GM's Big Friday-Selling GMAC, Delphi In Court?
General Motors could be spending
much of today in front of the press, with both its ongoing sale of GMAC and
supplier Delphi's battle with the UAW possibly
coming to a head.
In the first action, the ongoing
negotiations for a majority stakeholder at General Motors Acceptance Corp. may
be coming to a close. The Wall Street
Journal said in its Thursday online edition that Cerberus Capital Management
is close to a deal to buy a 51-percent stake in the financial arm of the
automaker. Cerberus would pay $11 billion or more for the controlling share of
GMAC. GM has been trying to sell a stake in GMAC since last fall, in the hopes
that the money raised could fund a turnaround process at the automaker, hit hard
by Asian competition and high labor costs in its home market.
At Delphi, the news could be considerably darker. The union's
leadership expects that Delphi Corp. will ask its federal bankruptcy judge to
void its labor contracts, a move that the UAW has said could trigger a strike at
the supplier-a strike that could push General Motors closer to bankruptcy if a
GMAC deal does not come through.
Read the latest breaking news on GMAC and Delphi.
New York Show Gets G6
Pontiac's G6 mid-sizer-known in some
Detroit circles as the car that Oprah built-gets
a high-performance edition at the coming New
York auto show. The April expo will
showcase the new G6 GXP, a spin-off of the two-door coupe that gets a 270-hp,
3.9-liter V-6 engine along with body mods. Technically a concept, the G6 GXP
will share New York show space with the new
Mitsubishi Outlander, the revamped Audi TT, and a host of other new vehicles,
most of which you can see in our New
York show preview:
Dropping Some Vibes
Vibes are leaving Pontiac, although one will stick with the GM
brand through at least the 2007 model year. Reuters reports that Pontiac is dropping the GT
and all-wheel-drive versions of the nifty Vibe hatchback from its lineup
following the current model year. Slow sales and expensive refits to bring the
engine up to new emissions standards have been cited as the reasons for the
move. The news service adds that Pontiac may bring back the performance and AWD
versions in a next-generation car. The Vibe is built in GM's joint-venture NUMMI
plant in Fremont, Calif., which it shares with Toyota.
StabiliTrak Systems Work to Prevent
Electronic stability control
systems such as GM's StabiliTrak, have helped prevent rollovers in about 41
percent of cars and SUVs involved in single-vehicle accidents, says Bob Lange,
GM executive director for vehicle structure and safety integration.
Speaking before the Detroit Automotive Press Association on March 29, Lange said
accident data show that two-thirds of accidents involving SUVs along could have
resulted in rollovers without presence of electronic stability systems.
The rollover prevention total for cars alone was 35
"StabiliTrak-type systems are
highly effective in keeping vehicles from tipping over by applying extra braking
force to one or more wheels," Lange said. According Lange, GM is building
a dedicated rollover testing structure at the GM Proving Ground in Milford, Mich., where it is also stepping up research
on "interactive" safety systems. One outgrowth of GM's research has been
introduction this model year of the industry's first dual-depth airbags,
deploying in accord with the severity of the crash, on the Buick Lucerne and
Cadillac DTS sedans. GM is working toward a goal of 85 percent airbag
deployment on vehicles that have rolled over, Lange said. "Ideally,
passengers would be safer if the airbag deployed before an actual rollover
Daytime running lights (DRL),
standard on new GM vehicles in the U.S. since 1994 and mandatory on all new
vehicles in Canada, have saved 433 lives and helped prevent an estimated 85,000
two-vehicle crashes, according to Lange. Use of seatbelts has risen to 82
percent in the U.S. and "seatbelt protection remains
the most effective way of preventing serious injuries or fatalities," Lange
Passes Hometown Milestone
the one millionth Subaru Forester rolled out of the Gunma Yajima plant in
Japan. This important milestone for
Fuji Heavy Industries was reached in nine years and three months. In 1997, when
the Forester AWD was introduced, the model was one of the first crossover
vehicles, combining the capabilities of a SUV and the practicality of a station
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