General Motors has announced its planned production for next year: 2.8 million vehicles. That's a 45% increase over its production this year – 1.9 million cars and trucks – and according to some analysts, it's completely unwarranted. GM says it arrived at that number based on "real simple math." Analysts quoted in the Detroit Free Press today appear believe that GM was guided more by hope and a quest for market share.

Just about everyone agrees that next year's new car market will grow compared to this year, with estimates generally ranging from a 10% to 15% increase in sales. GM slashed its production this year so much that by September, its inventory hit unprecedented lows. To be ready for what it believes will be a 15% bounceback in overall North American car sales, a boost in its own sales (which were down almost 40% this yea)r, and to have enough inventory on hand, it figures it needs to bump production by 45%.

Every analyst appears to agree that GM will need to make more cars. But 2.8 million? Even as one analyst said, "There is no question that their production is going to be up next year and it's going to be significant – it really is," they were all in agreement that 2.8 million vehicles will leave a lot of cars either sitting on lots or being ridiculously discounted. The announcement has brought out sentiments that we are seeing shades of the old GM with a 'make them and move them by any means necessary' mentality. Both GM and the analysts' math is "real simple," but we'll have to wait until next year to see whose is accurate.

UPDATE: GM has responded to the original article on its Fastlane blog, chiding the Detroit Free Press for questioning a number that GM only meant as a 2010 production possibility, not a certainty.

[Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty]