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On 2/12/2019 at 3:38 PM, kscarbel2 said:

Bob, the CPC has an initiative called "Made in China 2025" (中國製造2025). It's goal is to aggressively acquire leading edge foreign technology so as to leap China forward to the number one spot by 2025.

Kuka was a German robotics company, before being acquired by China. They're looking to buy FCA's robotics subsidiary Comau now.

China, for example, acquired German concrete pump makers Putzmeister and Schwing.


Saw a piece in today's WSJ..."Japanese robot maker Fanuc says Chinese demand has declined".  Hmnn-wonder if reason is they are using their own.  By the way.."Fanuc"...anyway this is/was once GE Fanuc?  They made PLCs.

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On 2/7/2019 at 8:39 AM, Dirtymilkman said:

It's a stroked 6.0 liter. 

You're right it's an LS6 with LS7 Crank



 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’


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22 hours ago, Red Horse said:


Saw a piece in today's WSJ..."Japanese robot maker Fanuc says Chinese demand has declined".  Hmnn-wonder if reason is they are using their own.  By the way.."Fanuc"...anyway this is/was once GE Fanuc?  They made PLCs.

Fanuc is a solid Japanese robotics manufacturer. They had a JV with GE but it ended in 2009.

So no Bob, there's no connection between Kuga and Fanuc.

And yes, after acquiring Kuga, most Chinese manufacturing is sourcing Kuga, rather than Fanuc or other. An exception is the Japanese automakers in China who spec Fanuc.

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GM will launch electric bike sales in Europe

Reuters  /  February 14, 2019

General Motors said it will begin selling electric bicycles in Europe in the second quarter.

Two such bicycles, a compact bike and a foldable one, will launch first in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, markets where cycles powered by lithium-ion batteries are already popular, GM said in a statement Thursday.

In Belgium and the Netherlands the compact e-bike would cost 2,800 euros ($3,165), while the folding one would cost 3,400 euros. In Germany, the prices would be 2,750 euros and 3,350 euros, respectively.

GM first announced its e-bike plans in early November. It already has a presence in the electric car market through its Chevrolet Bolt vehicles, which start at roughly $36,000.

The bikes will be sold under a new brand called Ariv (pronounced arrive). Riders can charge their bike batteries in about three and a half hours and get up to 40 miles of ride time with a single charge.

GM has not announced any plans in the e-scooter market. Meanwhile, its U.S. rival Ford Motor made a reported $200 million investment in November to acquire Spin, an electric scooter rental firm based in San Francisco.

GM sold its European Opel/Vauxhall car business to Peugeot maker PSA Group in 2017.


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Kscarbel last week at the GM Tech Center there were mass layoffs of engineers. Mary Barra is in a race to the bottom. I wonder if she rides a bike to the Ren Cen, downtown Detroit GM HQ? A lot of people are out of work because of these dumb ideas. 

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UAW VP blasts GM for using temps, increasing Mexico production

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  March 12, 2019

DETROIT — The UAW is ready to "fight" General Motors during collective bargaining negotiations this summer, according to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes.

Dittes used a speech Tuesday to UAW delegates to heavily criticize GM for its use of thousands of temporary workers, increasing production in Mexico and the potential closure of four U.S. plants by January 2020, among other union issues.

"Brothers and sisters, you can see what we're up against as we open negotiations this coming summer," he said during the UAW's 2019 Special Bargaining Convention. "But I can tell you, we are ready for the fight and I know you're ready for the fight and I know our members are ready for the fight."

Dittes, who oversees the union's GM Department, said there are "more plants that may be in jeopardy as time goes on." He did not provide specifics.

A GM spokeswoman, in response to Dittes' comments, said the company continuously looks at its "global operations for greater efficiency and capacity utilization." She reiterated GM remains "committed to maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S," including more than $22 billion investments in domestic operations since 2009.

Dittes, a first-term vice president, particularly took aim at GM being the largest automaker in the U.S., but with fewer union members in the U.S. than Ford Motor Co. and, potentially, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the near future. He also noted the company's increasing production in Mexico.

