C7 Corvette will debut January 13, 2013. Logo unveiled today. Hats and shirts certainly coming soon to a dealership near you.

October 18, 2012

Here’s the official seventh-gen Corvette Logo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors announced that the seventh-generation Corvette will be unveiled on January 13, 2013 in Detroit, from where according to Chrysler, cars are imported . GM also took the opportunity to release the new Corvette logo, which like the car, looks a heck of a lot like the one it replaced. Releasing the logo now ensures that the General will profit immediately from licensing rights as the logo is stiched and silk-screened on a bunch of Chinese-made swag destined for dealer parts and accessory counters and third-party catalog sales entities.

So what will we see in January? Something evolutionary, rather revolutionary. Did anyone really think that the mid-engined Corvette promised to us since 1971 would actually appear in 2013? Certainly nobody with a basic understanding of the automotive industry.

The public can also count on a lighter, more advanced car with higher test loop MPG ratings, as well as fit and finish and an interior that GM and all magazines will claim are of significant higher quality to meet the Corvette’s standing as a “world-class sports car”…but of course, those claims will evaporate a year later when all the same journalists who touted the better interior materials and fit in their first reviews on the 2013 Corvette come back and bash the cheap interior parts and flimsy seats in their head-to-head comparos against the Porsche 911 and BMW M3. Like Mitt Romney and John Kerry, journalists have a distinguished history of “being for it before they were against it” when it comes to Corvette build quality and interior materials.

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Carroll Shelby — Dead at 89

May 11, 2012

After over 50-plus years since doctors first started predicting his imminent death, it was announced today that auto builder, dealer, marketer, racer, team manager, deal-maker, chicken farmer, and icon Carroll Shelby took life’s checkered flag Thursday as he passed away at the age of 89. Shelby’s bad heart forced him to retire from racing in 1959, but thanks to his second career building sports and pony cars, though, over a half-century later, Shelby was still synonymous with speed.

Tough and more stubborn than a Texas bull in his negotiations and business ventures, Shelby was the quite the opposite with his adoring fans, who often were surprised by his willingness to pose for photos and sign autographs (frequently happily doing so on the dashboards and within engine bays of the cars bearing his name or influence.) The cars in which he was involved reads like a list of bucket-list drives, such as the AC Cobras (in original 260, then 289, 427 and Daytona Coupe forms), GT 350 and GT 500,Toyota 2000GT SCCA racer,  Sunbeam Tiger, Dodge Viper, and Shelby Series One.  His hi-po Shelbyized versions of front wheel drive Chrysler products like the Omni GLH/GLH-S, Lancer and Daytona are acknowledged by experts as helping to get the import tuner craze rolling.

There were racers turned car builders before Carroll Shelby, and there certainly will be many after him…but nobody will likely have the success and recognition of this American legend.  While his Cobra has been the most widely replicated car in automotive history, Carroll will forever remain one-of-a-kind.


Why The Chevrolet Volt Is A Game Changer

March 18, 2011

I have written plenty of articles on the subject of electric cars, hybrids and related technologies. Today’s press release from Chevrolet provides even more to support my long-held feelings that the Chevy Volt is the first big game changer — far beyond any Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Tesla, or others.

Unlike the 55ish-mpg of the Prius (similar to compacts in the 1950s) or the limited range (just like those made in the late 1800s) pure electric Leaf, Tesla or limited production tin cans made by small-volume electric car companies, the Volt is actually delivering anywhere from 60 to around 1500 mpg, while granting the flexibility required by the real-world driving masses.

The Volt isn’t the world’s best or prettiest car…but it certainly is proof of GM’s concept, which will allow the technology to expand to all of its front wheel drive/automatic transmission-equipped vehicles within five years.

And it’s more proof why the Volt is a game changer.

Chevy Volt Owners Write Their Own Fuel Economy Stories
Gas or no gas makes huge difference in determining miles per gallon equivalency
2011-03-18
WARREN, Mich. – Since he took delivery of his 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car with extended-range capability in December, Mike DiPisa is averaging 231 miles per gallon of gasoline. It’s because his 26-mile daily commute allows him to run almost gas free.

“I haven’t filled up my Volt since I took delivery,” the Lyndhhurst, N.J. resident said. Of the 1,485 miles DiPisa put on his Volt, 1,391 have used using grid electricity.

DiPisa’s fuel economy is on the high end of real-life experiences of early Volt owners, but it isn’t that unusual.

