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GM FastLane:Hitting the Road

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Saab 9-7X

By Bob Lutz

GM Vice Chairman

I’m on the road this week, stopping in Phoenix for a media preview of our new fullsize pickups, the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra. Obviously, these are hugely important vehicles in our product portfolio, and we believe they are the most refined, powerful, capable and efficient pickups on the market. We know exactly what it takes to win in this segment, and we intend to deliver.

But it’s not going to stop there.

Our new cars and trucks continue to be the centerpiece of GM’s turnaround plan, a turnaround that is really taking hold. Our newest models continue to sell nicely, including the new fullsize SUVs; we now have more than a 70 percent share of that segment. The large utility segment actually grew 6 percent in September, largely driven by sales of our Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.

Other September highlights include a 45-percent growth spurt at Saab, driven by sales of the 9-3 and the 9-7X, and Cadillac sales that climbed by 22 percent. Hummer H3 sales were up 19 percent, helping the brand to enjoy a 10 percent retail hike versus a year ago.

And we will continue to be aggressive with our product assault, with frequent and wide-ranging launches. We’ll be in the traditional segments… we’ll be in emerging segments… high-volume, niche-market… you name it — we’ll be there.

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Saturn Outlook

Soon we’ll be launching vehicles like the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia, to be followed by the Buick Enclave. Then we’ll have the heavy-duty pickups and our fullsize SUV hybrid models next year. And our passenger car lineup will include an all-new Chevy Malibu and Cadillac CTS, which we’ll unveil in early 2007, and I personally can’t wait to get them out there, because they are really going to turn some heads with their styling.

And we’ll have a lot more to come after that, as well. Our work is far from done.

But to tell you the truth, it’s not just that we’re doing a lot of new cars and trucks… it’s the way we’re doing them!

Our new product development organization is more nimble, more efficient and more creative than it’s ever been before. In short, we expect a faster global portfolio turnover with less cost, allowing us to maximize profit on a global basis. And we expect a reduction in our architecture count over time of 50 percent as we introduce more converged architectures replacing the regional architectures we have today.

The lessons we learned in the development of our new pickups, for example, and the efficiencies we gained, are indicative of the success of our new product development structure, and that’s what we’ll carry forward and apply to future programs. And by the way, the entire program was moved forward 13 weeks, which is a Herculean task in itself.

We are making great progress in truly leveraging our global engineering resources, and we’re just going to get better at it. That’s one of the chief benefits of our streamline global product development organization.

That’s what I continue to tell the naysayers who claim we don’t have the product to compete with the imports, and that’s what I’ll say here. Our product lineup will take a backseat to no one.



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