GM last year became Mexico's largest auto producer, topping Nissan Motor Co. in a year when it reduced output by an estimated 5 percent in the U.S. and an estimated 33 percent in Canada, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Automakers routinely use temporary workers to assist during launches, heavy times of vacation and other short-term work. The UAW has argued companies overuse and misuse temp workers who do not receive the same benefits as company employees doing the same job. 

Dittes' comments come weeks after the UAW filed a lawsuit in federal court that accuses GM of breaching its 2015 collective bargaining agreement with the union.

FCA expansion

Dittes' speech, which drew a standing ovation, was in contrast to one earlier in the day from UAW-FCA Vice President Cindy Estrada, who previously led the GM division.

Estrada, who drew several cheers, discussed FCA's investments under the current four-year contract exceeding expectations, increase in union employment and upward of $100,000 in additional income over the last four years for members.

Estrada also noted additional oversight and efforts to fight against the company "pencil whipping."

"We can negotiate all these great things, but we need to make sure they are implementing them on the shop floor," she said.

UAW-Ford Vice President Rory Gamble and UAW President Gary Jones are scheduled to speak Wednesday at the convention, which sets bargaining priorities for the negotiations with the Detroit automakers.

Contract deadline

This year's contract negotiations are expected to be the most contentious in years, as automakers look to cut costs ahead of a potential downturn and the union pushes for higher wages and benefits to recover past concessions.

Jones on Monday said the UAW boosted its weekly strike pay by $50 and will raise it an additional $25 in January to better support members if such action is deemed necessary.

The pay UAW members receive if on strike is now $250, up from $200. It will reach $275 in January. Striking members would also receive continuing health care coverage, according to Jones.

The current contracts between the UAW and Detroit automakers end Sept. 14, but it's common for that deadline to be extended.

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GM to invest $2.7B in Brazil, maintain 15,000 jobs

Reuters  /  March 19, 2019

SAO PAULO -- General Motors said on Tuesday it would invest 10 billion reais ($2.65 billion) in two of its Brazilian plants located in the state of Sao Paulo.

The two plants are located in Sao Caetano do Sul and Sao Jose dos Campos and employ 15,000 people, jobs that will be maintained as part of the investment plan.

Two months ago, GM's Brazil unit was in advanced talks with Sao Paulo state to receive tax incentives, the company told public officials and union representatives a few days after telling workers in a memo that it was losing money in the country.

GM's top executives in South America attended the meeting along with union representatives and mayors of the two cities where the automaker's Sao Paolo state plants are based. Two officials representing the two cities told Reuters GM disclosed the tax incentive discussions at the meeting.

The automaker, for several years, has been restructuring its operations in South America, where the automaker leads in market share.

In February, GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara said the company had reduced its break-even point by 40 percent since 2012.  

GM, she said, was working with dealers, suppliers, government officials and labor unions to “create a business plan that’s going to weather these economic circumstances better.”

She noted foreign exchange rate – particularly for Brazilian and Argentinian currencies – as a continuing headwind. 

“What we’ve been doing is structuring the business such that even in more extreme levels of currency, we’re still able to break even and turn a profit,” she said.

GM, according to Suryadevara, would share additional details of the company’s efforts in South America in the coming financial quarters.

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I wonder if GM would ever get back into commercial trucks in Brazil.  I doubt there is a sound business case for it at the moment, but at some point there could be for an Isuzu re-badge.  GM sells Isuzu's in Chile, and Isuzu is not active in Brazil. 

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5 hours ago, RoadwayR said:

I wonder if GM would ever get back into commercial trucks in Brazil.  I doubt there is a sound business case for it at the moment, but at some point there could be for an Isuzu re-badge.  GM sells Isuzu's in Chile, and Isuzu is not active in Brazil. 

Well if Ford's case was marginal, you think GM's position would be that much better?  Then again, as I said, Ford blinked first.  With them out of picture better market position for survivors. Doesn't sound like a good position though for someone else to jump in-unless Brazil's economy-as well as rest of SA makes a big turn around.

