Jun 4, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
It's a milestone day. GM's CEO has announced that the Board of Directors has OK'd mass production of the Chevy Volt beginning in late 2010 -- moving that date from a goal to a commitment. That also sets the stage, we hope, for earlier preliminary rollouts of the vehicle in California and other receptive markets, which we think will become more likely as the presidential candidates weigh in with more details of their plans to promote plug-in cars.
See http://gm-volt.com/ for coverage and commentary. That website picks up a story from The Auto Channel:
Chevy Volt Is (Really) A Go!
June 3, 2008
GM today announced a range of strategic initiatives to aggressively respond to growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and to economic and market challenges in North America. Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO, made the announcements here as part of the GM annual meeting of stockholders.
The Chevy Volt took a major step toward the showroom with formal approval by the GM board of funding for production of the extended-range electric vehicle. This approval, which includes funding for production development and tooling, indicates that GM leadership believes that the technology for the Volt, including its lithium-ion batteries, will be ready for volume production on schedule.
"The Chevy Volt is a go," said Wagoner. "We believe this is the biggest step yet in our industry's move away from our historic, virtually complete reliance on petroleum to power vehicles."
"We intend to show a production version of the Chevy Volt publicly in the very near future, and we remain focused on our target of getting the Volt into Chevrolet showrooms by the end of 2010," Wagoner said.
Preliminary plans are to produce the Volt at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, subject to successful discussions with state and local governments.
And the New York Times, with stories on the slump in SUVs and declining monthly sales for the 3 US carmakers, reports that
G.M. Shifts Focus to Small Cars in Sign of Sport Utility Demise
By BILL VLASIC
Published: June 4, 2008
DETROIT — Even General Motors, the steadfast champion of big sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, is thinking small now.
With no end in sight for elevated gas prices, G.M. announced drastic cuts in production of sport utility vehicles and pickups on Tuesday and stepped up plans for smaller cars and engines.
G.M.’s chairman and chief executive, Rick Wagoner, said G.M. will cease production at four North American assembly plants that make S.U.V.’s and pickups by 2010.
And in a humbling admission that the S.U.V. era is all but over, G.M., Detroit’s leading automaker, said it was considering selling the gas-guzzling Hummer brand it once regarded as a pillar of future growth.
G.M. hopes to counter the drop in S.U.V. and truck sales by increasing car production and accelerating the development of more fuel-efficient models.
The automaker will add third shifts in September at plants in Michigan and Ohio that make midsize sedans and compact models.
G.M.’s board also approved production of two new small cars and a new four-cylinder, 1.4-liter engine, and gave the green light for production of the Chevrolet Volt by 2010.
The Volt, which will be powered by batteries augmented by a small gasoline engine, is the centerpiece of G.M.’s push to develop alternative-fuel vehicles.
“The Chevy Volt is a go,” Mr. Wagoner said. “We believe this is the biggest step in our industry’s move away from our historic, virtually complete reliance on petroleum to power vehicles.”