Liveblog GM: Buick Invicta, CTS Coupe and Wagon Confirmed

July 15, 2008
General Motors confirmed this morning a set of deep cost cuts, production cuts for its large full-size trucks and SUVs, and a raft of new car-based products as the company shifts focus in North America to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Yesterday, GM alerted the media that it would hold a press conference with employees and with the media to go through its new plans. The company confirms it's making major cuts to its full-size truck and SUV programs, along with cuts to dividends, raises, and workforce.

The run-through from this morning's employee call follows, with more from a media conference to come. Beyond that, there's more, but you'll have to stay tuned here for a special take on today's news after the main presser. Bookmark this page and keep up with the word from GM today, or check back at noon for the complete story.

EMPLOYEE CALL

  • 830a: Wagoner says the initiatives are in "operating actions" and "asset sales." Operating actions will include more reductions in truck capacity by 300,000 more units. This will be done by moving up cuts announced previously and new actions, Wagoner says.
  • "Significant cuts in promotional and events sponsorships - including racing."
  • 20 percent in employee expenses including dropping retirees from health plan at age 65, while increasing their pension payments.
  • 838a: Delaying next-gen pickups and full-size SUVs will save engineering costs but increasing spending on alternative-propulsion and small-displacement engines.
  • Suspending future dividend payments immediately.
  • 839a: can raise $2 to $4 billion from existing assets. HUMMER gets mentioned again.
  • Cuts in dividend, pay raises, health care expenses, truck production, and potential HUMMER sale should keep GM in good financial shape through 2009, Wagoner says.
  • "We face these challenges with confidence and strength," Wagoner says. Changes will make the company "smaller and more dynamic," and stresses GM is doing well outside the U.S.

NEW PRODUCTS

  • The all-new Chevrolet Cruze will combine "great looks" with significantly improved fuel economy. It enters production in U.S. in mid-2010.
  • A new Chevrolet Equinox enters production in May 2009. GM promises fuel economy will be among the best in its class. It will have a 2.3-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine. (A GMC Terrain version is also expected, sharing the same mechanicals.)
  • Next-generation Cadillac SRX is the Cadillac Provoq concept from last year. It enters production in the second quarter of 2009 and will go to market globally.
  • The Cadillac CTS Sportswagon has been approved for sale next spring.
  • The Cadillac CTS Coupe arrives in summer of 2009.
  • A production version of Buick Invicta concept arrives next spring in the U.S., and in China at roughly the same time. The name Invicta is not assured for the final car.
  • The Saab 9-4X crossover is coming in the fall of 2009.

PRESS CONFERENCE

  • Even under conservative industry sales volumes of 14 million vehicles a year, GM cuts should keep it running smoothly, Wagoner says.
  • "Tough actions" required to survive and be successful
  • Industry mix away from full-size trucks and SUVs is "permanent"
  • Lutz: "We have safeguarded all of our passenger car and crossover programs....in some cases, we have pulled ahead [those programs]."
  • New Chevrolet Equinox will have 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection
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