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Yes, in the event that Brazil's economy does improve.  But regardless of that, I don't see GM actually manufacturing commercial trucks in Brazil.  I am thinking GM markets Isuzu trucks through their dealer network in Brazil.

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GM claims most powerful diesel engine in a 1/2-ton pickup

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  March 26, 2019

DETROIT — General Motors is delivering on a promise that the new diesel engine in the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 pickups will achieve segment-leading power.

GM on Monday said the Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel will deliver an SAE-certified 277 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque.

That compares with Ford Motor Co.'s 3.0-liter Power Stroke V-6 diesel rated at 250 hp and 440 pound-feet of torque in the 2019 F-150 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' previous 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 in the Ram 1500, which was rated at 240 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque.

Ram is working on a new version of the [VM Motori-produced] EcoDiesel, which was last available for the 2018 model year. The engine is expected to debut in the Jeep Wrangler in 2019, followed by the Jeep Gladiator pickup in 2020. The company has not announced availability of the engine for the Ram 1500.

When unveiling the 2019 Silverado in January 2018, GM product boss Mark Reuss, now also president of the company, said he was "really confident" that GM would have "the best-performing diesel in the segment."

GM didn't release towing capacity, payload and fuel economy ratings for the Duramax diesel model, which is expected to arrive in dealerships this summer. It will be a first for a full-size GM pickup since the late 1990s.

The fuel economy improvements in the pickups' gasoline engines have been unimpressive, including some carryover engines that achieve up to 3 mpg combined below the comparable outgoing models.

The Duramax diesel model — paired with a 10-speed transmission — will be priced starting at $2,495 over a 5.3-liter V-8 model and $3,890 over a 2.7-liter turbo model. Both prices are identical to the upcharge for a 6.2-liter V-8, which is rated at 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 460 pound-feet of torque.


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The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500's Diesel Engine Puts Up Impressive Numbers

Joey Capparella, Car & Driver  /  March 26, 2019

This new 3.0-liter inline-six beats the F-150 diesel in both horsepower and torque.

  • The Chevrolet Silverado 1500's new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six makes 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.

  • Those numbers beat the Ford F-150 diesel's 3.0-liter V-6 by 27 horsepower and 20 lb-ft of torque.

  • We don't yet know the diesel model's towing capacity or fuel-economy estimates, but those should come before the engine goes on sale this summer.

We've already tested versions of the new Chevrolet Silverado with its 5.3-liter V-8, 6.2-liter V-8, and turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four engine options, and now we finally know more details about its new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six. After Jalopnik published a story about the diesel's numbers, we dug into the 2019 Silverado 1500's order guide and found the official specs that show this new Duramax turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six makes 277 horsepower at 3750 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at 1500 rpm. For comparison, its closest rival, the Ford F-150 diesel with its 3.0-liter V-6, makes 250 horsepower at 3250 rpm and 440 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm.

The Silverado's diesel mates with a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard and is available with rear- or all-wheel drive. The engine is a stand-alone option at $2495 on LT, RST, LTZ, and High Country trim levels in both extended- and crew-cab forms. For lower trim levels, opting for the diesel engine requires adding numerous packages including the Convenience package and the Trailering package, meaning it can cost more than $5000 altogether.

There's still more info we don't know, including the Silverado diesel's towing capacity and its EPA fuel-economy estimates. To beat the F-150 in those respects, it will need to be able to tow more than 11,400 pounds and hit 30 mpg on the highway (those max ratings are for regular-cab, two-wheel-drive versions of the F-150 diesel, a configuration that Chevrolet doesn't offer).

Chevrolet told C/D that the order books on the diesel Silverado will open shortly, with first customer deliveries coming this summer.

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Chevy revives Trailblazer, Tracker for China

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  April 16, 2019

General Motors is resurrecting the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Chevrolet Tracker nameplates for the Chinese market.