Matt Stehouwer of Lansing, Mich., says he’s getting 62 MPG after putting more than 1,500 miles on his Volt, including a drive from New York, where he took delivery of his car. He commutes about 32 miles daily from his home to his job as Technical Manager at Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science.

Mike McCarver, a retiree from Los Altos, Calif., has traveled nearly 800 miles since he bought his Volt on Jan. 28, and he’s averaging 93 mpg. McCarver uses his Volt to travel around town, to the local country club, and occasionally to his vacation home in Carmel about 80 miles away.

Three Volts. Three distinct fuel economy stories. Unlike most cars, where mileage differences vary slightly from driver to driver, the Volt defies conventional MPG measures because it runs approximately 35 miles on a single charge of electricity to its 16 kWh battery, and then can travel another 344 miles on an onboard gasoline-powered electric generator that seamlessly kicks in when the battery is drained.

By recharging their Volt regularly, owners are easily surpassing the 93 miles per gallon equivalence, or MPGe, on full electric operation and an overall 60 MPGe composite fuel economy during extended-range operation. The EPA ratings make the Volt the most energy efficient compact car on the market today.

“I really believe that over the long-term we have to have technology that is going to get us off fossil fuels and the Volt does that – I have the option of never buying gas again,” McCarver said.

Said Volt marketing director Cristi Landy: “The Volt is great for any lifestyle and can handle the driving demands of daily life. The majority of Volt customers are finding that by recharging their cars daily they are seeing exceptional real-world fuel economy. ”


Chevrolet Launches The Volt — On Time and As Scheduled!

October 10, 2010

It’s 10-10-10…and just as promised, Chevrolet today announced that it’s game-changing Volt is officially on the market. Just yesterday GM exhibited a production Volt in Tacoma, WA as it heads cross-country to illustrate its road trip flexibility.

GM’s future hinges on this car, because as Bob Lutz told me a couple years ago, the Volt’s plug-in technology will soon be offered in every front-wheel-drive car in the corporation’s portfolio. Although I have been ultra-critical of GM in the past, I have been an outspoken supporter of the Volt technology and GM’s plug-in business plan.

The press release keys on the primary advantages that will make the Volt a winner: insanely high real-world MPG (or cost per mile) without the need for a second car — which differentiates it from the Leaf and all of the other thousands of battery-only powered vehicles offered for sale since the late 1800s.

Here is the official press release. Let the Prius market share decline begin!

2011 Chevrolet Volt Reinvents Automotive Transportation In A Complete, No-Compromises Electric Package
2010-10-10
World’s first mass-produced, plug-in electric vehicle with a range-extending onboard engine
Revolutionary Voltec propulsion system delivers between 25 and 50 miles of electric driving (depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature) with a long-life, 16-kW lithium-ion battery and 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit; and up to 310 miles of extended range with an onboard 1.4L engine
Eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on lithium-ion battery pack
Vehicle dynamics, upscale materials, refinement and spirited performance of a premium sports sedan in an ultra-efficient package
Extensive use of high-strength steel and full suite of vehicle safety technologies provide occupant protection before, during and after a crash
Easy-to-use technologies such as configurable displays, Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar MyLink, and MyVolt.com web portal enhance owner experience
Five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service, including Automatic Crash Response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation
DETROIT – Chevrolet today introduced the all-new, 2011 Volt electric vehicle with extended range, establishing an entirely new segment in the global automotive market. The five-door, four-passenger Volt is designed to provide the benefits of an electric vehicle without the range limitations associated with other electric vehicles in the market.

“The Chevrolet Volt can be the only car you own,” said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. “The Volt delivers it all: a revolutionary propulsion system, progressive styling, industry-leading safety, premium amenities and user-friendly technologies, and spirited driving dynamics.”

Designed, engineered, built and delivered to customers in 29 months, the Volt will go on sale at Chevrolet dealers before the end of 2010. It is offered in one very well-equipped standard trim level, along with two option packages: a Premium Trim Package and a Rear Camera and Park Assist Package.

The Volt is in a class by itself

The Chevrolet Volt is not a hybrid. It is a one-of-a-kind, all-electrically driven vehicle designed and engineered to operate in all climates. Powered by GM’s revolutionary Voltec propulsion system, it consists of a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provide pure electric range between 25 and 50 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. A 1.4L gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to an additional 310 miles on a full tank of fuel by operating the vehicle’s electric drive system until the car can be plugged in and recharged or refueled. This distinguishes the Volt from electric-only vehicles, which cannot be operated when recharging is not immediately available – such as during a power interruption or on a long-distance trip.

