According to the announcement made by Reuters, Chevrolet’s Aveo replacement has been postponed until January 2011. The reason is the known financial troubles at General Motors and its Korean subsidiary, Daewoo. The replacement of the Aveo, which is codenamed T300, was expected in April 2010.
However, during the first four months of 2009, Daewoo has reported about 44.5-percent decline in total vehicle sales. Since the Korean automaker accounts for a quarter of GM‘s total production this was particularly bad news for General Motors. Much of that dropping production is being lost to rivals like Hyundai and Kia in oh-so-important emerging market of China, where Daewoo’s sales dropped by 3.2-percent even in the face of an expanding market.
In effort to keep the doors open in the face of such heavy losses, GM Daewoo is reportedly seeking additional loans from the Korea Development Bank after running through all $2 billion of its available credit lines.
General Motors has officially unveiled pictures and details of the 2010 Opel Astra ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show coming September.
According to GM the new Opel Astra will feature eight Euro 5 compliant engines including four gasoline engines and four diesel engines. The gasoline engines range from a 1.4L to a 1.6L with outputs ranging from 100-hp to 180-hp. A new downsized 140-hp 1.4L Turbo replaces the 1.8L. The diesel lineup includes a range of CDTI turbo-diesel units with outputs ranging from 95-hp to 160-hp. Besides the lowest entry-level model, all 2010 Opel and Vauxall Astras are mated to a 6-speed transmission.
The design of the new 2010 Astra is inspired by the Opel Insignia. The exterior features of the car include all-new “wing and blade” design, Advanced Forward Lighting bi-xenon headlights and Opel’s FlexRide system. The interior features of the car include new Opel Eye front camera system, which recognizes road signs and warns drivers if they veer out of their lane.
Sales of the five-door Astra are expected to begin towards the end of 2009, while a four-door sedan, three-door hatch and a two-mode hybrid variant are expected to debut in 2010. No pricing and availability details have been announced yet.
General Motors has announced that the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox is expected to achieve 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway EPA ratings, which is better than original expectations (General Motors originally announced it to have 30 mpg highway and 21 mpg city). This new ratings are due to new 2.4-liter direct-injected EcoTec inline-four and front-wheel drive.
The car will also be available with all-wheel drive and 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine with 264 horsepower, which will get 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway in FWD trim.
Compared to its competitors the new Equinox is in fact the most efficient vehicles in its class. Honda CR-V gets 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway and the Toyota RAV4 returns at 22 mpg city and 28 highway mpg.
Chevrolet Equinox will start arriving in dealerships in June with a price starting at $23,185.
The ultimate fate of Saturn as an automotive brand remains uncertain, pending the outcome of the offers currently being made to buy it from a shrinking General Motors. One thing is certain though, it will not remain a part of GM. One of the primary reasons that Saturn is being disposed of is poor sales. There is, however, one exception to that sales record: hybrids. So far, Saturn has accounted for about a quarter of GM‘s sales of hybrids. Saturn also had the best CAFE numbers of any GM division, thanks to the absence of any full-size body-on-frame vehicles or fuel-thirsty V8 engines in brand showrooms.
Removing those sales from GM‘s total will likely have a negative impact on GM‘s overall CAFE numbers, at least in the short term. Looking more closely at the sales, though, shows that the automaker’s big two-mode hybrid trucks have been taking an increasingly large proportion of GM‘s hybrid sales over the course of 2008. The powertrain of the two-mode Saturn Vue will almost certainly be migrated to other GM vehicles such as the new Chevy Equinox and Cadillac SRX, helping the entire portfolio’s numbers as well. Another factor offsetting the loss of Saturn is the end of HUMMER and Pontiac, both of which have a number of lower mileage vehicles.
General Motors may be on life support, but the European operations at Opel and Vauxhall are still showing a 325-horsepower pulse. The latest signs of life come in the form of the hotted up Insignia variant shown above. In right-hand drive Vauxhall form, the super Insignia is badged as the VXR, while the left-hand steered continental version gets an OPC suffix. Regardless of the steering wheel position, all of the important Nürburgring-tuned bits are the same, and in this case, it appears to be another derivative of the technology that first appeared last year in the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X.
That means there is a turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 under hood, now with power boosted to 325 horsepower (from the 300 hp in the Saab and the Cadillac SRX). The 295 lb-ft of torque is fed through a six-speed manual gearbox, and out to all four wheels through a Haldex system with an electronic rear limited-slip differential. According to the automaker, acceleration to 62 mph comes up in 5.8 seconds, while an adaptive damping system and retuned suspension that sits 10 mm lower help the Insignia carry the speed through corners.
In news that will doubtlessly result in a chorus of “We told you so” forehead-slaps from critics who noted the arrival of the Pontiac G3 with disdain, word is that General Motors has a bumper crop of the Korean-built subcompacts sitting on its lots.
In the course of doing some research, writer Neal Boudette discovered that GM has 3,479 unsold G3 units clogging up its dealers and vacant lots. Combined with the knowledge that dealers sold just 141 units of the car in March (or one unit for every 19 of GM’s 2,700 Pontiac stores), that means that GM has a supply of these Chevrolet Aveo5 twins that will last them 617 days, meaning that if the automaker stopped building new units, they would still have a supply that would last them until December 16, 2010.
In all fairness, the G3 just came to market in February, and it often takes some time for a new model to take hold. It could well be that GM is planning a big marketing push for the car, but we’ve seen no evidence of this thus far, and in these cash-strapped days, it would appear that the General probably has bigger-margin fish to fry.
General Motors is expecting to add another SUV to its hybrid vehicle fleet, in this case wearing the Yukon’s top-level Denali trim. Till now there is not so much information to report here, as the Yukon Denali Hybrid will feature the same exact drivetrain that’s fitted to its siblings from The General, including the non-Denali Yukon. That means we’ll see a 6.0-liter Vortec V8 engine with 332 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque mated up with GM‘s sophisticated 2-Mode hybrid transmission. Expect EPA fuel economy ratings of 21 city, 22 highway for two-wheel drive models and 20/20 when equipped with four-wheel drive.
The hybrid Denali will make its debut at the New York Auto Show, joining the new-for-2010 GMC Terrain, which is based on the equally new Chevy Equinox. GM will debut a new 2.4-liter four cylinder engine in the Terrain and Equinox that will manage 30 mpg on the highway. Optional will be a 3.0-liter direct injected V6 that will get an estimated 18 city and 25 highway.