. The van — which will not be sold in the United States — will be a next-generation variant of the Opel Zafira.
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hrmm...

it will be a glorous day when gamma and alpha hit the stores, a 40 year onslaugh against american compact cars is about to see a very victorious day

i can see rwd going to pontiac, and i would be very very suprised if pontiac got the platform to themselves... probably share it with the distant saab

obviously gamma, will provide the cobalt, and saturn will work with a higher class cobalt...

what platform is the astra on? delta same as cobalt?

so gamma is bigger safer and cheaper... :scratchchin: looks like a win win...

does this mean the aveo will see a bigger shap or a more filled out car style instead of a basically rounded off vw bug look?

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Detroit to build GM's car of future

Poletown plant, which gets Volt, is one of five in Mich. guaranteed work; release of lineup shocks automaker.

Sharon Terlep and Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

General Motors Corp. promised Detroit the job of building its car of the future, the Chevrolet Volt, as part of a labor pact with the United Auto Workers that includes unprecedented job commitments.

But the union had to concede to a second tier of lower wages for thousands of factory workers.

If GM succeeds in delivering the Volt -- an ambitious attempt at a plug-in hybrid that wowed the automotive world for the message it sent about the future of GM -- the car will be built at the automaker's Poletown assembly plant starting in 2010.

The proposed national contract, which must be ratified by rank-and-file UAW members following unanimous approval by plant-level union leaders on Friday, is a costly proposition for GM despite landmark concessions from the union.

The automaker will make an initial $24.1 billion payment into a union-run retiree health trust, and pay the union another $5.4 billion to cover retire health costs until the fund begins paying benefits in 2010, according to a summary of the deal obtained by The Detroit News.

The union, in turn, agreed to allow a second-tier wage and benefit structure for workers assigned to "noncore" jobs, such as driving finished vehicles, chemical management and paint mixing. Those workers will make as little as $14 an hour -- less than half the current average wage -- and receive a less generous benefits package.

"We feel confident now with the unanimous vote," UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said Friday of the deal, reached Wednesday after weeks of marathon bargaining and a two-day national strike. "We don't want all this money to go into the company's coffers, either. This should be a benefit to consumers as well."

Details in the summary include a rare peek at GM's product lineup, as well as specific product commitments to 16 assembly plants in 11 states. Six factories in Michigan are affected, good news for a state where the economy has been battered by plant closings, job cuts and bankruptcies among auto suppliers.

The unauthorized release of the product plans surprised the automaker, which keeps the information confidential for competitive reasons.

The lineup in the contract summary goes through 2013 and includes a luxury SUV for Cadillac, a pickup version of the Hummer H3 and a new Chevy four-door, as well as the Volt. Whether the Volt ever becomes reality, however, hinges on whether GM can develop a lithium ion battery capable of powering a mass-market car.

The full tentative agreement includes similar commitments for dozens of parts plants across the country, according to sources familiar with the contract.

The contract must still be ratified by a majority of the UAW's 73,000 GM members, a step Gettelfinger said he is not taking for granted.

The union plans to roll out a massive educational campaign starting this weekend. UAW locals representing plants across the country must have their votes tallied by Oct. 10; many will vote early next week.

Gettelfinger said workers' reaction to the GM deal will help union leaders decide how to proceed in negotiations with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.

According to the summary of the deal, hourly workers will get $13,056 in additional compensation in the form of bonuses and cost of living adjustments over the life of the four-year contract.

Only new hires would get the reduced pay and workers at the lower level would have the opportunity to move into better paying jobs as they become available.

An average of about $200 a year in cost-of-living adjustments will be diverted to help fund health care for active workers and retirees. The union also won a moratorium on outsourcing jobs and a shift of 3,000 temporary workers into permanent jobs at the higher wage rate.

GM will pay a about $30 billion in cash and other assets to offload $50 billion in retiree medical benefits in the form of a trust fund called a voluntary employees' beneficiary association, or VEBA. The amount includes a bond that's convertible to shares worth $4.4 billion and a safety net for the VEBA of up to $1.6 billion over the next 20 years, in payments of up to $165 million annually.

"This saves costs for GM and provides job security for the UAW," said Kenneth Dalto, an independent restructuring consultant in Farmington Hills. "It's a win-win, but a little bit more of a win on the GM side than the union's."

Going into negotiations, GM said it needed to drastically narrow a $25-an-hour labor cost gap with foreign rivals that operate in the United States. Sources close to the automaker said this week that the deal will reduce that gap by as much as 80 percent.

Wall Street scrambled to make sense of the tentative pact after the terms became public Friday.

While GM shares initially soared on news of the endorsement by local union presidents, they gave back most of those gains as more equity analysts concluded that the near-term benefits of the deal were not as great as they had initially hoped.