“The Chevrolet Volt makes the electric driving experience as productive, efficient, intuitive, safe and fun as any premium vehicle its size in the market today,” said Doug Parks, Volt global vehicle line executive.

Every major element of the Volt was designed and analyzed for efficiency, including its highly aerodynamic exterior, lightweight wheels, specially designed tires, energy-saving premium stereo system, and more. This attention to detail makes the Volt one of the most aerodynamic and energy-efficient vehicles in the market.

The Volt redefines electric drive

The heart of the Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving to the Volt up to 350 total miles of range.

The Volt’s long-life battery consists of a 5.5-foot, 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack manufactured in Brownstown Township, Mich. It supplies energy to an advanced, 111-kW (149-hp) electric drive unit to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the Volt delivers between 25 and 50 miles of fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.

The Volt battery is designed to deliver value, safety, quality, performance, durability and reliability. It is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. Since 2007, GM engineers have completed more than one million miles and four million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 prismatic cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s 161 components, 95 percent of which GM designed and engineered.

“Our customers are making a commitment to technology that will help reduce our dependence on petroleum,” said Micky Bly, GM executive director, global electrical systems. “In turn, we commit to deliver the highest standards for value, safety, quality, performance and reliability to our customers.”

When the battery energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly transitions to extended-range mode. Power is inverted from a technically advanced, 1.4L 63-kW (84-hp) gasoline-powered onboard engine to the electric drive unit to provide up to 310 additional miles of range.

The Volt proves electric driving can be spirited. Not only does the Volt reach a top speed of 100 mph, the electric drive unit’s excellent low speed torque of 273 lb.-ft. (368 Nm) takes it from 0 to 60 mph in less than 9.0 seconds and the quarter mile in less than 17.0 seconds.

Charging the Volt’s battery is simple and intuitive, and can be done through 120V conventional household electrical outlets, or through a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle is completely rechargeable in about four hours using a 240V outlet and 10 to 12 hours in a 120V outlet. Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the Volt remotely via computer on MyVolt.com; or an exclusive smart phone application, Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar MyLink.

The Volt is designed and refined to impress

The Chevrolet Volt’s bold, sleek, performance-oriented stance conveys its electrically driven capabilities, and looks like an upscale, midsize sport sedan. This is made possible by its wide front and rear tracks (61.2 / 62.1 inches [1556 / 1578 mm]), 105.7-inch (2685 mm) wheelbase, wheels-out stance, sculpted belt line and premium execution.

“The Volt is a revolutionary car, and we wanted the design to make as sleek and dynamic a statement as possible,” said Bob Boniface, director of design. “When you look at this car, it’s very technical and refined in its execution, with lots of interrelating surfaces that bring clean, crisp edges and creases.”

Working closely with aerodynamicists in GM’s own wind tunnel to shape the Volt, design and engineering teams developed the most aerodynamic vehicle in Chevrolet’s history. By reducing the energy needed to overcome air resistance, Volt aerodynamicists contributed an estimated eight miles of electric range, and 50 miles of extended range.

The Volt’s rounded and flush front fascia, tapered corners and grille enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler control air flow. An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass also helps reduce turbulence and drag.

Inside and out, element-to-element gap and flush relationships are as good or better than any in the segment. Even the underhood compartment is not overlooked: All components are held to a high standard of appearance that harmonizes with the rest of the car, using similarly grained surfaces and colors.

The distinctive, gloss black rear liftgate appliqué carries the Chevrolet bowtie and one of two Volt insignias; the other is found on the forward quarter panel. Six exterior colors are offered on the Volt, including Viridian Joule Tricoat, the winning name chosen in a national contest held last year. The others are Silver Ice Metallic, Black and Cyber Gray Metallic, Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat and White Diamond Tricoat.

Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a premium five-door sedan – including storage compartments and 40/40 rear-folding seats. It also delivers them in a variety of interior color, lighting and trim options unlike any offered before on a Chevrolet sedan, but with Chevrolet’s signature dual cockpit design.

Two, seven-inch, high-resolution full-color screens are featured: One is a reconfigurable graphic cluster display and the other, in the center stack, features a touch screen display, touch-control switches and integrated shifter.

