Corvette Safe in GM RestructuringBy Bill Visnic May 11, 2009
By Bill Visnic
Anything and everything in General Motors Corp.'s multinational manufacturing empire is under scrutiny as the company approaches a June 1 deadline to present the U.S. Treasury Dept. with a new restructuring plan, but GM CEO Fritz Henderson today issued reassurance the high-performance (but not entirely politically correct) Corvette is going to be a part of the "new" GM's future.
Rumors and speculation about the Corvette's future in a drastically downsized -- and presumably more environmentally progressive -- GM have circulated for some time, but in a public webchat at GM's FastLane blog Monday, Henderson said the Corvette is "one of our strongest (if not our strongest ) nameplates in the entire GM lineup. We intend to keep this car fresh and in a segment-leading position."
Henderson also reiterated a phrase GM has used recently in defending the Corvette's business case against potential attention from Treasury Dept. pencil-pushers, insisting the low-volume two-seater "pays the rent in terms of profitability and cash flow.
"I also own one love it," Henderson added, saying that in addition to the 'Vette, the Henderson garage is occupied by his wife's Saab 9-3 convertible and a Malibu for his daughter. He said he also currently is driving a Chevy Camaro.
Henderson also had guidance for a questioner ready to trade a Toyota Prius and wondering why he should wait a year-and-a-half for the showroom appearance of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.
"I would love to take you out of your Prius," Henderson wrote. "So why wait for the Volt? The car will be beautiful, a great driving experience, and if you commute less than 40 miles per day, the car should deliver a totally electric experience to the owner without using any gas at all."
GM's CEO said the company will give more detail about assembly-plant closings later this month, and effectively confirmed there will be more vetting of its white-collar workers. In answering a question about future cuts in salaried-employee ranks, he wrote:
"We need to take further measures in this area to lean out our management structure and simplify the work of our salaried workforce, which will mean we need further moves." As with the information regarding plant closings, Henderson said GM will say more by the end of May about salaried-worker reductions.
1. Chevrolet Corvette. (Courtesy of General Motors Corp.)
2. GM CEO Fritz Henderson. (Courtesy of General Motors Corp.)
3. Chevrolet Volt is scheduled for showrooms late next year. (Courtesy of General Motors Corp.)