General Motors is a U.S. automaker founded by William C. Durant, based in Detroit, Michigan, and is the world's second-largest automaker, as ranked by global unit sales for 2008.[1]

GM had led in global sales for 77 consecutive years (1931 to 2007), longer than any other automaker. It manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. GM employs 244,500 people around the world, and sold and serviced vehicles in some 140 countries.[1] On July 10, 2009, GM reported 88,000 U.S. employees, and announced plans to reduce its U.S. workforce to 68,000 by the end of 2009 due to economic conditions.[2] In 2008, 8.35 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Opel, Vauxhall, Holden, Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, Saturn and Wuling.[3]

Recent newsEdit

On July 10, 2009, a new entity, NGMCO Inc. purchased the ongoing operations and trademarks from GM.[4] The purchasing company in turn changed its name from NGMCO Inc. to General Motors Company, marking the emergence of a new operation from the "pre-packaged" Chapter 11 reorganization.[5][6][7] Under the reorganization process, termed a 363 sale (for Section 363 which is located in Title 11, Chapter 3, Subchapter IV of the United States Code, a part of the Bankruptcy Code), the purchaser of the assets of a company in bankruptcy proceedings is able to obtain approval for the purchase from the court prior to the submission of a re-organization plan, free of liens and other claims. It’s used in most Chapter 11 cases that involve a sale of property or other assets.[8][9][10][11] The new company plans to issue an initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2010.[12] The remaining pre-petition creditors claims are paid from assets of the Motors Liquidation Company, the new name of the former General Motors Corporation.[7][12] On July 10, 2009, GM announced plans to trim its U.S. workforce by 20,000 employees as part of its reorganization by the end of 2009 due to economic conditions.[13]


Main article: History of General Motors

Founding and early yearsEdit

General Motors Corporation was founded on September 16, 1908, in Flint, Michigan, as a holding company for Buick, then controlled by William C. Durant. It acquired Oldsmobile later that year. In 1909, Durant brought in Cadillac, Elmore, Oakland (later known as Pontiac) and several others. Also in 1909, General Motors acquired the Reliance Motor Truck Company of Owosso, Michigan, and the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, the predecessors of GMC Truck. Durant lost control of GM in 1910 to a bankers' trust, because of the large amount of debt taken on in its acquisitions coupled with a collapse in new vehicle sales. A few years later, Durant started the Chevrolet Motor car company and through this he secretly purchased a controlling interest in GM. Durant took back control of the company after one of the most dramatic proxy wars in American business history. Shortly after, he again lost control, this time for good, after the new vehicle market collapsed. Alfred Sloan was picked to take charge of the corporation and led it to its post war global dominance. This unprecedented growth of GM would last into the early 1980s when it employed 349,000 workers and operated 150 assembly plants.

2009 bankruptcy and corporate reorganizationEdit

In late 2008 GM, along with Chrysler, received loans from the American, Canadian, and Ontario governments to in order to bridge the late-2000s recession, record oil prices, and a severe global automotive sales decline (see also automotive industry crisis of 2008–2009) due to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. On February 20, 2009, GM's Saab division filed for reorganization in a Swedish court after being denied loans from the Swedish government.[14][15] General Motors Canada, 100% owned by GM,[16] On April 27, 2009, GM announced that it would phase out the Pontiac brand by the end of 2010 and focus on four core brands in North America: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC. It announced that the resolution (sale) of its Hummer, Saab, and Saturn brands would take place by the end of 2009. The company had previously cancelled Oldsmobile.

