GM Slashes Pickup and SUV Production
On August ninth, GM Car Czar Maximum Bob Lutz announced that his employer had increased incentives in response to its competitors' spending– not to shore-up sliding market share. On Elvis' Death Day (August 16), Bob pronounced himself "reasonably pleased" with the month's progress– despite our spies' reports that GM's sales were continuing their disastrous slide. Yesterday, GM ended the charade (at least for anyone other than Bob Lutz) by announcing production cutbacks on their cash cows: pickup trucks and SUVs. Reuters reports that the automaker has eliminated previously scheduled overtime through the rest of the year at truck-making plants in Arlington, Texas; Janesville, Wisconsin; Silao, Mexico; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; and Oshawa, Ontario. Spokesman Tom Wickham explained that "reducing overtime production enables us to reduce pressure for excessive incentive spending." True, but it also reduces the amount of cash GM's North American operations will generate. If August pans out the way we've heard, look for more production cuts AND increased incentives.
Pch: Aura sales are not a good indicator of how Malibu will do; there are way fewer Saturn dealers than Chevrolet (GM probably wishes it were the other way around...) Chevy will have way more marketing $$ behind the launch and whereas most people (correctly) think an Aura is what surrounds the face of God, Malibu is one of the most well known names in the industry, and the car is true to the heritage of it's name(midsize, good value, performance and comfort). I think the sales performance of the Malibu will be a much bigger signal of whether GM is "back in the game" than Aura ever will be, a shame since Aura is a fine automobile.