GM plans to invest $700M in Michigan for Volt

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by S2007S, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. S2007S


    Does anyone besides a few hundred people actually think this is going to be gms big turnaround story.

    $700M investment because the volt is going to be a huge success for general motors????????????????

    why would anyone pay over 40k for a gm volt, sounds like another unsuccessful project to me.

    GM plans to invest $700M in Michigan for Volt

    By JEFF KAROUB, AP Business Writer Jeff Karoub, Ap Business Writer–Mon Dec 7, 4:03 pm ET

    DETROIT – General Motors Co. said Monday it will spend $700 million at eight Michigan facilities to get its new rechargeable electric car road-ready — a technological and economic boost for its home state.

    GM officials detailed their investment plans for the Chevrolet Volt on the floor of its assembly plant that straddles the border between Detroit and tiny Hamtramck. The plant, which will begin mass producing the Volt in late 2010, is getting a $336 million upgrade that includes new machinery and other equipment.

    GM's combined Volt-related investment also includes $202 million for a new plant in Flint that will build engine generators; $43 million for a plant in the Detroit suburb of Brownstown Township that begins making battery packs early next year; $37 million for a Bay City powertrain plant; and $27 million for the GM Tech Center in suburban Warren, home to the Volt's battery laboratory.

    The state of Michigan last year approved $135.2 million in tax incentives for those sites and others.

    In a year that GM and Chrysler endured bankruptcy protection and announced the closure of nearly 30 plants in the U.S. and Canada, the news was as much a relief as celebration for the politicians and workers who attended the news conference. Many speakers welcomed the chance to talk about something other than the state's economic woes.

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm approached the stage from behind the wheel of a preproduction version of the Volt. She said mass production of the vehicle is "exactly in our sweet spot" as a state, which has suffered the nation's highest unemployment rate for months alongside the struggles of its largest industry.

    "The electrification of the vehicle is all part of Michigan's strategy to emerge from a very difficult period," she said.

    In August, Vice President Joe Biden came to Detroit to announce that Michigan would be the largest recipient of $2.4 billion in federal grants to develop next-generation electric vehicles and batteries. Michigan's take — more than $1 billion — was to be shared by 11 manufacturers and research facilities, including GM.

    "It doesn't all have to manufactured overseas," Granholm said. "We can make a competitive product right here in Michigan."

    Jon Lauckner, GM's vice president of global product planning, said the company expects it will be the first U.S. facility owned by a major automaker to produce an electric car.

    "With GM at the lead, electronic vehicle development is creating entirely new industries," he said.

    GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was expected to make the announcement, but didn't attend the event. Two GM spokesmen said Lutz had a scheduling conflict.

    Donald Meyer, a member of the Volt launch team as well as the union local that represents workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, said Monday's announcement was "probably the best thing I've ever seen happen" in his 32 years with GM. He said it's "phenomenal" after years of labor concessions, plant closings and "doing more with less."

    "As far as keeping the company operating, you just can't beat this," Meyer said after the news conference. "It's staying in Michigan and keeping us working and keeping our families fed."

    Meyer said his team will be bringing the Volt into the plant next week to "tear it apart" and train workers. Assembly of prototype vehicles is expected to begin in March and regular production in November.

    GM said in August it expects the Volt to get 230 mpg in the city, based on early tests using draft guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for calculating mileage of extended range electric vehicles.

    The car is expected to cost between $35,000 and $40,000. That price range could keep many away, but Lauckner said tax incentives for buyers are expected to make it more affordable as the company ramps up manufacturing and lowers its costs.
  2. This is an administrion project. A billion is a very small part of 700 billion.
  3. kaciara


    at least good news for environment ...
  4. I read somewhere that the Volt needs to be parked in garages and not in sunlight for extended hours since over time it could damage the Lithium batteries.

    This is one reason why Hybrids do not use Lithium batteries.
  5. There's still a waiting list for the Prius, despite Toyota running its plants 24 hrs/day. There is huge demand for these cars.