Though analysts say it will be impossible to draw concrete conclusions until they see the full contract language, it appears that GM will see little benefit to its earnings for the first two years from the VEBA. The automaker will, however, see a significant improvement to its cash position, because it will be able to pay for retiree health benefits from the VEBA funds until the VEBA actually takes affect.

That means the deal is good news for GM's bonds, but not as good as expected for GM's stock. It is also more bad news for Ford Motor Co., which needs to see immediate gains from the contract it is negotiating with the UAW. Ford may ask the UAW for better terms to ensure that it gets a contract that makes it at least as competitive as GM.

GM is required to file its VEBA plan with the Securities and Exchange Commission within four days of contract ratification.

A number of local leaders who voted on the deal Friday said they were jubilant to get product commitments from GM.

"We have many officers right now looking online to find out what exactly the gamma and alpha are," said Jim Graham, president of UAW Local 1112 in Lordstown, Ohio, referring to the language GM uses to describe its products.

source:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic.../709290383/1148

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY
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as good as this news is, still pisses me to no end the union would release this info

probably for the best, GM's likely to see its market capitalization double in the next year or two... i think public perception is about to do a double take on the general, as its emerging as a very healthy big 3

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i can see rwd going to pontiac, and i would be very very suprised if pontiac got the platform to themselves... probably share it with the distant saab

I'm thinking Cadillac, not Saab. Call it BTS and drop the BLS name: BLS sounds like an acronym for BulL$h! anyway...
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probably for the best, GM's likely to see its market capitalization double in the next year or two... i think public perception is about to do a double take on the general, as its emerging as a very healthy big 3

Still shows how deceitful and evil the UAW really is. They clearly don't understand business (other than their own) when they divulge this information to the public which includes GM competitors. I'm hoping I'll see the utter end of the UAW in my lifetime.

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Some of GM's competitors release this kind of information themselves, and in more detail. It's much more critical knowing the dimensions and pricing of your competitor's products than where they are going to build it, and when is pretty much assumed.

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Still shows how deceitful and evil the UAW really is. They clearly don't understand business (other than their own) when they divulge this information to the public which includes GM competitors. I'm hoping I'll see the utter end of the UAW in my lifetime.

They had to, in a way. as the membership looks into the new contract and sees that more and more of their bretheren are getting substandard wages as new hires & the Union is going to be sitting on $30+ Billion in funds (& they trust their union leadership about as much as GM Mgmt. does)---They wanted concrete commitments for jobs--the product plan only serves to 'Contractualize' the production of these models, I guess....I'm not sure anyone is worried about GM US product planning anyway---and all of this info has been available in bits and pieces over the last few months.

I'm excited by the plans...I think those voting will be too.

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They had to, in a way. as the membership looks into the new contract and sees that more and more of their bretheren are getting substandard wages as new hires & the Union is going to be sitting on $30+ Billion in funds (& they trust their union leadership about as much as GM Mgmt. does)---They wanted concrete commitments for jobs--the product plan only serves to 'Contractualize' the production of these models, I guess....I'm not sure anyone is worried about GM US product planning anyway---and all of this info has been available in bits and pieces over the last few months.

I'm excited by the plans...I think those voting will be too.

In some ways I wish Kirk K. had been able to take the company private. This would have eliminated the ability for the UAW to know the company's profitability which the UAW uses to decide what "their" piece of the pie should be. I take solace in the fact the UAW's member employees has steadily declined and, other than the 3000 temp-to-perms GM was forced to take on, I will expect the numbers to continue downward. Just a matter of being very patient.

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I just hope to god that the Volt will not be (in 20 years) what the diesel GM cars are now.

10% enginering, 40% marketing & 50% craptastic quality!

In other words = automotive joke.

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Pontiac, Cadillac & Buick!!!

I'm still pissed about the B-pillar Camaro news but this cheers me up slightly.

RWD is even more important (if only a tiny bit) than hardtop greenhouses.

I'm thinking Cadillac, not Saab. Call it BTS and drop the BLS name: BLS sounds like an acronym for BulL$h! anyway...

I've been saying that for 2 years now. :P

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hrmm...

it will be a glorous day when gamma and alpha hit the stores, a 40 year onslaugh against american compact cars is about to see a very victorious day

i can see rwd going to pontiac, and i would be very very suprised if pontiac got the platform to themselves... probably share it with the distant saab

obviously gamma, will provide the cobalt, and saturn will work with a higher class cobalt...

what platform is the astra on? delta same as cobalt?

so gamma is bigger safer and cheaper... :scratchchin: looks like a win win...

does this mean the aveo will see a bigger shap or a more filled out car style instead of a basically rounded off vw bug look?