The graphics in the instrument panel and door inserts are repeated in the premium cloth or available leather-appointed seats. Bright silver appointments appear around the door switches, center cup holders, door pulls, centerstack switches and climate control outlets. Standard infotainment features include:

Navigation radio with 60-GB (30 GB for music storage) hard disc drive, AM/FM/DVD-Rom/MP3 playback capability, voice recognition, Radio Data System, Bluetooth and pause-and-play radio functions
XM Satellite Radio with XM NavTraffic/Weather, one of the industry’s most advanced, real-time information systems
Premium, energy-saving Bose audio system with six speakers and subwoofer
Five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service.
In addition to enhancing safety and solidity, the Volt’s stiff structure accommodates features that help to isolate engine and wind noise for a whisper-quiet cabin.

The Volt features excellent driving dynamics

Great driving dynamics begin with a solid body-frame-integral structure that enables optimal tuning and provides drivers with an enhanced sense of stability, solidity and confident road manners.

The Volt’s MacPherson strut-type suspension, sophisticated compound crank rear axle and quick-reacting, rack-mounted electric power steering system with ZF steering gear – a feature commonly found on premium sport sedans – have been tuned to deliver a smooth, refined ride with responsive handling and solid, on-center feel. A low center of gravity combines with the wider track and long wheelbase for balanced performance, and front and rear hydraulic ride bushings, another premium addition, help eliminate road harshness.

The electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system captures energy up to 0.2g for transfer back to the battery. The friction braking system features large rotors with a special finishing process that protects against corrosion and promotes longer life.

The Volt rides on lightweight aluminum wheels that weigh only 17.8 pounds (8.1 kg) each, compared to 24.2 pounds (11 kg) for typical 17-inch wheels. They’re wrapped in Goodyear Fuel Max all-season, low-rolling resistance tires optimized for electric vehicle range, noise, feel and performance.

The Volt features Chevrolet’s continuous safety

Like all Chevrolet vehicles, the Volt helps protect occupants before, during and – thanks to OnStar – after a crash. Crash-avoidance features include standard anti-lock brakes with traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and advanced, LED daytime running lamps that make the Volt more visible to other motorists and pedestrians.

Occupant protection continues with a strong structure, and the Chevrolet Volt’s body-frame-integral structure strategically blends advanced steels to help ensure crashworthiness and stiffness. Nearly 80 percent of the Volt’s overall structure consists either of high-strength, advanced high-strength or ultra high-strength steel. Active occupant protection features include eight standard air bags and safety belts with dual pretensioners to help reduce the risk of injury.

After a crash, the Chevrolet Volt offers the security of OnStar, which uses built-in vehicle sensors to automatically alert an OnStar advisor in certain types of collisions. The advisor is immediately connected to the vehicle and can request that emergency help be sent to its location.

Because the Volt operates so quietly in all-electric mode, a driver-activated feature sounds a noise to alert pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments, in an intersection. The alert was developed in conjunction with the American Federation of the Blind.

The Volt connects with owners 24/7

There is much more technology inside the Volt than its electric propulsion system. Intuitive features such as high-resolution displays, connectivity and the ability to monitor and control vehicle functions remotely redefine how owners interface with their vehicles.

Key technologies include:

Touch-control switch system on the center console
High-resolution, seven-inch, full-color LCD reconfigurable Driver Information Center display. The display shows electric-only range, fuel economy, , extended-range, trip information, tire pressure information and other key vehicle messages.
High-resolution, seven-inch, full-color, center stack-mounted touch screen display that serves as the interface for infotainment and cabin climate controls. An Efficiency (Leaf) switch accesses energy usage, power flow and charging screens – all easy to use and understand.
Charge modes are customizable according to need and electricity rates for efficient programming and lower costs.
A key fob that allows drivers to remotely start the vehicle and precondition the cabin based on outside temperatures
An exclusive mobile app, powered by OnStar MyLink, that enables owners to engage with the Volt functions using a smart phone.
Volt warranties bring value and peace of mind

Volt owners receive outstanding battery and vehicle limited warranty coverage. In addition to the eight-year/100,000-mile limited warranty on the Volt’s 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, Chevrolet will provide:

Three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage
Five-year/100,000-mile roadside assistance and courtesy transportation
Five-year/100,000-mile limited gas engine coverage
Six-year/100,000-mile corrosion protection coverage.