    Plus, GM has to spend very little of its own money on this, given that the govt is giving out billions in grants for electric car manufacture. If it fails, it's still great PR and the taxpayer will cover the expenses!
  6. m14


    I have a Toyota Tundra - and the other day - whilst at the Toyota dealer
    they told me that a headlight for a Prius - cost $250.oo to replace - and
    you have to take off the front bumper to get to it - don't ya love it !
  7. jd7419


    There is huge demand among a very small portion of the population. Out of the 11,000,000 cars sold a year the prius accounts for a tiny percent of the pie. Can GM compete and win against the best run car company on the planet? Only time will tell but make no mistake if oil tanks and puts gas back at $1.30 a gallon that pie will shrink to almost nothing. And remember almost no one thinks gas is going back to these levels which probably means it will be there this time next year. A double dip recession will make it all the more likely.
  8. ipatent


    Obama is going to sell J6P's carbon credits to China for debt forbearance and to maintain balance of payments and the American middle class is going to have to drive pieces of shit like this. Just watch.
  9. S2007S


    In 2009 I predicted this was going to be an unsuccessful project and what do you know, it looks like its headed in that direction!!!!!!!
  10. S2007S


    Fast forward and it looks like I was right.....this was never a turnaround story for GM, according to an article put out today it shows that the volt has been nothing more than low sales and high costs!!!!

    GM's Volt: The Ugly Math of Low Sales, High Costs
    Reuters | September 10, 2012 | 11:08 AM EDT

    General Motors Co sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August - but that probably isn't a good thing for the automaker's bottom line.

    Nearly two years after the introduction of the path-breaking plug-in hybrid, GM [ GM 23.205 -0.165 (-0.71%) ] is still losing as much as $49,000 on each Volt it builds, according to estimates provided to Reuters by industry analysts and manufacturing experts.

    Cheap Volt lease offers meant to drive more customers to Chevy showrooms this summer may have pushed that loss even higher. There are some Americans paying just $5,050 to drive around for two years in a vehicle that cost as much as $89,000 to produce.

    And while the loss per vehicle will shrink as more are built and sold, GM is still years away from making money on the Volt, which will soon face new competitors from Ford, Honda and others.

    GM's basic problem is that "the Volt is over-engineered and over-priced," said Dennis Virag, president of the Michigan-based Automotive Consulting Group.

    And in a sign that there may be a wider market problem, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi have been struggling to sell their electric and hybrid vehicles, though Toyota's Prius models have been in increasing demand.

    GM's quandary is how to increase sales volume so that it can spread its estimated $1.2-billion investment in the Volt over more vehicles while reducing manufacturing and component costs - which will be difficult to bring down until sales increase.

    But the Volt's steep $39,995 base price and its complex technology - the car uses expensive lithium-polymer batteries, sophisticated electronics and an electric motor combined with a gasoline engine - have kept many prospective buyers away from Chevy showrooms.

    Some are put off by the technical challenges of ownership, mainly related to charging the battery. Plug-in hybrids such as the Volt still take hours to fully charge the batteries - a process that can be speeded up a bit with the installation of a $2,000 commercial-grade charger in the garage.


    The lack of interest in the car has prevented GM from coming close to its early, optimistic sales projections. Discounted leases as low as $199 a month helped propel Volt sales in August to 2,831, pushing year-to-date sales to 13,500, well below the 40,000 cars that GM originally had hoped to sell in 2012.

    Out in the trenches, even the cheap leases haven't always been effective.

    A Chevrolet dealership that is part of an auto dealer group in Toms River, New Jersey, has sold only one Volt in the last year, said its president Adam Kraushaar. The dealership sells 90 to 100 Chevrolets a month.

    The weak sales are forcing GM to idle the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant that makes the Chevrolet Volt for four weeks from September 17, according to plant suppliers and union sources. It is the second time GM has had to call a Volt production halt this year.

    GM acknowledges the Volt continues to lose money, and suggests it might not reach break even until the next-generation model is launched in about three years.

    "It's true, we're not making money yet" on the Volt, said Doug Parks, GM's vice president of global product programs and the former Volt development chief, in an interview. The car "eventually will make money. As the volume comes up and we get into the Gen 2 car, we're going to turn (the losses) around," Parks said.

