AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
General Motors today announced its first full-year numbers after emerging from bankruptcy, posting a $4.7 billion profit after a massive bailout by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
Profits for the fourth quarter were a slim percentage of that, however, at just $510 million, due to significant reinvesting in production, marketing and research and development.
“Last year was one of foundation building,” said Dan Akerson, chairman and chief executive officer in a statement. “Particularly pleasing was that we demonstrated GM’s ability to achieve sustainable profitability near the bottom of the U.S. industry cycle, with four consecutive profitable quarters.”
For hourly workers who took concessions in order to keep GM afloat, the news means a big bonus in the form of profit sharing that will see GM pay, on average, $4,300 to 45,000 eligible employees.
Calling the Pontiac G8 “Too good to waste,” GM’s new product boss, Bob Lutz, has just announced that the car will live on, rebadged as a Chevrolet Caprice. The news comes as a surprise, considering GM’s CEO Fritz Henderson has been unwavering in his insistence that the car would be eliminated from the New GM.
Apparently part of the reason for the move is due to the fact that GM has an internal agreement with Holden, the Australian arm of the company that makes and sells the car as the Commodore in its home market. Currently GM sells the Comodore in markets like the middle east badged as a Chevy.
Lutz did not say if the new body style would be available for the U.S. market by 2010, of if consumers would have to wait until 2011.
So while GM looks to pave a new future full of green cars, it appears as though old-man-Lutz still wants General Motors to build cars for performance enthusiasts. He even said that a high-performance “V” version of the upcoming Cadillac CTS Coupe is still a possibility.
In addition, Lutz even commented that a “V” version of the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon was not completely out of the question. “I’m sure we’ll build at least one,” he said.
[Source: Automobile Magazine]
Automaker seeks return to former glory with restructured operations and reduced debtload
Today the sun rose on a New General Motors, a move which will also see the sun set on a lot of people’s careers. GM emerged from bankruptcy protection at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time with news of a serious corporate restructuring plan that will take effect over the next few months.
Due to leadership (and in some cases arm-twisting) by the Obama Administration, the new GM, headed by CEO Fritz Henderson, is poised to return to its once-great status after shedding its debt and healthcare obligations by a massive $48 billion. Much of this comes as the UAW made serious concessions in accepting a new contract with the automaker. GM also hopes to significantly reduce its cash-burn after eliminating a third of it’s dealership network. Additionally, the automaker looks to profit from the sale of the Saturn, Saab and Hummer brands, as well as through selling-off much of its stake in its European operations, including Opel to Canadian autoparts manufacturer Magna International.
“Today marks a new beginning for General Motors, one that will allow every employee, including me, to get back to the business of designing, building and selling great cars and trucks and serving the needs of our customers,” CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement.
Henderson’s plan will see 6,000 (or 20 percent of) white-collar employees lose their jobs by October, with 35 percent of all executives being dismissed. Many executives will be cut from the company’s old Automotive Strategy Board and Automotive Product Board, a complex, multi-tiered system of management which will be axed in favor of a small committee that will meet weekly to make decisions about the future of the company.
Henderson says the move will cut those making the decisions at GM in half as the automaker focuses on its four key brands – Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.
Sales and Marketing will also no longer be under the leadership of one individual, as that part of the company is split. Sales will report directly to Henderson, who was unclear about what that meant for the current Sales & Marketing boss, Mark LaNeve. GM will also bring back veteran Bob Lutz to manage marketing, as well as design, brands and communications.
This will be a particularly vital role as GM looks to introduce a new line of vehicles into the marketplace to help re-brand the company. In total 10 new vehicles will launch in the U.S. in the next 18 months, with 17 overseas.
[Source: Automotive News]