The company introduced the two small crossovers on Tuesday at the Shanghai auto show. The vehicles are not expected to be imported from China to the U.S. A Chevrolet spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

Other than their names, the vehicles appear to share little to no DNA with their predecessors sold in the U.S., which GM discontinued in the 2000s.

The Trailblazer for China, according to GM, is a compact crossover inspired by the Chevrolet FNR-CarryAll concept, which debuted at the 2018 Guangzhou auto show as the new design language for the brand. In the U.S., the new styling is most notable on the midsize Chevrolet Blazer crossover that went on sale this year.

The Tracker, GM says, will be the brand's new small entry-level crossover for China.

For the U.S., GM last produced the Tracker, which was badged under several brands, after the 2004 model year. The Trailblazer was last produced for the 2009 model year.


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GM bets it has a GEM of a plan to hit paydirt in emerging markets

Nick Carey & Joseph White, Reuters  /  April 16, 2019

General Motors has spent five years rewriting its playbook for making money in Latin America and the interior of China. Now, it's showtime for the first results of a project code-named GEM, for Global Emerging Market.

At events this week ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show, the U.S. automaker is unveiling two small utilities that will be part of a new family of sedans and utilities the automaker forecasts will make up one in five of its global vehicle sales by 2023.

This is just the opening salvo in a nearly $5 billion bet by GM to sell up to 2 million technology-laden, modern-looking vehicles annually to consumers who today cannot afford GM vehicles designed for the United States, but may someday as their incomes rise.

GM has struggled for years to crack the code for growing profitably outside rich markets, in part because vehicles designed for the U.S. or China's wealthy coastal cities cost too much for developing world consumers. The company has abandoned some Southeast Asian countries and pulled back from Africa because it could not compete.

This time around, GM says, through disciplined cost-control it has finally found a way to make affordable vehicles in bulk for emerging markets, loaded with the technology that consumers want and still make a profit.

The Chevrolet Tracker and the Buick Encore — not be confused with its American cousin of the same name — are the first tests of a new strategy for engineering vehicles to appeal to buyers in around 40 nations of the world's middle class such as Brazil and Mexico, and the huge developing market that exists within China's heartland.

The GEM project involved an unprecedented level of cooperation with GM's Chinese joint venture partner SAIC Motor Corp. GM and SAIC shared engineering costs and collaborated on purchasing, GM executives said.

What potential customers will see are vehicles that include amenities such as touch screens, mobile phone connectivity, rear-view cameras and safety features such as automatic emergency braking and airbags.

What GM is counting on them not to notice is that the number of options is limited, to reduce complexity in purchasing and manufacturing, or that touches such as fully carpeted trunks are absent. "We may not be the absolute lowest price point in China," GM President Mark Reuss told Reuters at the automaker's downtown Detroit headquarters. "But we're going to be right in that segment where this is a pretty good-sized car... [with] a huge value for what you pay for it."

Fewer parts, lower cost

The team that set out to build GM's new vehicle family included engineers and designers from 14 different countries, meeting at the automaker's technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren to hammer out details that were then executed in China and elsewhere, GM executives said.

As the basic design of the GEM vehicles took shape, the strategy for where they would be sold changed. GM pulled out of some markets like India and Vietnam that were originally slated to be among the target markets.

The challenge GEM project chief engineer Doug Houlihan faced was how to deliver low-cost vehicles that did not look cheap or lack key safety features.

Sometimes, that meant spending more. Houlihan gave the green light to spend extra on machines that could weld on the tops of car doors rather than stamping the door in one piece. The extra investment delivered a door that fit smoothly into the roof of the car for a sleeker look.

"This gives the customer more than they would expect," Houlihan said.

To offset that cost, Houlihan and his colleagues dug into logistics and the supply chain.

Shipping some vehicles by sea between Brazilian ports saved money in a market where moving goods by road can be a logistics nightmare.

Houlihan said that Brazilian logistics savings more than paid for the extra $2 per vehicle GM invested for a rear axle five times stronger than its predecessor in South America. One GM plant in Brazil took over some work on engines and bumpers that had previously been outsourced, saving $120 per vehicle — a significant figure for a low-cost vehicle.

