GM Shifts from Trucks and SUVs to Cars and Crossovers

Out with the biggest SUVs, in with smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
From EERE Network News
June 11, 2008
Add to My MSN

The 2009 Chevrolet Aveo is rated at 25 mpg in city driving, 34 mpg in highway driving.

Content Tools

Related Content

Low Gas Prices Caused by Economic Downswing

The low gas prices are something to celebrate in the short-run, but the cause is something that dese...

Bring Back the EV1 — Now!

Dan Chiras asks why GM hasn't brought the EV1 back yet.

Do Those Fuel Additives Work?

Our expert explains what really happens when fuel additives are put in a gas tank, and how this may ...

People Still Flocking to Public Transportation

Our friends over at Utne Reader spotted

General Motors (GM) announced on June 3 its plans to cease production at four GM truck assembly plants in North America, while adding additional shifts at two assembly plants for cars. According to Rick Wagoner, GM's chairman and chief executive officer, consumer preferences are shifting permanently away from trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in favor of smaller cars and crossover vehicles.

As a result, GM saw significant increases in the retail sales of its Chevrolet MalibuChevrolet Aveo and Pontiac Vibe in May, while its May sales of trucks to its dealerships are down by 36.7 percent from last year. Regarding cars and crossovers, "Our challenge in May was having enough vehicles available to sell," Wagoner said. But he also noted that "higher gasoline prices are changing consumer behavior, and rapidly ... significantly affecting the U.S. auto industry sales mix. We at GM don't think this is a spike or temporary shift; we believe that it is, by and large, permanent." See the GM sales figures for May and the speech Wagoner gave on June 3.

GM is also taking a number of longer-term, strategic actions to address high gasoline prices and the shift in consumer preferences, including the formal approval of the GM board of directors for the production of the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. GM intends to unveil a production version of the Volt "in the very near future," with a goal of delivering the vehicle to Chevrolet showrooms by the end of 2010.

The GM board also approved a next-generation Chevy compact car for U.S. and global markets, as well as the next generation version of the Chevy Aveo, both of which will launch in 2010. GM will also start producing its 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the United States for use in the new Chevy compact car.

GM is also "undertaking a strategic review" of the Hummer brand and could either revamp the product line or sell the brand. The company also announced on June 6 that it will offer a flex-fuel version of the 2009 Cadillac Escalade, allowing the vehicle to be fueled with E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

Of course, GM's sales trends are not unique to the company; all the large automakers are seeing similar trends. Ford, for instance, saw a 20 percent increase in retail sales of its cars in May (compared to last year) and a 4 increase increase in car sales to its dealerships. Meanwhile, its SUV sales to dealerships were down 44 percent and its truck and van sales to dealerships were down 29 percent (note that both Ford and GM did not release retail sales information on their trucks and SUVs).

Toyota also saw big sales gains for its YarisCorolla and Scion xB, although Toyota's car sales overall were down by 21.3 percent in May, compared to last year. Toyota's light truck sales are down by 15.9 percent, while Toyota's Lexus division suffered sales drops nearly across the board. Likewise, Honda experienced a 30.7 percent increase in car sales in May, compared to last year, while its truck sales were down 11.4 percent and sales in its Acura division were down by 9.9 percent.

Reprinted from the EERE Network News, a free newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Previous | 1 | 2 | Next

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.