General Motors is fattening up on thinner cars.

GM said today that it sold at least 100,000 vehicles last month that have a highway fuel economy rating of at least 30 miles per gallon, marking a monthly record for sales of fuel-sipping cars.

About 40 percent of GM vehicles sold in the U.S. get at least 30 mpg highway, up from 16 percent three years ago, GM North America President Mark Reuss said in a statement. Such a jump is a result of more investment in four-cylinder cars, turbocharged engines and electric-drive vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid.

GM, which will put out its official March sale numbers tomorrow, is looking to boost sales through fewer gas guzzlers as fuel prices continue to rise. In addition to the Volt, both the Chevrolet Sonic and Chevrolet Cruze include variants that get at least 40 miles per gallon highway. Meanwhile, regular gas prices are up about 60 cents a gallon this year and are nearing the $4 mark, according to AAA.

Late last month, former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, in an interview with electric-drive advocate group Plug In America, predicted that March would be "a record month" for sales of the Volt, which missed its 10,000-unit sales target for 2011 by about 2,400 vehicles. GM temporarily halted Volt production last month to thin out inventory and NPR is reporting that the two-week summer shutdown that is scheduled for July will be extended to three weeks this year. This extra week might be cancelled if strong sales continue.
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GM Sees Record 100,000 Sales of 30 mpg or Better Vehicles
2012-04-02

DETROIT – Combined U.S. sales of the 12 General Motors (NYSE: GM) vehicles that get an EPA estimated 30 mpg or better on the highway are expected to reach 100,000 units or more in March, the highest total in company history. GM will release its total March sales on April 3.

"GM's strategic investments in four-cylinder and turbocharged engines, advanced transmissions and vehicle electrification have been very well timed," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. "Three years ago, about 16 percent of the vehicles GM sold achieved at least 30 mpg on the highway. Today, that number is about 40 percent, and we have more new fuel-economy leaders on the way, including the Chevrolet Spark, Cadillac ATS and the Buick Encore."

GM Fuel Economy Leaders on Sale Today

Vehicle

Powertrain

EPA Est. Highway Fuel Economy

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

1.8-liter I-4
1.4-liter I-4 turbo

35 mpg
40 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Cruze

1.8-liter I-4
1.4-liter I-4 turbo

up to 36 mpg
up to 42 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Volt

1.4-liter I-4 with electric drive unit

93 mpg-e

2012 Chevrolet Malibu

2.4-liter I-4

33 mpg

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

eAssist

37 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Camaro

3.6-liter V-6

30 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Impala

3.6-liter V-6

30 mpg

2012 Chevrolet Equinox

2.4-liter I-4 FWD

32 mpg

2012 Buick Verano

2.4-liter I-4

32 mpg

2012 Buick Regal

eAssist

36 mpg

2012 Buick LaCrosse

eAssist

36 mpg

2012 GMC Terrain

2.4-liter I-4 FWD

32 mpg


By the end of 2012, GM will have all-new or significantly freshened Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars and crossovers in segments that represent 60 percent of the U.S. light vehicle industry. This includes the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbo I-4s, the all-new Chevrolet Spark and the four-cylinder 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, all of which are expected to achieve EPA estimates of 30 mpg highway or better when the ratings are released later this year.

General Motors Co . (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.


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