Integrating the head rest on the front seat for some models saved $7 per vehicle.

Chinese suppliers are key to the new GM vehicle line, but the automaker is shifting away from relying on Chinese production.

GM has tried to localize costs for these vehicles as much as possible which can help offset currency fluctuations that hit markets like Brazil. That can also mitigate the impact of tariffs. U.S. President Donald Trump has escalated trade tensions with China and has threatened a broad tariff on U.S. autos and parts.

"You try and tariff-proof yourself and get it as local as you can," GM's Reuss said.

GM's new emerging market lineup will face plenty of competition. Chinese automakers are pushing into some of the same countries GM has targeted.

Internally, a key test will be how GM applies the cost-saving strategies used in the global emerging market project to other vehicle programs.

Houlihan has been named to lead efforts to apply the cost lessons learned from this project to GM's global lineup of crossovers for the Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC brands.

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GM doubles Q1 net income; operating profit falls

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  April 30, 2019

DETROIT — General Motors' first-quarter net income doubled from a year earlier, though operating profit fell 11 percent primarily due to headwinds in China and downtime at the company's full-size SUV plant in Texas. 

GM on Tuesday reported net income of $2.15 billion, up from $1.04 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes dropped $300 million to $2.3 billion, as revenue declined 3.4 percent to $34.9 billion. GM's adjusted earnings per share of $1.41, a key estimate for financial analysts, topped Wall Street estimates averaging $1.10. That includes a 31-cent revaluation from GM's stakes in Lyft Inc. and PSA Group.

GM’s first-quarter earnings last year were hampered by two factors — downtime in full-size pickup production and a restructuring in Korea — that are now paying dividends.

The ongoing launch of its redesigned full-size pickups and the restructuring actions begun last fall helped GM offset headwinds in China and a 23,000-unit loss of full-size SUV production in the first quarter of this year, GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara said.

“This was per plan and it’s setting us up well as we look at the other three quarters of the year,” she told reporters Tuesday morning, adding that the company has completed its downtime at the SUV plant in Arlington, Texas.

The automaker's global deliveries in the first quarter slipped 10 percent from a year ago to 1.9 million, including a 17 percent decrease in China and 7 percent slide in the U.S.

Suryadevara said GM still expects strong results for the year, including adjusted earnings of $6.50 to $7 a share and adjusted automotive free cash flow of $4.5 billion to $6 billion. Those forecasts are among the reasons why many analysts remain bullish on GM, compared with Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler.

Expected to offset headwinds this year are improvements in full-size pickup production, the launch of GM's redesigned heavy-duty pickups and an influx of new products toward the end of the year — particularly in China, where GM plans to introduce more than 20 new and updated models in 2019.

“We have a track record of delivering on our commitments, despite the industry macro challenges,” GM CEO Mary Barra said during a conference call. “As we move forward, we’re going to continue to seize every opportunity to manage what is in our control.”

GM will take some downtime for its heavy-duty pickups for retooling in the second quarter, Suryadevara said. It expects production to be flat compared to last year, when it also scheduled downtime at its heavy-duty pickup plant in Flint, Mich. 

GM’s announced restructuring last year, which included plant idling and salaried workforce reductions, contributed about $400 million to the automaker’s first-quarter bottom line. Suryadevara said those actions remain on track to save $4.5 billion by the end of next year, including $2 billion to $2.5 in 2019.

North America profit down

North American earnings decreased 15 percent to $1.9 billion in the first quarter, with an adjusted margin of 6.9 percent. Profit from the company's international operations plunged 84 percent to $31 million.

GM Financial earned a $359 million profit, down 19 percent from $443 million a year earlier. That decline, Suryadevara said, was due to positive one-time benefits in the first quarter of 2018.

Adjusted earnings for GM Financial, she said, are expected to be flat overall for the year.

The automaker spent $200 million on its Cruise autonomous vehicle operations in the first quarter. GM said it expects to spend $1 billion on GM Cruise for the year.

