GM Prius Rumors Won't Die. Or Not?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Bloomberg is reporting that GM CEO Fritz Henderson will meet with Toyota President Akio Toyoda this August, and that a GM rebadge of the Prius could be on the agenda. “Two people familiar with the plan” confirm the Prius angle, and with the death of the Pontiac Vibe, GM certainly has to figure out what it will do with its NUMMI capacity which it shares with Toyota. “Having a stronger line-up is an urgent matter for GM,” says Yoshihiro Okumura of Chiba-gin Asset Management Co. “Demand will continue to shift to small cars.” But neither automaker will even confirm that plans for an executive meeting of the minds is on the table. Moreover, as Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics points out, “Toyota is not normally in the practice of giving away the crown jewels.” On the other hand, GM has recently canceled its only hybrid car, the Malibu Hybrid, and the sale of Saturn to Penske will further cut into its hybrid offerings.

UPDATE: Our Frank Williams points out a GM press release that just hit the wires which says “As part of its long-term viability plan, General Motors has decided that its ownership stake in the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint venture with Toyota will not be a part of the ‘New GM.’” The plot thickens.

Speaking of Saturn and Penske, early rumors have the new Saturn selling Renault products (built by its Korean partner Samsung). Trading Markets has a press release denying a tie-up between Renault and China’s Great Wall Auto, that (in theory) would have created a joint venture in Venezuela. If the deal goes through, it will be with Great Wall’s Venezuelan dealer, so it doesn’t sound like this would have created a product opportunity for the Penske World Auto Market. Still, doesn’t a Venezuelan-built Dacia Logan (Rebadged as a Penske-Chavez?) sound like fun?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Rod Panhard Rod Panhard on Jun 29, 2009

    This isn't that odd. How many years was a NUMMI-built Chevy Nova, which was really a Corolla, sold at Chevy stores? And that was when Corollas were a hot item. Toyota is looking at their situation and recognizes they can lower costs even further on their hybrid technology by selling more of them. And since GM's got a gun to their heads to sell more of products that they don't have, then it makes sense for everyone. I don't see anything strange about it at all. ... except that GM's got nothing more than the Cruze to sell, someday.

  • RedStapler RedStapler on Jun 29, 2009

    A Chevy Prius is within the realm of possibility. Toyota already licenses their hybrid tech to Nissan with the Altima hybrid. Anyone who remotely follows cars knows that a Nova, Prizm and Vibe are just reskinned 'yotas.

  • Wolfwagen What I never see when they talk about electric trucks is how much do these things weigh and how much does that detract from the cargo-carrying capacity?
  • Wolfwagen I dont know how good the Triton is but if they could get it over here around the $25K - $30K They would probably sell like hotcakes. Make a stripped down version for fleet sales would also help
  • 3SpeedAutomatic You mentioned that Mitsubishi cars had lost their character. Many brands are losing that that element as well. GM is giving up on the ICE Camaro and Dodge on the ICE Challenger. There goes the Bad Boy image. Might as well get your teeth pulled and dentures put in place. Would like to see a few EVOs with cherry bomb exhaust and true 4 cylinder BIG blower turbos; 4 wheel drift capacity is mandatory!!🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos Here in my overseas summer palace, I filled up my tank twice in May, at 68 and 52 euros (a full 90+ liter tank fillup has taken 130-135 Euros in the past, and I am 23 miles from downtown here, while only 1-2 miles in the US)Still, diesel here is MUCH cheaper than gas. Yesterday, I paid 1,488 a liter while gas was at least 1,899 (regular).Multiply by almost 4 for gallons AND by an additional 1.1 for $.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic IIRC, both China and the EU use a standardized charger connection. About time the US & Canada to follow.Would take some of the anxiety out of an EU purchase and accelerate adoption. 🚗🚗🚗