General Motors has been in a downward spiral all year with lagging sales and losses in the billions. GM and its cross town rival, Chrysler, asked Congress for monetary assistance to stave off bankruptcy by the end of the year. In the end, the Senate failed to hand over even $14 billion USD to the two struggling Detroit giants.
Now as the White House mulls what plan it will present to help GM and Chrysler stay in business during 2009, GM is stating that it will bring the Chevrolet Volt to market no matter what. This confidence in the Volt program comes despite that fact that GM announced yesterday that it would halt the production on a new engine assembly plant which will produce the 1.4-liter gasoline engine/generator for the vehicle.
Despite the setback with the engine assembly plant, billions of dollars in losses, and a production schedule that leaves little room for error, GM is still committed to bring the Volt -- and the Chevrolet Cruze -- to market by the end of 2010 as it has always stated.
If the engine assembly plant is unable to be completed in time to get the production Chevrolet Volt and Cruze out the door in 2010, GM will be forced to rely on one of its overseas facilities to produce the engine according to the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly enough, the Chevrolet Cruze is already available in overseas markets like South Korea albeit with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine -- two years ahead of the car’s North American launch.
"Everything that involves heavy cash outlays obviously is under review," said GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel on Wednesday. "Our intent is to still go forward with a new facility bringing that engine to Flint, Michigan."
"Although we are temporarily absolutely stopping all work on everything, the Volt will be out as originally scheduled," added one GM executive.
GM is banking on the Volt to bring it some of the same positive press that has been bestowed upon the Toyota Prius. However, the Prius and its rival, the Honda Insight, have base prices below the $24,000 mark. The Volt, however, will be priced near or will surpass the $40,000 mark before a $7,500 tax credit.
quote: "Our intent is to still go forward with a new facility bringing that engine to Flint, Michigan."
quote: I love unions (or, at least, the principle of unions). I would think most of the people here would, too.
quote: or would you prefer the government get involved? Because that's what unions boil down to. They are a way for the 'disadvantaged' in the employer-employee relationship to assert their strength without the government stepping in to protect them.
quote: Another problem with unions; they reward seniority, and not so much productivity.
quote: Out of curiosity, as someone who has been to both Alabama and various parts of the rust belt, what is this great cost of living difference people talk about? Both are recovering third world countries; Alabama was obliterated in the 1860s, Michigan by socialism. The only difference I can see is higher heating costs in the Winter.
quote: It's hard for unions and individuals both in a recession, but we spend far more time in expansion than contraction on average and during those times it's easy to walk away if an employer doesn't meet my demands. Unskilled labor rarely has that option -- they're unskilled, and this is an advanced economy.
quote: But you're right, it's also partly a libertarian bent I have, but still mostly the fact there is no way that I would benefit from a union.
quote: So you can take off your third world rose color glasses and look at the real world.
quote: A skilled worker often establish roots on the basis of their income.
quote: If your job has paid time off (holiday, sick, or personal), provides healthcare, or pays more than minimum wages, then you need to walk up and kiss the hand of the nearest union member.
quote: Take off your own, and look at Detroit high school graduation rates. Look at the price of homes in Michigan, some of which have sold for a dollar. Look at their unemployment -- and not just current unemployment, but the rate going back ten years. Check out their budget problems, which aren't exactly new. If anywhere in America comes close to resembling a dysfunctional, rapidly failing socialist state, it's Michigan.
quote: As for unskilled labor, they've traditionally stayed in one place and worked for, or tried to work for, the same company for 30+ years until retirement. And in this day and age, where health services, IT, and other skilled professions are growing and manufacturing continues its multi-decade trend of shedding workers in favor of automation, who do you think has more options for work? Someone who has made bolts for 20 years or an accountant? (Hint: Even in this economy, I've got an accountant friend who has the enviable 'problem' of choosing between multiple job offers)
quote: Thanks for the union propaganda. I guess doctors, bankers, lawyers and other early professionals before labor unions were ever first formed who still were well compensated should thank yet-to-be-created labor unions?
quote: Why not take out some of the fancy gadgets and advanced features and offer a low end model that more people can afford?
quote: It’s expensive because the tech is new and complicated.
quote: Why cater to a low-end demographic that won't buy it anyway?
quote: which I would rather have with the 1.6L NA engine than a turbo 1.4
quote: In essence, you get a 150 hp car, with nearly flat torque and power curves
quote: I doubt few Americans will even be able to buy any car in 2010
quote: They have to plan for it. Not planning for it is one of the big reasons they are in this mess.
quote: But as the economy (hopefully) eventually recovers
quote: It's not the UAW or the companies, it's the credit markets, stupid.
quote: when gas was still cheap
quote: Toyota simply had more money to ride it out because they forecasted their model line-up better.
quote: Credit markets were fine throughout most of 2007. Compare GM, Ford, and Toyota earnings statements from 2007. Any other excuses?