GM shares fell 2.5 percent to $39.01 in midday trading. 

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GM plans to sell Lordstown plant to electric truck maker

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  May 8, 2019

UAW wants GM to keep the plant and assign a new product

General Motors plans to sell its idled Lordstown plant in Ohio to Workhorse Group Inc., a little known electric truck and drone maker in the state, according to President Donald Trump.

Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he "just spoke" to GM CEO Mary Barra and "subject to a UAW agreement etc.," the Detroit automaker will sell the plant to "Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks."

GM confirmed in a later statement it is in "discussions" with Workhorse and an "affiliated, newly formed entity" to sell the plant. 

“We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone,” Barra said in the statement. "Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”

Workhorse is based in Loveland, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Its chairman, Raymond Chess, spent 37 years at GM in a variety of roles that included "global product responsibility for all crossover vehicles," his company biography said. 

"The move has the potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant," the GM statement said. "Upon final agreement, the entity, led by Workhorse founder Steve Burns, would acquire the facility. Workhorse would hold a minority interest in the new entity."

“This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse’s role in the EV community,” Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in the GM statement.

“The first vehicle we would plan to build if we were to purchase the Lordstown Complex would be a commercial electric pickup, blending Workhorse’s technology with Lordstown’s manufacturing expertise," Burns said in the statement. 

It was unclear when the parties expect to complete negotiations. 

"Upon final agreement with all parties, work could begin immediately to prepare the facility for new production," the statement said.

The UAW was unimpressed by the announcement, contending that GM instead should assign a new product to the facility. 

“In response to General Motors’ announcement today, the UAW’s position is unequivocal:  General Motors should assign a product to the Lordstown facility and continue operating it,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, director of the UAW-GM Department, said in a statement.

GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO! Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks. GM will also be spending $700,000,000 in Ohio...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019

Other GM plant investments

Trump also tweeted that GM plans to spend $700 million in Ohio in three separate locations, creating 450 jobs. GM confirmed plans to add jobs at its plants in Toledo, Parma and Moraine.

"I have been working nicely with GM to get this done," Trump tweeted. "Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob Portman. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!"

The Lordstown plant, which had been producing the compact Chevrolet Cruze, was idled in March.

Trading of Workhorse shares (NASDAQ: WKHS) was halted for volatility at $1.42 after the president's tweet, and ended the day tripling to close at $2.65. Workhorse's website also crashed for a time. The company went public in 2010. 

....in 3 separate locations, creating another 450 jobs. I have been working nicely with GM to get this done. Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob Portman. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019

Business opportunities

Lordstown Assembly was one of five North American plants that GM announced plans to idle this year and potentially close in November to reduce overcapacity.

GM has consistently said that it “would consider any that are truly viable business opportunities” for the impacted facilities. 

The automaker, as first reported by Automotive News, had discussions with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV for its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Michigan. Barra said in January that there were also talks with Tesla Inc., but Tesla was “not interested in our GM work force represented by the UAW, so really it’s a moot point.”

For a startup to take over a 6.2 million-square-foot facility with 275,000 units of capacity would likely be a difficult task. In March, Trucks.com reported Workhorse was having financial issues and it was postponing “plans for an electric pickup and aircraft to focus on battery-powered lightweight vans.”

In 2017, Trucks.com said Workhorse built a pre-production work truck, called the W-15, in about nine months. The vehicle had an all-electric range of 80 miles.

Workhorse on Tuesday reported first-quarter sales of $364,000, down from $560,000 in the first quarter of 2018. It reported a net loss of $36.5 million in 2018. The company, according to its 2018 annual filing to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, has incurred net losses of $141.6 million from February 2007 through 2018.

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GM considered selling HQ amid 2018 restructuring

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  May 19, 2019

DETROIT — Amid General Motors' restructuring and cost-cutting efforts last year, the automaker also was in talks to sell its glass-towered Renaissance Center headquarters to billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert.