With the U.S. Treasury extending the necessary debtor in possession financing, a new GM company purchased the the operating assets of the old GM company in bankruptcy proceedings in the 'pre-packaged' Chapter 11 reorganization in July 2009.[17] As ranked by total assets, GM's reorganization marks one of the largest successful corporate Chapter 11 reorganizations in U.S. history. The bankruptcy was the fourth-largest in U.S. history, following Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Washington Mutual and WorldCom Inc.[18] Under the reorganization process, termed a 363 sale (for Section 363 which is located in Title 11, Chapter 3, Subchapter IV of the United States Code, a part of the Bankruptcy Code), the purchaser of the assets of a company in bankruptcy proceedings is able to obtain approval for the purchase from the court prior to the submission of a re-organization plan, free of liens and other claims. It’s used in most Chapter 11 cases that involve a sale of property or other assets.[8][9][10][11] The new company plans to issue an initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2010.[12] The remaining pre-petition creditors claims are paid from assets of the Motors Liquidation Company, the new name of the former General Motors Corporation.[7][12]

The New General MotorsEdit

A comparison (estimates) of the new and the old:[19]

Old GM   New GM
Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab, and Hummer Brands Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC
5,900 Dealerships 3,600
Common shareholders, bondholders, and secured creditors Ownership The U.S. and Canadian governments, and UAW union
47 Plants 34
$176 billion Debt $48 billion
91,000 US Employees 68,500

Company overviewEdit

In 2009, General Motors employs approximately 244,500 people around the world. General Motors' global headquarters is the Renaissance Center located in Detroit, Michigan, United States. In 2007, 9.35 million GM cars and trucks were produced in 19 different countries. GM is the majority shareholder in GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. of South Korea and has had many collaborations with the world's various automakers. This includes product, powertrain and purchasing collaborations with Suzuki Motor Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. of Japan, advanced technology collaborations with Toyota Corporation and BMW AG of Germany and vehicle manufacturing ventures with several of the world's automakers including Toyota, Suzuki, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. of China, AvtoVAZ of Russia, Renault SA of France, and most recently, UzAvtosanoa of Uzbekistan. GM also had collaborations with Fiat S.p.A (see GM/Fiat Premium platform) and Ford Motor Company. To this day, GM retains various stakes in many different automakers.

GM received loans from European governments in 2009, and has reduced its ownership stake in European operations as part of its reorganization."[20]

The domain name attracted at least 7 million visitors annually by 2008.[21]

GM worldwide vehicle sales by country 2008[22]
Ranking Country Vehicle
share (%)
Ranking Country Vehicle
share (%)
Flag of the United States United States 2,981 <center>22.1 <center>9 Template:AUS133 <center>13.1
<center>2 Template:CHN 1,095 <center>12.0 <center>10 Template:ROK 117 <center>9.7
<center>3 Template:BRA 549 <center>19.5 <center>11 Template:FRA 114 <center>4.4
<center>4 Template:UK 384 <center>15.4 <center>12 Template:ESP 107 <center>7.8
<center>5 Template:CAN 359 <center>21.4 <center>13 Template:ARG 95 <center>15.5
<center>6 Template:RUS 338 <center>11.1 <center>14 Template:VEN 91 <center>33.3
<center>7 Template:GER 300 <center>8.8 <center>15 Template:COL 80 <center>36.3
<center>8 Flag of Mexico Mexico 212 <center>19.8 <center>16 Template:IND 66 <center>3.3
Top 4 markets/regions by vehicle sales in 2008 (thousands)
<center>1 North America 3,552 <center>- <center>3 European Union 905 <center>-
<center>2 China 1,095 <center>- <center>4 South America 815 <center>-

Corporate governanceEdit

Current members of the board of Directors of General Motors are: Percy Barnevik, Erskine Bowles, John Bryan, Melissa Armando Codina, Erroll Davis, George Fisher, Mark Guildenstern, Karen Katen, Kent Kresa, Philip Laskawy, Kathryn V. Marinello, and Eckhard Pfeiffer.


Since 1996, General Motors has been the exclusive source of funding for Safe Kids USA's "Safe Kids Buckle Up" program, a national initiative to ensure child automobile safety through education and inspection.[23] Through 2002, the Pace Awards program led by GM, EDS, and SUN Microsystems, gave over $1.2 billion of in-kind contributions which includes computers to over 18 universities to support engineering education.[24] In 2009, the GM led group has helped the Pace Awards program worldwide.[25] General Motors is a leading contributor to charity. In 2004, GM gave $51,200,000 in cash contributions and $17,200,000 in-kind donations to charitable causes.[26]

