Meanwhile, In GM Product Development…
Though the suspense is gone from the bridge loan debate, GM ain’t out of the woods yet. There is much work to be done in the land of GM product development, a fact that is emphatically underlined by the news of the day. The pre-Detroit Auto Show previews of the Orlando show car and a possible Cadillac-bodied Volt perfectly highlight The General’s future product flailing. The Orlando’s vision (high-efficiency transport for seven) won’t be realized for downgrading American SUV owners since it won’t be built here. While the Cadivolt rumor is yet another poignant reminder of that vehicle’s ill-fated development program and inevitable death by price point. Speaking of which…
At its Fastlane blog, GM insists that construction delays at the Flint engine plant won’t hold up Volt development. “The development of the Volt remains on-schedule despite the ongoing talks in Washington, D.C.,” writes Global Product Development VP John Lauckner. “It is one of the highest, if not the highest, priority programs in the company and that hasn’t changed, nor has the commitment of resources to fund it. In fact, with the successful completion of each development activity, we have more confidence than ever the Volt will start production as planned in late 2010.”
Why? Well, for one thing, MLive reports that “Flint Mayor Don Williamson said this week that instead of building the plant, he had been told that GM may put the engine line in the Flint Engine South plant and save $150 million by doing so.” Also, GM claims that “our global manufacturing process is flexible enough to construct this plant within a year, and the planning activities that require less cash upfront are continuing in Flint.” Or, they could always import 1.4 engines from Austria, in which case we can expect a thoroughly Caddy-like price tag.
But GM also has some brand-new hybrid hotness coming to market before 2010. Check out MSN’s “First Drive” of the 2009 Silverado hybrid. Specifically this part: “Environmental Protection Agency-estimated fuel economy for the 2WD version is 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg highway; the 4WD is estimated at 20 mpg for both city and highway driving.”
But there are some trade-offs that come with the fuel savings. Towing capacity for the rear-drive Silverado Hybrid is 6,100 pounds; for the 4WD it’s 5,900 pounds. That’s down from 8,700 pounds and 8,500 pounds, respectively. Payload capacities are also lower by about 200 pounds, to around 1,450 pounds.” Price, please? “Considerably less than the difference between the Tahoe and Tahoe Hybrid” figures MSN, without offering any evidence.
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