GM Buys Stake in Hybrid-Car Maker Bright Automotive

By Michelle Krebs August 3, 2010

General Motors confirmed Tuesday it has invested $5 million in Bright Automotive, a relatively new  entrepreneurial venture based in Indiana that is developing small highly fuel-efficient commercial vehicle.

Bright Automotive becomes the first beneficiary of GM's recently established $100 million venture capital fund intended to drive development of new fuel-efficient technologies.

The benefit to GM, which now owns an unspecified minority stake in Bright, is being involved with an "innovative start-up with a unique product and business-model concept," said GM Ventures President John Lauckner in a conference call Tuesday. GM will provide engines and transmissions to Bright and may gain a vehicle to sell against the Ford Transit Connect, which is available with electric power.

The deal gives Bright cash and star power to attract other investors to re-start development of its vehicle, originally set for launch in 2012. However, development was put on hold during the recent recession and financial crisis. No date has been given for the vehicle's debut. 


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