Volt Goes Cross-Country To Show Why It’s A True Paradigm Shift

September 30, 2010

GM announced today that a team of new Chevy Volts will go cross country to show the benefits of its plug-in hybrid. Actually, it is more of an exhibit why the Leaf and other battery-only vehicles are nothing more than toys requiring owners to have another car in the garage.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — the days of Prius rule for mileage-minded folks is over. More importantly, the era of gasoline (or diesel)-only travel is winding down. As Bob Lutz told me two years ago: “all of our front-wheel-drive cars will be standardized on Volt technology.”

The game changer is real — and going across America to prove it. Here’s the full release:

Power to the People – Chevrolet Unplugs Volt and Hits the Road
Cross-country drive brings the Chevrolet Volt directly to consumers
2010-09-29

DETROIT — A caravan of Chevrolet Volts will embark on a 3,400-mile, cross-country drive showcasing how easy it will be to live with the world’s first electric vehicle with extended-range capability.

The tour, dubbed “Volt Unplugged,” will give consumers an opportunity to test-drive the Volt, meet the people behind the development of the vehicles – Chevrolet engineers, designers and others – and participate in activities at each stop.

“The Volt Unplugged tour will give people a chance to get behind the wheel of the Volt and find out for themselves what makes this vehicle so special,” said Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet Volt product and marketing director. “This drive will demonstrate the one-of-a-kind capabilities of the Volt, the only electric vehicle able to drive such long distances under a variety of driving conditions and climates without having to stop to recharge.”

The tour is similar to July’s “Freedom Drive,” where the Volt completed a three-day 1,776-mile drive from Austin, Texas to New York City to demonstrate the Volt’s extended-range capability. Stops on the Volt Unplugged tour include:

Oct. 9 and 10 – Seattle
Oct. 13 and 14 – San Francisco
Oct. 16 – 18 – Los Angeles
Oct. 20 – San Diego
Oct. 22 and 23 – San Antonio
Oct. 24 and 25 – Houston
Oct. 28 and 29 – Miami
Oct. 30 – Orlando
Oct. 29 and 30 – Washington, D.C.
Nov. 1 – Raleigh, N.C.
Nov. 5 – 7 – New York City
Nov. 18 – 20 – Chicago
Along the drive, Chevrolet representatives will reach out to local community leaders, schools and consumers to educate each group about the one-of-a-kind characteristics of the Volt and discuss the progress of the nation’s electrical infrastructure. There will also be many opportunities to sit in and/or drive one of six Volts that will be on tour.

Marriott International and its Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and TownePlaces Suites hotels will serve as the hotel supplier of the Volt Unplugged Tour. Marriott has a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment, building greener hotels, minimizing energy and water use, reducing impacts along its supply chain and investing in conservation projects worldwide. For customers looking to travel in style with a lighter footprint, the Volt and Marriott offer a great solution.

Fans can follow the Volt’s journey and register for test-drive opportunities on the “Unplugged” tab located at ChevroletVoltAge.com, the Volt’s official social network or on the Chevrolet Volt Facebook page. Participants in the tour will share updates using the Volt’s many online platforms including the @ChevyVolt Twitter account, the Chevrolet Posterous page and the Chevrolet Volt Foursquare account. These platforms will feature photos, videos and text updates to keep consumers updated on the tour.

On a fully charged battery and tank of gas, the Volt has a driving range of hundreds of miles. Because the Volt can use gasoline to create its own electricity in extended-range mode, long trips are possible. The Volt is powered only from electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery for a typical range of 25 to 50 miles depending on terrain, driving technique, temperature and battery age. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas engine-generator seamlessly engages to extend the driving range

The Chevrolet Volt starts production at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck facility this fall and will be sold in California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan and Washington D.C. Quantities will be limited. The Volt will be sold nationwide about 12-18 months after start of production.

The Volt’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is $41,000 ($33,500 net of the full federal tax credit, which ranges from $0-$7,500) including a destination freight charge of $720. GM expects to offer qualified lessees a price as low as $350/month with $2,500 down at lease signing, including security deposit based on current conditions, which could vary at time of delivery. The benefit of the $7,500 tax credit is included in the reduced lease payment, with the tax credit going to the lessor. The lease term is 36 months with 12,000 miles per year.


GM Announces New CEO

August 12, 2010

GM announced a plan to replace Ed Whitacre as CEO and Chairman of the Board with Dan Akerson. This is not a surprising move.