U.S. sales figuresEdit

Calendar Year Total U.S. sales Chg/yr.
2001[27] 4,904,015
2002 4,858,705 −0.9%
2003 4,756,403 −2.1%
2004[28] 4,707,416 −1.0%
2005 4,517,730 −4.0%
2006[29] 4,124,645 −8.7%
2007 3,866,620 −6.3%
2008[30] 2,980,688 −22.9%


See also: List of GM factories General Motors is structured into the following operating groups:

Group Number of Employees
September 2008
GMAP (GM Asia-Pacific) 35,000
GME (GM Europe) 56,000
GM LAAM (GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East) 36,000
GMNA (GM North America) 123,000
GMAC (GM Acceptance Corporation – finance and insurance services)
SPO (Service, Parts and Operations)
Other operations 2,000
Total number of employees 252,000

21st centuryEdit

In the late 1990s, the U.S. economy was on the rise and GM and Ford gained market share producing enormous profits primarily from the sale of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles. From June 1999 to September 2000, the Federal Reserve in a move to quell the stock market, made successive interest rate increases, credited in part for "plunging the country into a recession."[32][33] Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, a severe stock market decline caused a pension and benefit fund underfunding crisis. GM began its Keep America Rolling campaign, which boosted sales, and other auto makers were forced to follow suit. The U.S. automakers saw sales increase to leverage costs as gross margins deteriorated. Although retiree health care costs remain a significant issue, General Motors' investment strategy has generated a $17.1 billion surplus in 2007 in its $101 billion U.S. pension fund portfolio, a $35 billion reversal from its $17.8 billion of underfunding.[34]

In 2004, GM redirected resources from the development of new sedans to an accelerated refurbishment of their light trucks and SUVs for introduction as 2007 models in early 2006. Shortly after this decision, fuel prices increased by over 50% and this in turn affected both the trade-in value of used vehicles and the perceived desirability of new offerings in these market segments. The current marketing plan is to tout these revised vehicles extensively as offering the best fuel economy in their class (of vehicle). GM claims its hybrid trucks will have gas-mileage improvements of 25%.

In the middle of 2005, GM announced that its corporate chrome emblem "Mark of Excellence" will begin appearing on all recently introduced and all-new 2006 model vehicles produced and sold in North America. In 2005, GM promoted sales through an employee discount to all buyers. Marketed as the lowest possible price, GM cleared an inventory buildup of 2005 models to make way for its 2006 lineup.

Core brand focusEdit

GM will focus primarily on its four core brands—Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC—while selling, discontinuing, or scaling back its other brands. GM announced plans to sell its iconic Hummer brand of premium off-road vehicles to a Chinese company, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company. The Hummer H2 led the 2009 list of "meanest vehicles for the environment," which is part of the annual "Green Book" produced by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The White House characterized the GM restructuring as a shift toward a new leaner, greener GM, which will aim to break even with annual sales of 10 million cars. GM previously had to sell more than 16 million vehicles per year to break even. President Obama declared that the restructuring "will mark the end of an old GM, and the beginning of a new GM; a new GM that can produce the high-quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow; that can lead America towards an energy independent future; and that is once more a symbol of America's success."[35]
Note: The above makes reference to annual break-even sales volumes, but the figures quoted as GM sales are, in fact, total U.S. industry sales volumes.[36]

SUV salesEdit

In 2008, rapidly rising gas prices resulted in a 30% drop-off of sales of SUVs. These had been GM's most profitable product, often returning profits of $10,000 to $15,000 per vehicle. Sales of SUVs had been decreasing since 2004, and in May 2008, a $2 billion investment program for a new SUV platform, the CXX program, was canceled.[37] During the first 6 months of 2008, GM lost $18.8 billion; by late October, its stock had dropped 76%, and it was considering a merger with Chrysler. In only 12 months (October 2007-2008), GM sales in the US dropped 45 percent.[38] GM's concentration on SUVs as a profit center dated from the 1990s.[39]

On Tuesday, December 23, 2008, the Janesville, Wisconsin plant, which produced the Chevrolet Tahoe, the Suburban, and the GMC Yukon, and the Moraine, Ohio plant which produced the Chevrolet Blazer and the GMC Envoy, closed permanently. This left General Motors with only one factory (in Arlington, Texas) producing SUVs.[40]

