Thursday, August 21, 2008
General Motors does the right thing, 30 years later
Could it be that after decades of grudging inaction that has crippled the largest automaker in the United States, General Motors will finally begin to build fuel-efficient small cars? GM's announcement Thursday that it would invest an additional $500 million to build cars that are competitive with Japan's best-selling models could begin to restore the company to its former pedestal. The investment is one phase of a plan to plow more than $7 billion into the small car market to reverse GM's decades-long surrender of the small-car market to Japanese automakers, whose leading fuel-efficient designs have become the top sellers in the U.S. market, according to the Reuters international news service. The new Chevrolet Cruze will be built at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant, which had earlier been marked for closure under a GM plan to move all small-car production to Mexico, Reuters said. GM President Rick Wagoner said the Cruze, which replaces the Cobalt, would get nearly 40 miles per gallon. "We are here to stay, and today's announcement is the latest evidence of our commitment," Wagoner said at an event at the plant to mark the investment.