Talks between GM and Gilbert in the fall did not advance far, at least in part because the complex built in the 1970s and early 1980s by Ford Motor Co. under then-Chairman Henry Ford II requires substantial upgrades, including a costly overhaul of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

A sale to Gilbert or other buyers could happen down the line.

Gilbert's decade of purchases is in stark contrast to the trend at GM, which has heavily invested in the city and region but has looked to sell or potentially shutter some operations, including a Courtyard by Marriott hotel across from its headquarters and its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. The factory is scheduled to end production by January, pending negotiations with the UAW this year.

GM has made substantial renovations to the Renaissance Center, however it canceled plans for a 120,000-square-foot addition in 2017. The company also halted reinvestment last year at its famed design studios in Michigan and another project to update its global propulsion headquarters in an effort to save money.

GM's recent cost-cutting measures, including potential closures of five North American factories and the slashing up to 14,000 jobs, are a major part of the company's plans to save $6 billion in annualized spending by 2020.

The last time there were reports about GM possibly selling its Motor City headquarters was as the company prepared for bankruptcy in 2009. It did not occur in part because of the negative impact it would have on the city's downtown.

GM purchased the 5.5 million-square-foot facility reportedly for more than $70 million in 1996, after Ford sold it in the early 1980s to an investor group. By 2004, GM had completed $500 million in renovations there, according to its website.

When built, the modernistic Renaissance Center was known as "a city within a city." It was meant to revive Detroit's downtown and economy following civil unrest in the late 1960s.


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GM postpones launch of new 3.0-liter Duramax diesel to 2020 MY

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  May 21, 2019

General Motors is postponing the launch of a new inline-six turbodiesel engine in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 until the 2020 model year.

The EPA's emissions certification process for the engine is taking longer than anticipated, creating a "slight delay," according to a memo GM sent to dealers Tuesday.

The full-size diesel pickups were expected to go on sale for the 2019 model year in early 2019, months after gasoline versions started arriving at dealerships last fall.

GM said 2020 diesel pickup production will begin "soon" but the delay means dealer orders for the models will be canceled and must be resubmitted.

Dealers and customers impacted by the cancellation will be offered a replacement 2020 vehicle. Notification and timing of the replacement orders will be provided later.

A company spokesman said dealer orders for the 2020 diesel models will open "soon." He refused to say how many orders were placed for the 2019 model year.

The U.S. government has taken a stricter stance on emissions certification — particularly diesel engines — since Volkswagen Group's sweeping emissions violations emerged in September 2015. Other automakers, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and BMW Group, have also been forced to delay launches because of the prolonged certification process.

The 3.0-liter Duramax engine is GM's first turbodiesel in a 1500 series GM pickup since 1997.

In March, GM said the engine — paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission — would achieve segment-leading power of 277 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque.

GM has not released towing capacity, payload and fuel economy ratings for the Duramax diesel model, which will be priced starting at $2,495 over a 5.3-liter V-8 model and $3,890 over a 2.7-liter turbo model.

The new diesel engine is being produced at a GM powertrain plant in Flint, Mich.

According to the memo, the Silverado, like its Sierra sibling, will receive updates such as adaptive cruise control and expanded availability of the 10-speed transmission for the 2020 model year.

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Chevy expands V-8 engine availability on 2020 Silverado

Michael Wayland, May 22, 2019

DETROIT — Chevrolet is significantly expanding the availability of its highest-output V-8 engine for the 2020 Silverado.

The 6.2-liter gasoline engine — rated at 420 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque — will be optional on five of eight trim levels, up from two high-end 2019 models.

The expanded availability will lower the entry-level price of a pickup with the engine from roughly $50,000 to $43,865. Pricing includes $1,595 destination.

The V-8 engine, paired with a 10-speed transmission, will be available on the Custom Trail Boss, RST (equipped with four-wheel drive), LT Trail Boss, LTZ and High Country models. It will remain unavailable on Work Truck, Custom and LT trims.