Small car sales Edit

"As part of General Motors Company (GM)'s restructuring, it plans to revive one of its idled U.S. factories for the production of a small car (the factories under consideration included one in or near the Pontiac and Orion Township areas of Michigan, one in Wisconsin, and one in Tennessee; the factory in Michigan was ultimately selected to be revived, but only 1,200 out of a former 3,400 jobs will be left). The new small car will add to a group of small and fuel-efficient vehicles that the company is planning to roll out in the near future. The retooled plant will be capable of building 160,000 cars annually, including both small and compact vehicles. As part of its restructuring, GM will sell its iconic Hummer brand."[41]

In ChinaEdit

General Motors is the best selling foreign auto maker in China.[42] The Buick brand is especially strong, led by the Buick Excelle subcompact. Cadillac initiated sales in China in 2004, starting with imports from the United States. GM pushed the marketing of the Chevrolet brand in China in 2005 as well, moving the former Buick Sail to that marque. The company manufactures most of its China-market vehicles locally, through its Shanghai GM joint venture. Shanghai GM, a joint venture between the Chinese company SAIC and General Motors, was created on March 25, 1997. The Shanghai GM plant was opened December 15, 1998, when the first Chinese-built Buick came off the assembly line. The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint-venture is also successful selling trucks and vans under the Wuling marque (34% belongs to GM).

GM plans to create a research facility in Shanghai for $250m to develop hybrid cars and alternative energy vehicles.


In March 2005, the Government of Canada provided C$200 million in incentives to General Motors for its Ontario plants to expand production and provide jobs, according to Jim Harris. Template:Citation needed Similar incentives were promised to non-North American auto companies like Toyota; Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the money the province and Ottawa are pledging for the project is well-spent.[43]

Labor relationsEdit

Main article: 2007 General Motors strike On September 24, 2007 General Motors workers represented by the United Auto Workers union went on the first nationwide strike against GM since 1970. The ripple effect of the strike reached into Canada the following day as two car assembly plants and a transmission facility were forced to close. Overnight a tentative agreement was reached, however, and UAW officials declared the end of the strike in a news conference at 4 a.m. on September 26. By the following day, all GM workers in both countries were back to work.

A new labor contract was ratified by UAW members exactly one week after the tentative agreement was reached, passing by a majority 62% vote. In the contract are several product and employment guarantees stretching well into the next decade. One of GM's key future products, the Chevy Volt, was promised to the GM Poletown/Detroit-Hamtramck plant in 2010. Also included is a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association) which will transfer retiree health care obligations to the UAW by 2010. This eliminates more than $50 billion from GM's healthcare tab. It will be funded by $30 billion in cash and $1.4 billion in GM stock paid to the UAW over the next four years of the contract. It also eliminates 70% of the labor cost gap with GM's Japanese rivals.

A strike at American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. will result in lost production of an additional 230,000 vehicles in the second quarter, with an estimated $1.8 billion impact on earnings before tax, and a total strike cost of $2.81 billion. [44]

Together with the United Auto Workers, GM created a joint venture dedicated to the quality of life needs of employees in 1985. The UAW-GM Center for human resources in Detroit is dedicated to providing GM salaried employees and GM UAW members programs and services related to medical care, diversity issues, education, training and tuition assistance, as well as programs related to work and family concerns, in addition to the traditional union-employer health and safety partnership.[45]

2008 Canadian Auto Workers bargainingEdit

In an unusual move, GM Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union ratified a new collective bargaining contract in May 2008, four months before the expiration of the existing contract. As part of the agreement, among other production commitments, GM pledged to maintain production at the Oshawa, Ontario pickup truck plant. Less than three weeks later, GM announced that rising gasoline prices and falling truck sales made it necessary to close certain truck and SUV plants, including the Oshawa pickup plant.[46] In response, CAW members staged a 12-day blockade of the GM Canada headquarters. After further discussions with the CAW, GM agreed to compensate workers at the truck plant, as well as making product commitments for the Oshawa car assembly plant.[47]

Labor costsEdit

GM has announced elimination of lifetime health benefits for about 100,000 of its white collar retirees at the end of 2008.[48]

Auto racingEdit

General Motors has an extensive history in numerous forms of racing. Vehicles of most, if not all, of GM's brands have been represented in competition, with perhaps Chevrolet being the most prominent. In particular, the Chevrolet Corvette has long been popular and successful in international road racing. GM also is a supplier of racing components, such as engines, transmissions, and electronics equipments.

