GM announced plans to heavily invest in fuel efficient ... GM announced plans to heavily invest in fuel efficient cars like the Chevrolet Volt (GM).
Gas prices are expected to go lower to $3.50 per gallon by summer, down from the nearly $4.00 national average now hamstringing consumers' purses. But demand for more fuel efficient vehicles is expected to remain, thus moving General Motors to invest more in fuel thrifty cars.

This is the "new normal," as some industry executives and analysts are calling it, in which consumers are expecting frequent spikes in gas prices and are planning their car purchases around that reality. That's leading the automaker to invest in plants and a wave of hiring directly related to producing more fuel efficient vehicles.

Besides hourly blue collar workers, GM is also adding hundreds of white collar engineers and related staff at its Warren, Mich., technical center.

Those investments, totaling about $2 billion spread across 17 plants, include hiring at the Detroit plant that is producing the extended-range electric Chevy Volt, a five-passenger sedan that goes up to 40 miles on an electric charge before a gas engine kicks in when the battery runs down.

GM CEO Dan Akerson is in Toledo, Ohio today, an area about 45 miles south of GM's Detroit headquarters which can use all the jobs it can get, to announce the investments. The plan includes adding 250 to 400 jobs at a Toledo transmission plant. Another 2,000 jobs will be added in metro Detroit, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

"It's not only good for GM, it's good for the United States of America," Chief Executive Officer Akerson said. "We're committed to investing in the manufacturing infrastructure of this country."

GM has been investing in factories since its re-emergence from its 2009 bankruptcy. GM announced a $131 million investment last week in its Corvette sports-car plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Including that project, GM said it had committed $3.4 billion to U.S. factories since emerging from court protection, creating or preserving 9,000 jobs.

The Chevy Volt, which will be a primary beneficiary of the new investment has been on sale for a few months, and so far has seen 1,703 vehicles sold this year through April. That may not sound like much, but the company has been slowly ramping up production and has a backlog of orders for the car.

GM planned to produce 10,000 Volts this year, but demand is prompting the company to increase that up to 25,000. GM also is considering building up to 120,000 extended age electric vehicles next year, as well as a vehicle less expensive than the Volt. The Volt retails for $40,280, but Federal tax incentives bring the real cost $7,500 lower. And the lease rate on the vehicle is $350 a month with $2,500 down.

GM is also seeing brisk sales of the Chevy Cruze, which has one version that gets 40 mpg. And later this year, it is launching the Chevy Sonic, a replacement for the sub-compact Chevy Aveo, which is also expected to get 40 mpg or better in highway mileage.

Other automakers have been seeing a surge in demand for their most fuel efficient vehicles. Sales of Honda Fit were up more than 70% in April. And Ford saw a surge in demand for the Ford Fiesta, which tops 40 mpg in highway fuel economy. Hyundai, too, is on a sales run, with the Sonata Hybrid and Elantra, both of which top 40 mpg.

