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Chevrolet Volt
GM isn't going to let a little thing like a lack of money prevent the Volt from coming to market in 2010

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.



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By AMDJunkie on 12/18/2008 11:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
Well this is where our philosophies clash: since you seem to be a laissez-faire libertarian (not all libertarians believe in that, surprisingly), you believe that companies should survive completely on their own merits. That's fine, I've once held that view myself. However, I do not agree with it for the following reasons:

A. Anyone who followed automotive press knows that GM had exciting product coming down the pipeline, and although they had been losing money for years, finally seemed poised to make a turn-around. The Titanic doesn't turn on a dime; neither did GM. Unfortunately, the iceburg seems to have struck; all indications were at the rate they were losing money pre-crisis, they still could have survived long enough to see if their efforts were enough.

B. Barring sentimentality for any GM product (which I honestly do not have a lot of), I do not agree with "bailout" terms as these are loans; they have to be paid off as Chrysler once did before in the 80's. If the credit crisis weren't what it was today, perhaps bankruptcy wouldn't be such a crazy idea. Why? Because there'd be a chance that GM could get the funding it needed through a chapter 11, and not be forced to go chapter 7, as it looks like it would today. Which is why these loans are being asked for; liquidation would kill the entire automotive market in most expert's opinion.

C. It would probably be smart for America to preserve the remnants of its manufacturing capacity. As scandal and recession reveal, we can't all be hedge fund managers and expect a healthy economy.

D. Toyota et al. also had huge tax incentives to build factories in Southern states. Perhaps the American people should ask for that money back now because we shall only allow the least intervention in the ways of business? Of course not, we gave that money to them for economic benefit. There is dubious economic benefit to the big three failing. ( http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/12/14/200... )

E. Even the big three's competitors think that a bailout for them is good for business: http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/15/news/companies/ove... and http://www.autoweek.com/article/20081215/FREE/8121...

If this is what deregulaltion and minimal involvement in the market brought us, I'll take a healthy dose of smart rules and controls to keep this scenario from happening again. I'm not an optimist; there will probably be a push for too much regulation because regulation looks popular, regulators need to protect their jobs, etc. But at the same time, I'd rather not have this trip again. They say the Great Depression was preventable, after all...


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