GM's Oldsmobile Aurora engine platform was successful in the Indy Racing League (IRL) throughout the 1990s, winning many races in the small V-8 class. GM has also done much work in the development of electronics for GM auto racing. An unmodified Aurora V-8 in the Aerotech, captured 47 world records, including the record for speed endurance in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Recently, the Cadillac V-Series has entered motorsports racing. GM has also used many cars in the American racing series NASCAR. Currently the Chevrolet Impala is the only entry in the series but in the past the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Lumina, Chevrolet Malibu, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo were also used.

In touring cars (mainly in Europe), Vauxhall is a key player and former champion in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) series and competes with a Vauxhall Vectra in Super 2000 spec, although have announced plans to withdraw at the end of 2009. Opel used to participate in the DTM series and also in the 1980s in the World Rally Championship and other Rally Series with Group B Spec Opel Manta's before this category of Rallying was banned. Chevrolet competes with a Chevrolet Cruze in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). Tempus Sport and RML also complete with a privately run Lacetti in the BTCC.

In Australia, there is the prestigious V8 Supercar Championship which is battled out by the two main rivals of Holden and Ford. The current Holden Racing Team cars are based on the Holden Commodore and run a 5.0-litre V8-cylinder engine producing Template:Convert. These cars have a top speed of Template:Convert and run 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. The Holden Racing Team is Australia's most successful team in Australian Touring Car History. In 2007, the Drivers championship was won by the very closely linked HSV Dealer Team.

Environmental initiativesEdit

The company has long worked on alternative-technology vehicles, and has recently led the industry with ethanol burning flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on either E85 (ethanol) or gasoline. The company was the first to use turbochargers and was an early proponent of V6 engines in the 1960s, but quickly lost interest as the muscle car race took hold. They demonstrated[49] gas turbine vehicles powered by kerosene, an area of interest throughout the industry, but abandoned the alternative engine configuration in view of the 1973 oil crisis. In the 1970s and 1980s, GM pushed the benefits of diesel engines and cylinder deactivation technologies with disastrous results due to poor durability in the Oldsmobile diesels and drivability issues in the Cadillac V8-6-4 variable cylinder engines. In 1987, GM, in conjunction with Aerovironment, built the Sunraycer, which won the inaugural World Solar Challenge and was a showcase of advanced technology. Much of the technology from Sunraycer found its way into the Impact prototype electric vehicle (also built by Aerovironment) and was the predecessor to the EV1.

GM supported a compromise version of the CAFE standard increase from Template:Convert to Template:Convert, the first such increase in over 20 years.[50]

Hybrid electric initiativeEdit

Main articles: Plug-in hybrid and Chevrolet Volt

In May 2004, GM delivered the world's first full sized hybrid pickups, the 1/2-ton Silverado/Sierra. These hybrids did not use electrical energy for propulsion, like GM's later designs. In 2005, the Opel Astra diesel Hybrid concept vehicle was introduced. The 2006 Saturn Vue Green Line was the first hybrid passenger vehicle from GM and is also a mild design. GM has hinted at new hybrid technologies to be employed that will be optimized for higher speeds in freeway driving.

GM currently offers two types of hybrid systems. The first type, used in the Saturn Vue, Saturn Aura, and Chevrolet Malibu, is what GM calls the BAS Hybrid system a type of mild hybrid which was canceled in 2009. The second hybrid drive system, co-developed with DaimlerChrysler and BMW, is called a "Two-Mode Hybrid." The two-mode is used by the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and will later be used on the Saturn Vue (cancelled), Cadillac Escalade, GM 1/2-ton pickups and possibly other vehicles.[51]

GM's current hybrid electric models:

GM has recently introduced the concept cars Chevrolet Volt and Opel Flextreme, which are electric vehicles with back-up generators, powered by gasoline, E85, or fuel cells. According to GM, a production Chevrolet Volt will be available by late 2010 as a 2011 model.