    "I don't see how General Motors will ever get its money back on that vehicle," countered Sandy Munro, president of Michigan-based Munro & Associates, which performs detailed tear-down analyses of vehicles and components for global manufacturers and the U.S. government.

    It currently costs GM "at least" $75,000 to build the Volt, including development costs, Munro said. That's nearly twice the base price of the Volt before a $7,500 federal tax credit provided as part of President Barack Obama's green energy policy.

    Other estimates range from $76,000 to $88,000, according to four industry consultants contacted by Reuters. The consultants' companies all have performed work for GM and are familiar with the Volt's development and production. They requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of their auto industry ties.

    Parks declined to comment on specific costs related to the Volt.

    The independent cost estimates obtained by Reuters factor in GM's initial investment in development of the Volt and its key components, as well as new tooling for battery, stamping, assembly and supplier plants - a price tag that totals "a little over" $1 billion, Parks said. Independent estimates put it at $1.2 billion, a figure that does not include sales, marketing and related corporate costs.

    Spread out over the 21,500 Volts that GM has sold since the car's introduction in December 2010, the development and tooling costs average just under $56,000 per car. That figure will, of course, come down as more Volts are sold.

    The actual cost to build the Volt is estimated to be an additional $20,000 to $32,000 per vehicle, according to Munro and the other industry consultants.

    The production cost estimates are considerably higher than those for the Chevrolet Cruze, the Volt's conventional gasoline-engine sister car, which Munro estimates at $12,000 to $15,000 per vehicle.

    Production costs typically include such items as parts, material, labor and the cost to run the factory, according to manufacturing expert Ron Harbour, who heads the North American Automotive Practice at Michigan-based consultant Oliver Wyman.


    The Volt costs more to build for several reasons, mostly related to the car's richer content, complex technology and still-low sales and production volumes.

    The basic model has a higher level of equipment and features than the Cruze, which is assembled in Lordstown, Ohio, and has a starting sales price of $17,925. The Volt also has a number of unique parts, including the battery pack, the electric motor and the power electronics.

    Some of GM's suppliers also impose cost penalties on the automaker because the Volt's production volume remains well below projections.

    Still, as the company wrestles with how to drive down costs and increase showroom traffic, Parks said the Volt is an important car for GM in other respects.

    "It wasn't conceived as a way to make tons of money," he said. "It was a big dip in the technology pool for GM. We've learned a boatload of stuff that we're deploying on other models," Parks said. Those include the Cruze and such future cars as the 2014 Cadillac ELR hybrid.

    The same risky strategy - gambling on relatively untested technology - drove massive investments by Toyota Motor Corp [ TM 81.89 +0.22 (+0.27%) ] in the Prius hybrid and Nissan Motor Co in the Leaf electric car.

    Toyota said it now makes a profit on the Prius, which was introduced in the United States in 2000 and is now in its third generation. Sales of the Prius hybrid, which comes in four different versions priced as low as $19,745, have almost doubled so far this year to 164,408.

    Other such vehicles haven't done nearly as well. Nissan's pure-electric Leaf, which debuted at the same time as the Volt and retails for $36,050, has sold just 4,228 this year, while the Honda Insight, which has the lowest starting price of any hybrid in the U.S. at $19,290, has sales this year of only 4,801. The Mitsubishi i, an even smaller electric car priced from $29,975, is in even worse shape, with only 403 sales.

    Toyota's unveiling of the original Prius caught U.S. automakers off guard. GM, then under the leadership of Rick Wagoner and Bob Lutz, decided it needed a "leapfrog" product to tackle Toyota and unveiled the Volt concept to considerable fanfare at the 2007 Detroit auto show.

    The car entered production in the fall of 2010 as the first U.S. gasoline-electric hybrid that could be recharged by plugging the car into any electrical outlet. The Obama administration, which engineered a $50-billion taxpayer rescue of GM from bankruptcy in 2009 and has provided more than $5 billion in subsidies for green-car development, praised the Volt as an example of the country's commitment to building more fuel-efficient cars.
    #10     Sep 10, 2012