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GM plans to launch Chevy van in several global markets


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GM plans to launch Chevy van in several global markets

Chrissie Thompson

Automotive News -- June 29, 2010 - 4:00 pm ET

DETROIT -- Chevrolet plans to launch a family van soon in several global regions, GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said today in showing analysts GM's future product plans.

General Motors Co. will base the van on its global compact-car architecture, said Stephens, who heads product development. He showed a picture of the van to analysts at a company presentation today, but his slides were not made available to members of the media.

Stephens also showed analysts a Chevrolet SUV concept designed by GM's South American region and a Chevy small-car concept, although he did not give details on markets for those vehicles. In addition, he previewed a three-row Buick business van designed for China. He did not give timing for possible launches for any of the vehicles he showed.

During the daylong conference calls, CEO Ed Whitacre and other top executives gave a review of GM's current business operations, including restructuring in Europe, growth in other markets and 85 percent capacity use in North America. The United States, which owns 61 percent of the automaker, may sell 20 percent of its stake in a planned initial public offering, making it a minority owner, said two people familiar with the plan.

“We are not re-introducing GM,” Whitacre told the audience at the automaker's technical center in suburban Detroit. “We are introducing a new GM.”

GM is now positioned to break even during troughs in demand, Whitacre said. The management team is executing well, he said.

Equity value

The automaker's equity is worth $70 billion, according to a May 20 report by Eric Selle, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. debt analyst who projects a return of 47 cents on the dollar for holders of bonds issued by GM's predecessor, General Motors Corp., that will be converted to stock and warrants in new GM. At today's bond prices, GM's equity is worth about $47 billion.

GM reported first-quarter net income of $865 million, helped by higher production and smaller discounts. CFO Chris Liddell on May 17 called the profit a “good, useful step” toward an IPO.

The company's operating profit was $1.2 billion in the first three months of the year, and the company generated $1 billion in free cash flow. Revenue rose 40 percent from the same period a year earlier to $31.5 billion.

GM's Opel and Vauxhall operations in Europe lost $506 million in the first quarter. GM is restructuring the business with plans to take out 20 percent of its production capacity and cut 8,300 jobs.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100629/OEM04/100629834/1261#ixzz0sHOyjKyC

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Report: GM to launch compact van in several markets... is it the Chevy Orlando?

by Dan Roth (RSS feed) on Jul 1st 2010 at 8:28AM

During a marathon presentation on Tuesday, General Motors Vice Chairman Tom Stephens showed off slides of a new family van based on the company's compact car platform. The van and other vehicles were shown as part of the session detailing a new Chevrolet SUV, a compact car concept and a three-row Buick van for the Chinese market. The images shown were not released to journalists.

While executives were intentionally vague about the new van, the production version of the Chevrolet Orlando immediately springs to mind, as it would seem to fit that description. Based on product-man Stephens' assertion that the van will launch soon in multiple markets around the world, the Cruze-based Orlando seems a logical assumption. The Cruze is already on sale in Europe and Asia, so production kinks have been smoothed, and a platform variant seems like the most likely step. Worldwide markets have plenty of MPV options, and the Orlando slots right in. GM's moves have defied logic in the past, but CEO Ed Whitacre characterized yesterday's presentation as an introduction of a new GM. We've heard talk like this before, of course, but maybe this time they mean it.



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