Bottom line: Demand for Small Cars Not Going Away

Even with gas prices trending downward in the next few months, industry executives are not letting up on developing more fuel efficient vehicles because they have to meet rising government standards for fuel economy. Even without the government mandates, though, consumers are expected to keep up demand for fuel efficient vehicles because its good for their wallets first, and the environment second.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 217 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      When is GM going to upgrade their Buicks?
        • 4 Years Ago
        You obviously havn't been to a Buick showroom yet.
          hgeorgech
          • 4 Years Ago
          exactly ... looks as if tomdnyc's last showroom visit was to see the new Roadmaster!
        mandmp11
        • 4 Years Ago
        Based on your comment you have not driven a 2011 Buick car or read what Motor Trend (motortrend.com)has to say about the new Buick cars? Please report back after you do.
      mdog002
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm buying big trucks and suv's before the all of the fossil fuel is used up...I'm getting my share and 10 miles to the gallon is way too much.
      chucki42
      • 4 Years Ago
      lets see what the resale value is for these vehicles. still sticking with my hondas and toyotas. and yes they are american built with american materials and employ many americans.
        baddati2d
        • 4 Years Ago
        @chucki42
        first off you are wrong about that made in america comment and secondly give me a break!!!! yes toyotas never have a problem !! now the most recalled car company ever!! but no problems aslong as you dont want to start or stop
      • 4 Years Ago
      Average gas prices—December 29, 2008 ~> http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2008/12/gas-prices-4.html <~ .......... National retail fuel price averages..... Regular gasoline/gallon $1.61 ..... Diesel fuel/gallon $2.33
        cmcclarty
        • 4 Years Ago
        And to think Obama and the unions and the little hippys think we should be paying 7 bucks a gallon. AND YES HE SAID THAT!
      lyndell
      • 4 Years Ago
      The desire on the part of the consumer for more fuel-efficient cars has been around since the 1973 oil embargo. What do the mfg's do. Bigger, More Powerful, More Luxurious! Same old Crap. High gas prices are the only thing that will bring these dunderheads into line. Foreign competition is the driving motive behind the all-to-long lag in producing more efficient cars.
      1040advocate
      • 4 Years Ago
      lol..$3.50 a gallon? big whoop...so the oil companies will boast of their 30 billion dollar profit for that quarter, instead of their 35 billion dollar profit for the last qaurter..
      wongtpa
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thanks Obama for unaffordable gas and food! What else can you do to hurt the public? Plenty? 2012 must be Obama's undoing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        scificarolinaguy
        • 4 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        Uh... the recession was created by G.W.B. The president is still trying to undo 8 years of Republican thievery. Meanwhile, Repubs are taking away worker benefits and rights.
          donbarnesfhii
          • 4 Years Ago
          @scificarolinaguy
          You need to get out from under a rock! The rock that Obama has put us under and continues to pile it on. This guy couldn't balance a check book if he had to. Now that the unions and goverment control GM and Chrysler we will never get our money back. Obama is no businessman...he thinks we just need to print more and hand our more. Get up off your butt and go to work. The Republicans are trying to save you dummy.
          • 4 Years Ago
          @scificarolinaguy
          TRILLIONS SPENT BY HUSSEIN AND YOU TALKING HEADS STILL STUCK ON TRYING TO BLAME BUSH - LMAO- NOBODY BUYING THAT B/S ANYMORE - MOVE ALONG
          Doug
          • 4 Years Ago
          @scificarolinaguy
          Your president had two and a half years to turn the economy around and instead he made it worse by adding $3 trillion more to the debt. He spent more than Bush did in 8 years. I'll bet in 2008, you went around blaming Bush when gas was $4 a gallon. Now gas is right back at $4 a gallon. So who are you blaming now??? Are you giving your president a free pass???
      Smoothoperator
      • 4 Years Ago
      this is too bad,,,this phony enviromental thing and the and the other ie that we will run out of oil. Just get rid of the libs and their greed and the price will be $ .30 a gallon again! Then we can have our big cars again....
      chiefo7
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think GM should bring back the style they had in the 50's with 50 MPG then you would have some thing. The 1955 to 1958 cars were the best ever. GM knows how to do it, they just don't want too. Oh well I had my say.
        bercola
        • 4 Years Ago
        @chiefo7
        They dont have the workers anymore, all the good ones are retired
        mandmp11
        • 4 Years Ago
        @chiefo7
        They were great looking cars back in the 50's, I like the running boards and big fenders on the cars from the 30's. One problem is not enough people would buy them so the cost for GM to make them with today's safely requirements is expensive. All that chrome inside and out looks great, but it can't be used on today's cars because it's a hard service. Inside has to be soft as to not hurt someone in an accident even when they don't wear their seat-belt. The front end could never be real chromed metal and plastic fake chrome bumpers and grills always look fake. That's why I'll looking at getting a fiberglass shell of a 37 Ford coupe. Have you read the European pedestrian safety requirements. No more wedge shape front ends that can cut a person in two and the hoods must have 'give' when a pedestrian you hit lands on top of it, the hood must drop down some to lessen the impact to the person. So car companies are having to raise the hoods or lower the engine so there is room between the engine and the inside of the hood. No more hood ornaments, like the Jag, it could hurt someone. SUVs may need front exterior airbags!
      bonitabud1
      • 4 Years Ago
      Despite Husseins success of driving gas prices up I will not ever ever buy a government motors junk.
        pal2867
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bonitabud1
        i agree get off your republican bull **** high horse and start thinking how great this country really is.dont blame obama for what bush jr did to get us in this hole we are in now.and by the way get ready for 4 more years my friend because no republican is going to get enough of the population to believe in there cut medicare and social sec. and keep the rich ,rich and the poor pooer bull **** and oh lets attack the unions ,god forbid an normal joe should have a good paying job.im a teamster and make a good living so i can feed my family and put a roof over our heads and maybe i can go on a nice vacation once in a while after working 50 hours a week to make my company super rich. and by the way where do you work.let me guess is it Walmart?????????
        Thomas W
        • 4 Years Ago
        @bonitabud1
        All I want to know is what is your job and who do you work for ? I want to boycott the place you work. you anti amercan a-s
      leftyd5244
      • 4 Years Ago
      gm cars are crape made by drunk an stoned uaw slackers
        • 4 Years Ago
        @leftyd5244
        i was drunk and stoned and i still helped build a prety dam good car.........MALIBU and BUICK LACROSSE...........GM FAIRFAX ..........SO F all you UAW hateing BASTARDS
        cmcclarty
        • 4 Years Ago
        @leftyd5244
        Well that was proven at chrysler! News cameras got that action on tape.
        Thomas W
        • 4 Years Ago
        @leftyd5244
        You sound like one
      Bodav
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM is a joke,total piece of crap
    • Load More Comments