Prior to declaring bankruptcy, General Motors began delaying new products in an effort to conserve cash. The news was disappointing to enthusiasts and brand loyalists, but with its cash piles dwindling, the General didn't have many alternatives. Post-bankruptcy, GM finds itself with $40 billion in cash and a lot less overhead, so where is the money being spent? Automotive News reports that Vice Chairman Bob Lutz confirms that many of the products that were delayed are now being accelerated, adding "Once we got out of the bankruptcy and started having money available, we were able to pull a lot of our programs forward."
One example of the pull-forward is the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu. Early this Fall, GM told us that the next Malibu would arrive in 2012, but Lutz says that time frame has been pulled up to 2011. The next Malibu will reportedly be all-new with a platform based off of the Buick LaCrosse and 2011 Buick Regal. The new 'Bu will apparently have a shorter wheelbase than the current model while still managing more interior room.
Lutz told AN that the uplevel Malibu will have chrome appliques lining the side windows, a trait he says is associated with German and Japanese luxury vehicles. Lutz apparently added that $50 worth of chrome translates into an additional $500 to $600 in perceived value to customers. Beyond the Malibu, Lutz noted that there are "a bunch" of other vehicles being pulled forward to pre-bankruptcy production cadences, though he didn't offer any specific examples.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]