The GM Magic Bus is a hybrid powered bus.[52]

GM sold 843 hybrids of all types during the first quarter of 2008, according to the industry newspaper Automotive News. Compare that with Ford, which sold 5,225 hybrids during that time. CSM Worldwide, expects GM to seriously increase its hybrid output, turning the automaker into a serious contender within the next few years. He expects it to produce 40,000 to 50,000 hybrids this year, more than doubling last year's production.[53]

All-electric vehiclesEdit

Main article: General Motors EV1

GM was the first company to release an all-electric vehicle. In 1990, GM debuted the revolutionary "Impact" concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was the first car with zero-emissions marketed in the US in over three decades. The Impact was eventually produced as the EV1 for the 1996 model year. It was available through dealers located in only a few regions (e.g., California, Arizona, Georgia). Vehicles were leased, rather than sold, to individuals. In 2003 GM decided to cease production of the vehicles.

On September 16, 2008, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, GM unveiled the "production" version of the Chevrolet Volt at the GM headquarters in Detroit.[54]

General Motors has announced that it is building a prototype two-seat electric vehicle with Segway. An early prototype of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle—dubbed Project P.U.M.A. -- will be shown off in New York a day ahead of the press previews for the 2009 New York International Auto Show.[55]

Battery packs for electric vehiclesEdit

GM will build battery packs with LG Chem in Michigan. GM also plans to build an automotive battery laboratory in Michigan.[56] GM will take full responsibility for all the battery management systems and power electronics. The company will build a new factory in Michigan, but a specific site has yet to be announced, in part because negotiations are ongoing with state and local authorities on the usual financial incentives and approvals. LG Chem's US subsidiary, Compact Power of Troy, Michigan, has been building the prototype packs for the development vehicles and will continue to provide integration support and act as a liaison for the program.

Hydrogen initiativeEdit

GM has prided its research and prototype development of hydrogen powered vehicles, to be produced in early 2010, using a support infrastructure still in a prototype state. The economic feasibility of the technically challenging hydrogen car, and the low-cost production of hydrogen to fuel it, has also been discussed by other automobile manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler.

In June 2007, Larry Burns, vice president of research and development, said he's not yet willing to say exactly when hydrogen vehicles will be mass produced, but he said it should happen before 2020, the year many experts have predicted. He said "I sure would be disappointed if we weren't there" before 2020.[57]

Flexible-fuel vehiclesEdit

North American marketEdit

GM produces several flexible-fuel vehicles that can operate on E85 ethanol fuel or gasoline, or any blend of both. Since 2006 GM started featuring a bright yellow gas cap to remind drivers of the E85 capabilities,[58][59][60][61] and also using badging with the text "Flexfuel/E85 Ethanol" to clearly mark the car as an E85 FFV.[62][63]

GM is the North American leader in E85 flex fuel vehicles, with over 3 million FlexFuel vehicles on the road in the U.S. As of 2009, GM offers 18 ethanol-enabled FlexFuel cars and trucks in the US, and produce more than one million new FlexFuel vehicles. GM's goal is to have half of their annual vehicle production be E85 or biodiesel capable by 2012.[64]

Despite the significant amount of flex fuel vehicles sold in the US and Canada, the percentage of users actually using ethanol has been very low as many owners are not aware they owned an E85 flex or not enough E85 fueling stations are available nearby, except for the Corn Belt states, where there is a great concentration of E85 stations, as most corn ethanol is produced there.[65][66] A 2005 survey found that 68% of American flex-fuel car owners were not aware they owned an E85 flex.[67] Several critics have argued that GM and the other American automakers have been producing E85 flex models motivated by a loophole in the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements, that allows for a fuel economy credit for every flex-fuel vehicle sold, whether or not in practice these vehicles are fueled with E85.[66][68][69] This loophole might have allowed the car industry to meet the CAFE targets in fuel economy just by spending between USD 100 to USD 200 that it cost to turn a conventional vehicle into a flex-fuel, without investing in new technology to improve fuel economy, and saving them the potential fines for not achieving that standard in a given model year.[68][70]