Astra is on a different Delta platform than Cobalt (ATM). I'd agree with Joe Langley—the Cobalt will be on the new Delta platform, and the new Gamma sedan replaces the Aveo, or an NG Corsa sedan unique to Saturn (unlikely). Cobalt will not change it's name-it hasn't sold that poorly and GM seems intent on using the Cobalt name globally. Also we know Chevrolet is getting a new Delta-based sedan in this timeframe— the J300 being developed in Korea. If the Cobalt was continuing at Lordstown, even on a new platform—why mention Gamma at all?

More perplexing info here:

CAMI is getting two new crossovers to replace the Equinox and Torrent—we can safely assume these are the lwb Thetas for Chevy ad GMC.

The Saab and Cadillac TE's join the Vue in Ramos Arizpe around the same time—so what is the TE SUV going to Spring Hill a couple of years later? A new Vue returning home to TN? Seems too soon. A Buick to sit below the GMC? A larger, lwb Saturn to sit between the Vue and Outlook? A successor for the Captiva not previously built in the Americas?

The Delta MPV7 to be built in Detroit—not an "Opel" Zafira surely? A new Chevrolet to replace both the previous-gen Zafira built in Brazil and the 5-seat Daewoo Rezzo?

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Still shows how deceitful and evil the UAW really is. They clearly don't understand business (other than their own) when they divulge this information to the public which includes GM competitors. I'm hoping I'll see the utter end of the UAW in my lifetime.

well for a company that in most peoples minds, heard GM was considering chapter 11, so people heard bankrupcy... anytime i talk to someone who isnt a car guy, about gm... they are like... arent they going bankrupt?

so perhaps GM is showing the public longevity just as they promised the UAW...

also employees want to know if they need to look for another job... is their going to be another 30k employeees bought out? and this shows thats not the case

In some ways I wish Kirk K. had been able to take the company private. This would have eliminated the ability for the UAW to know the company's profitability which the UAW uses to decide what "their" piece of the pie should be. I take solace in the fact the UAW's member employees has steadily declined and, other than the 3000 temp-to-perms GM was forced to take on, I will expect the numbers to continue downward. Just a matter of being very patient.

GM can still take itself private...

they've got twice their market capatilization in cash... but its about to all go into that VEBA fund

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Who is the idiot at GM who didn't make the UAW sign a NDA regarding this information!?

It's probably a moot issue because NDA's are notoriously difficult to prosecute. How does one figure out who among the 73,000 UAW members gave it up? Even if you could identify the culprit, what exactly would the potential remedy be? Certainly not enough to make up for the damage done IMHO.

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Jus because it says unauthorized doesn't mean it wasn't planned. Believe it or not, any information that was meant to be kept secret would stay that way. Kind of makes ou feel all warm and sunggly inside doesn;t it. :lol:

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Pontiac, Cadillac & Buick!!!

yea, why can't this be the next "skylark" albeit the timing is a little off, from rumors it's coming here

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I'm thinking Cadillac, not Saab. Call it BTS and drop the BLS name: BLS sounds like an acronym for BulL$h! anyway...

Ditto. RWD Saab is just plain wrong.
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Jus because it says unauthorized doesn't mean it wasn't planned. Believe it or not, any information that was meant to be kept secret would stay that way. Kind of makes ou feel all warm and sunggly inside doesn;t it. :lol:

Not!

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Some of GM's competitors release this kind of information themselves, and in more detail. It's much more critical knowing the dimensions and pricing of your competitor's products than where they are going to build it, and when is pretty much assumed.

I agree...

I really don't see what the big deal is.

It's not like the production plan really gives any detail at all about the future product. OBVIOUSLY GM is working on replacements for most of their products and you can almost bet on where they'll be built (even before this was released) based on simple knowledge of the business. Heck, I'd be willing to bet that competitors could get more information than this by picking at suppliers for info.

I think GM should spin the "shocking" release of this production schedule as positive PR.

Something like "GM is investing in america, even in the age of globalization. With more plants than Toyota and more job security than any other company in the industry... Yadda.. yadda.

They could even use it to influence the political climate.

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Gamma: Chevy and possibly Saturn (I'm guessing the Astra is moving to the world car platform...since it is)

Alpha: Pontiac and Caddy, no other brand

All in all, good news to hear.

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Gamma: Chevy and possibly Saturn (I'm guessing the Astra is moving to the world car platform...since it is)

Astra/Saab gets Delta 2 , the Cobalt goes on Gamma .

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Astra/Saab gets Delta 2 , the Cobalt goes on Gamma .

That suggestion is disputed—we already have firm details of a Chevrolet compact being developed on Delta 2 by GM Daewoo—the first delta2 in fact. Since it will almost certainly be built in Mexico, why develop and build another compact sedan on Gamma just for North America?
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