In a Web-based interview with the media Tuesday, General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson said the company may take a closer look at what it spends on fuel cell development. When asked about fuel cells, Henderson said “while we need to be more efficient in this area, we are confident we can maintain the capabilities necessary to win in the market going forward.”
General Motors declared bankruptcy this month and is selling off subsidiaries. Any cuts could have a huge impact on Rochester because General Motors employs over three hundred people at a fuel cell research center. Henderson added that fuel cell vehicles are still “some considerable time away.”
General Motors, who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, has sold its Hummer brand to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Ltd., according to the New York Times. GM has been somewhat tight-lipped on the sale, saying Tuesday it had found a buyer for their Hummer brand but declined to say who the buyer was or how much they would pay for the company.
The Hummer has been in serious trouble since the near recession, sky-rocketing gas prices, as well as a growing public interest in more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. The Hummer’s buyer, Sichuan Tengzhong, based in Chengdu, China, has been expanding its products to include heavy vehicles.
GM says they hope the sale of the Hummer brand will save more than 3,000 U.S. jobs in manufacturing, engineering and at various Hummer dealerships.
Currently I’m writing this post in Florida at an Orlando Car Rental place. Thankfully they do not have hummers laying around to be rented, I’m just waiting until they sort out getting me my hybrid!
Michael Moore is lashing out against General Motors, who formally filed for bankruptcy today. Moore took to his website publishing an open letter to GM, which blames oil companies for preventing advancement with eco-friendly technologies and also advocates clean mass transportation, fuel-efficient vehicles.
Moore writes, “100 years ago this year, the founders of General Motors convinced the world to give up their horses and saddles and buggy whips to try a new form of transportation. Now it is time for us to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine. It seemed to serve us well for so long. We enjoyed the car hops at the A&W. We made out in the front — and the back — seat. We watched movies on large outdoor screens, went to the races at NASCAR tracks across the country, and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time through the window down Hwy. 1. And now it’s over. It’s a new day and a new century. The President — and the UAW — must seize this moment and create a big batch of lemonade from this very sour and sad lemon.
Yesterday, the last surviving person from the Titanic disaster passed away. She escaped certain death that night and went on to live another 97 years.
So can we survive our own Titanic in all the Flint Michigans of this country. 60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.”
It was a bad day for GM’s retired auto workers, who will lose their benefits in the wake of the auto giant filing for bankruptcy.
It was recently unveiled that a fund set up a few years ago to protect those benefits had been mismanaged and is now underfunded. The UAW – United Automobile Workers union – has learned that retirees will lose their dental and vision insurance beginning in July and that further cutbacks may occur in 2010 and 2011.
The General Motors Retirees Association, a national advocacy organization devoted to the preservation of pension, health care, and other benefits earned by GM retirees, is outraged.
“Imagine a city larger than Peoria, Illinois, or Abilene, Texas. Now imagine that every single person in that city might lose catastrophic health insurance, prescription drug benefits, life insurance, and her or his hard-earned pension,” said Karen DeOrnellas, Director of Communications for GMRA. “This is the situation today for GM salaried retirees.”
“We want a reorganized GM to succeed, but bankruptcy shouldn’t push tens of thousands of retirees and their families into poverty or endanger their health when those people did nothing wrong,” DeOrnellas added.
President Obama will file GM for bankruptcy on Monday as the U.S. government takes control of 60% of the failing automaker while the Canadian government takes 12%.
This weekend saw the final step toward bankruptcy made when the majority of GM bondholders decided to forgo disputing the filing in court and to accept trading their debt for GM stock.
The national icon of American capitalism will undergo serious restructuring as the federal government attempts to turn what’s left of it into a successful business once again.
The New York Times is reporting that President Obama intends to explain on Monday that he believes that GM can still turn a profit. Obama is expected to explain that GM can still flourish even if it continues to only sell 10 million cars per year in the U.S.
To make this happen Obama will explain that taxpayers will need to invest another $30 billion in GM to make this possible. Cut backs ill include the loss of 21,000 unionized positions and up to 20 factories. Of the roughly 6,000 GM dealerships, approximately 2,500 will be closed.