Akerson fits all the current checkboxes for a proper leader of GM. Besides being white and having gray hair and a penis, which are the most common features of automotive leaders, Akerson meets the popular current criteria of being a non-auto industry guy with multiple CEO leadership positions in the past. With the success of Ford under a former Boeing gent, GM has gone even further away from the miserable groupthink-prone auto industry pool of leaders with telecomm veteran Akerson.

We just hope that under Akerson GM doesn’t mimic the telecommunications industry by offering innovative, but constantly changing priced and packaged products with horrible customer service. Come to think of it, the only industries offering worse customer service than automotive are telecommunications, airline travel and banking.

Here’s GM’s official announcement:

DETROIT – General Motors today said that Edward E. Whitacre, Jr. will step down as chief executive officer on September 1, 2010, and as chairman of the board by the end of the year, having successfully led the company’s return to profitability after the most turbulent period in its history.

Earlier today, GM reported its second consecutive quarter of profits after a string of losses dating back to 2007.

Dan Akerson, 61, who has served on the GM board of directors since July 2009, will become CEO on September 1 and chairman by the end of the year, ensuring a smooth transition and continued positive momentum for the company.

“My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position, and position this iconic company for success,” said Whitacre. “We are clearly on that path. A strong foundation is in place and I am comfortable with the timing of my decision.”

Whitacre, 68, joined GM as chairman of the board on July 10, 2009. On December 1, 2009, he was named chief executive officer. He led the company after it emerged from a historic bankruptcy to become a profitable automaker again.

“Ed Whitacre was exactly what this company needed, at exactly the right time,” said Pat Russo, lead director on the GM board. “He simplified the organization, reshaped the company’s vision, put the right people in place, and brought renewed energy and optimism to GM.”

“Dan Akerson has been actively engaged in and supportive of the key decisions and changes made at the new GM. He brings broad business experience, decisive leadership, and continuity to this role,” said Russo. “The board of directors deeply appreciates the leadership Ed has provided and is pleased with the serious commitment Dan is making to the company. We look forward to his leadership.”

In addition to serving on the GM board since July 2009, Akerson has had a distinguished career in finance as a managing director at the Carlyle Group and in telecommunication, serving as chairman and chief executive officer of XO Communications and at Nextel Communications. He was also chairman and CEO of General Instrument Corp.

“There are remarkable opportunities ahead for the new GM, and I am honored to lead the company through this next chapter,” said Akerson. “Ed Whitacre established a foundation upon which we will continue building a great automobile company.”


The Depressing Reality Of Camaro Production Numbers

July 13, 2010

GM delivered 46,378 new Camaros to dealers between January and June 2010. A darling of automotive press since the announcement of its return, the Camaro has actually turned out to be another case example, along with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, of how going retro is a really bad business decision.

The Camaro is a good performer on the road, but it isn’t from a business standpoint — although you’d never know by reading the mainstream and enthusiast automotive publications. Analyze the production and sales reports and compare to historical figures, though, and it becomes very clear.

The last generation Camaro’s final year was 2002. That year 42,098 units were produced during the entire run. While it might initially seem like the current Camaro is twice as successful, readers must keep in mind that the elder Camaro had to compete against its F-body fraternal twin, the Pontiac Firebird, of which 30,690 units were produced. The whole F-body car program had been slated for the buzzsaw years before, so production and sales in 2002 was done with minimal marketing support.

The current Camaro team has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing and pr, plus additional hundreds of millions in product development…not to mention placement in seemingly every major automotive magazine each month for over a year. Still, the current Camaro is only 9,984 units ahead at the six-month point (on pace for 19,968 additional annual units) than the last gasp of the F-body car line killed for its poor sales. Even worse, in 1997 with a sagging coupe market (remember this is the era when the RX-7 and Supra left the American market?) and a four-year-old body style, the Camaro alone logged 95,812 delivery units, not to mention an additional 30,754 Firebirds over at Pontiac.

It is also safe to expect that four years into the new Camaro’s life, production figures will mostly likely amplify the failures of its product plan. Analysis of sales and production results from all manufacturers conclude that a retro car’s product lifecycle is much shorter, because the look appeals to fewer people as the novelty value wears quickly.

Meanwhile Honda logged 133,601 deliveries through June (on pace to 267K-plus annual units) of the real modern interpretation of the original low-buck, high-fun pony car for early-twentysomethings, the Civic. Hopefully Honda’s executive team in 2050 doesn’t pull a GM — or Ford, for that matter, and build cars that look like the 2010 Civic, because that’s what looks good to the 65-year-old executives, rather than the product’s actual target market.