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GM FastLane:Thanks for the Input

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By Ed Welburn

Vice President, Global Design

I want to take a minute to respond to some of you who were kind enough to send your thoughts on our Cadillac and Hummer announcements from South Africa.

First, I loved the passionate pleas for color in your comments. I'm delighted to see how many of you, too, are passionate about design! I've taken note of your requests for more colorful interiors using pale trim colors with light and dark combinations. You might take a look at the new Saturn Aura interior, which features Morocco Brown, or the GMC Acadia, a new crossover that uses warm colors in its interior. I assure you we are looking at all sorts of fabrics and materials to create an interior haven in your vehicles.

Others of you around the world asked why Cadillac hasn't yet come to you in South America and the Caribbean. It amazes me how "borderless" the passion for Cadillac is. I'll pass your enthusiasm along to the folks at Cadillac and Global Planning.

I would be remiss not to address those of you who voiced your concern about fuel efficiency and the environment. You must understand South Africa before you judge how appropriate H3 is for that country. The country has a fine road system, but also has many unpaved roads. Hummer is a perfect vehicle because of its on-road handling as well as its off-road capability. Off-roading is a very popular activity in South Africa and there is tremendous enthusiasm for this vehicle.

The Hummer H3 gets 19 mpg on the highway, which makes it competitive with other SUVs. This is a marked improvement over the fuel economy of the H1 and H2, and it's a further sign of GM's resolve to improve fuel efficiency in all of its car and truck segments. In 2007, GM will offer 23 models that get more than 30 mpg — that's more than any other automaker in the world. Our designers are trying to help improve fuel economy through aerodynamics and surfacing. Our engineering partners are offering more fuel saving solutions than any other company. GM vehicles around the globe are powered by hybrids, diesel fuel and E85 ethanol.

Your comments also held a very important debate about American jobs and the future of American manufacturing. The assembly plant I visited in South Africa will not displace a single American plant. Hummers will continue to be made in the U.S. for North American buyers. The African factory provides the added capacity we need to produce those vehicles for new, overseas markets to provide customers access to a product they want. A GM with multiple markets around the globe will be a stronger GM, one that can continue to support hundreds of thousands of American families, for generations to come.

It is important that you understand that Rick Wagoner and Bob Lutz recognize the importance of leadership in Design and support our efforts as a global design organization.

All of GM's designers, me included, want to contribute to helping GM grow and strengthen. We dream of the style renaissance you dream of, and not only because it will look great. American style — whether it's in our music, our architecture, or our automobiles — is strength, is optimism, is courage. In our studios, we talk a lot about how we can make GM an even greater company. We call it "Turnaround by Design.” I am privileged and honored to see what's happening behind our doors at GM Design. The turnaround is already in evidence.

Keep your ideas and your comments — and even your criticisms — coming. We're listening!



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