What will this mean for the future of GM’s Chevy Volt (pictured above) remains to be seen.
Andrew S. Ross, writing for the San Francisco Gate, recently wrote an article that made an compelling observation. Based on the 9% stake that Daimler purchased for $50 million, Tesla’s valuation is about $550 million. That’s about half of General Motor’s market valuation ($1.17 billion) with their share at $1.92. The most recent price for a GM share is now around $1.25, meaning that Tesla is now worth more than half of General Motors.
Andrew S. Ross wrote:
“From the what-a-world department: Daimler AG’s $50 million investment in Tesla Motors this week means the San Carlos electric car maker is worth roughly half the value of the world’s largest auto manufacturer, General Motors Corp. With one roadster on the market and one sedan in prototype, Tesla, thanks to Daimler’s 9 percent stake, is valued at $550 million. GM sold 8.35 million vehicles worldwide in 2008; its market value as of Thursday was $1.17 billion, based on the closing stock price of $1.92.”
Could this be another sign that the electric vehicle is about to take it’s rightful place at the head of the table, and that the time of the SUV is nearing it’s end? Let’s hope so.
Bob Lutz of General Motors shows off the new Chevy Volt on The Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday night. Lutz told Letterman that the Volt can travel 40 miles on a single charge of its batteries, but that its gasoline engine recharges the car’s battery after that, for a range of about 400 miles.
After Letterman quizzed Lutz on the availability of the Volt, early 2011, Letterman announced that he wanted the first one to roll off the line. Lutz retorted that GM had promised that car to seven or eight other people, but that he’d put Letterman on the list.
To this, Letterman said, “When those seven or eight other people put you on their show, then they can go ahead of me on the list.”
This morning, GM announced they were cutting 21,000 jobs and getting rid of Pontiac. Plans are in place to close more factories as the automaker fights to avoid bankruptcy.
GM has been surviving on on $15.4 billion in government loans and revealed that it envisions receiving an additional $11.6 billion. But if GM’s restructuring plan can’t satisfy the government by June 1, the struggling company could go into bankruptcy protection. The company also made an offer to bondholders to exchange of $27.2 billion of bonds for common stock.
The death of Pontiac, as well as GM’s decision to cease production on Saturn and Hummer brand vehicles after the 2009 model year, leaves GM with four core brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.
In this interview with Automotive News, new GM CEO Fritz Henderson, admitted the obvious – it that GM will not be able to make their first mass-produced electric car both affordable and profitable for a long time, saying that GM plans to lose money with “Gen-1 and 2″ of the Chevy Volt.
“We have been very clear with the task force, particularly in Gen-1 technology, like the Volt, the cost is high,” Henderson said. “And that means, it doesn’t necessarily pay the rent. It actually consumes rent when it’s launched.”
However, Henderson says GM has a plan.
“We actually think oil prices are going to go up,” he said. “That’s what our entire plan is based on. So we’re going to make the bets. And I don’t think that our product portfolio is going to be out of touch with where the consumer’s going to go or where we need to be in terms of regulation.”
In another blow to General Motors they are being forced to recall nearly 1.5 million vehicles. The GM recall affects vehicles built between 1997 and 2003.
The reason for the recall is a potential threat of fires in the 3.8-liter V6 engines. The engines apparently have a problem with oil dipping into the exhaust system and starting a fire.
The models being recalled by GM include: 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigues, 1998-2003 Chevrolet Luminas, 1997-2003 Buick Regals and Monte Carlos and Impalas.
General Motors Corp. is recalling almost 1.5 million cars made between 1997 and 2003 because of possible engine fires, according to media reports Tuesday. The recall includes 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigues, 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1997-2003 Buick Regals and 1998-2003 Chevrolet Luminas, Monte Carlos and Impalas, the reports said. The problem is related to the potential for oil drops to fall into the exhaust system and trigger a fire in the 3.8-liter V6 engine.