On the positive side, GM recognizes that it still faces a negative consumer perception when it comes to fuel economy and says it will to strive to become the most fuel efficient automaker in the industry. In order to do that, GM is planning to use all of the technologies at its disposal to elevate the miles-per-gallon numbers on its products in hopes of drawing consumers. That will range from more conventional technologies like downsized, turbocharged,direct-injected engines to more hybrid and electric vehicles.
However, GM also acknowledges that meeting customer and CAFE requirements is going to add to the cost of vehicles in the future and could put downward pressure on sales. The more advanced technologies, like fuel cells and batteries, face even bigger hurdles as neither one has yet proven commercially feasible and there is no guarantee that GM and its suppliers will be able to bring down the costs as hoped. Nonetheless, alternative propulsion systems will be GM's top research priority going forward.
GM has also applied for up to $14.4 billion in low interest loans through the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program but there is no guarantee that it will receive any of that money. If GM is not approved for ATVM loans, it will be more expensive for it to develop and tool up new technologies.
[Source: Earth2Tech, Securities and Exchange Commission | Image: Associated Press/Paul Sancya]