The added availability of the V-8 is part of the Silverado’s launch cadence and not a reaction to higher-than-expected market demand, according to a Chevrolet spokesman. The 5.3-liter V-8 engine remains “by far” the most popular engine for the pickup, he said.

The lower price threshold for the engine is one of several packaging changes or updates announced Wednesday by Chevrolet for the 2020 Silverado.

Other powertrain changes include expanded availability of the 10-speed transmission as well as a 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission being available on Custom models.

"In today's truck market, customers continually demand more features, more technology and more capability," said Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer of GM's redesigned full-size trucks, in a statement. "For 2020, we are delivering more in each of these areas."

The Silverado, like its GMC Sierra sibling, also will add new trailering technology and adaptive cruise control for the 2020 model year.

The trailering includes the addition of a camera system with 15 viewpoints that enables a "transparent trailer" view that was announced for the heavy-duty models of the pickups for the 2020 model year.

The camera-based adaptive cruise control will be available on Silverado LT, LTZ and High Country.

The 2020 model year also will be the first to offer a new 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel Duramax engine. The engine was expected to be available late in the 2019 model year, but GM on Tuesday said the EPA's emissions certification process is taking longer than anticipated, causing a "slight delay" in its availability.

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GM defense unit gets new leaders, stays quiet on plans

Michael Wayland, Automotive News  /  May 25, 2019

DETROIT — General Motors' military-defense unit has a leadership team in place but remains in stealth mode a year and a half after being re-established by the automaker.

Leading the GM Defense team is President David Albritton, a former U.S. Navy officer and communications specialist for the automaker. He replaced Charlie Freese, who returned to his role as head of GM's global fuel cell business in December.

Freese had been leading GM Defense since its launch in October 2017, most recently with retired Maj. Gen. John Charlton, a 34-year U.S. Army veteran who left the company after six months.

GM refused to comment on the departure of Charlton, who could not be reached for comment. Albritton and Freese refused requests for interviews.

Aerospace, defense roles

Albritton, 53, most recently was executive director of GM's internal and product-development communications. Before GM, he worked in communications in the aerospace and defense industries and spent nearly 10 years as a Navy public affairs officer.

Since launching GM Defense, GM has been relatively quiet about the unit, but Albritton and his team are expected to be responsible for launching several hydrogen fuel cell-powered products for the aerospace and defense industries.

GM, which sold its previous defense unit to General Dynamics Corp. for $1.1 billion in 2003, has worked with the U.S. military on the development of two fuel cell-powered products since 2016: an Unmanned Undersea Vehicle and a midsize pickup based on its Chevrolet Colorado called the ZH2.

More recently, it has released concepts of a commercial-vehicle platform with autonomous capabilities and a military version of its Chevrolet Silverado HD as other potential future offerings. Both are powered by fuel cell systems.

Bill Grotz, a company spokesman, declined to comment on the plans for such products as GM Defense is "refining" its business strategy.

"We're not in a position to share details on our operations and plans going forward at this time," Grotz wrote in an email. "However, we'll have insight to share later this year and hopefully some nice business wins to discuss."

Albritton, who joined GM's communications department in 2015, described his new position to PR Week as "exciting and daunting at the same time, as it's the first time in 25 years" he hasn't been in communications.

Leadership appointments

"What we're doing is leveraging our experience in electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles, high-voltage batteries, electric drive systems, autonomous vehicles, off-road mobility, and heavy truck manufacturing and offering those capabilities to militaries around the world," he told the magazine.

Other GM Defense leadership appointments include:

  • Nigel Sutton, 55, as vice president of business development on April 1. Sutton, a member of the Navy and U.S. Air Force for 23 years, had been vice president of international business for Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

  • Jeff Ryder, 46, as vice president of growth and strategy on April 1. He most recently was vice president of Mobile Robotics at Oceaneering, an engineering services company, and has 25 years of experience across several industries, including aerospace and commercial technology.

  • Angela Ambrose, 39, as vice president of government relations on May 1. She most recently led government relations activities for Accenture Federal Services since 2015 and previously worked for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and in the public sector.

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