Brazilian marketEdit

GM's largest overseas subsidiary is General Motors do Brasil, which started producing flexible-fuel vehicles since its inception in the Brazilian market in 2003. Like other Brazilian flex-fuel vehicles, GM's flex fuel cars and light-duty trucks are optimized to run on any mix of E20-E25 gasoline and up to 100% hydrous ethanol fuel (E100).[67] GM launched its first flex fuel in June 2003, the Chevrolet Corsa 1.8 FlexPower, just two months after the first flex car was launched by another Brazilian carmaker.[71][72]

GM do Brasil also introduced the MultiPower engine in August 2004, which was capable of using natural gas (CNG), ethanol and gasoline (E20-E25 blend) as fuel, and it was used in the multifuel Chevrolet Astra 2.0 model 2005, aimed at the local taxi cab market.[73][74] The Brazilian GM Powertrain unit also developed the EconoFlex technology, used for the first time in the Chevrolet Prisma 1.4, which allows the flex fuel engine to maximize fuel economy and power.[75]

Due to the success and rapid consumer acceptance of the flex versions, GM sold 192,613 flex vehicles and 135,636 gasoline-powered automobiles in 2005,[76] jumping to 501,681 flex-fuel vehicles, while only 949 cars and 6,834 light trucks powered by gasoline were sold in 2007,[77] and reaching new car sales of 535.454 flex fuels in 2008, representing 97 percent of all cars and light duty trucks sold in that year.[78]


In the 2008 election cycle, General Motors contributed $802,414, with 52% of that amount going to the Democrats and 48% to the Republicans.[79] GM's Saturn division put up a display at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show congratulating Barack Obama on his election as the first African-American president of the United States.[80]

Environmental issuesEdit

In the middle of 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed Template:Convert of contaminated sediments and soil from the General Motors site in Massena, New York for disposal at a licensed facility in Utah. The amount contained Template:Convert of contaminated sediments dredged from the St. Lawrence River. The sediments had been stored on the site since 1995. There was also Template:Convert of contaminated sludge from the active wastewater treatment plant on the General Motors property.[81] General Motors was ranked 20th in the 2002 Toxic 100. The company released 12,771,830 pounds of gases in the year 2002.

In September 2006, the state of California filed suit against General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and Ford. The companies were accused of producing cars that emitted over 289 million metric tons of carbon per year in the United States, accounting for nearly 20% of carbon emissions in the United States and 30% of carbon emissions in California. This lawsuit was dismissed by a judge in September 2007.[82]

The Union of Concerned Scientists ranked General Motors as sixth among the top eight manufacturers in terms of environmental impact. The company offers the most cars getting Template:Convert or better, and also sells vehicles getting under Template:Convert.[83]

See alsoEdit


Books and filmsEdit

  • Final Offer – A documentary film that shows the 1984 GM contract negotiations, that would result in the union split of the Canadian arm of the UAW.
  • Roger & Me – the first movie by filmmaker Michael Moore. The film criticizes General Motors for closing down its factories in Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan, despite record profits. After Flint residents lose their many jobs at GM, Moore claims the town descends into economic chaos.
  • Who Killed the Electric Car? – A documentary film charting GM's launch, then alleged self-sabotage of the electric car EV1.
  • General Motors is mentioned several times in Wheels a novel by Arthur Hailey

Active brands (as of 2009)Edit

Defunct brandsEdit

Sold brandsEdit

Brands in the process of being soldEdit

  • Saturn (1985–2009) (ongoing process)
  • Hummer (1992–2009) (ongoing process)
  • Saab Automobile (1989–2009) (ongoing process)
  • Opel (1929–2009) (ongoing process)
  • Vauxhall (1925–2009) (ongoing process)

Former affiliatesEdit



Industry associationsEdit




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Further readingEdit

  • Barabba, Vincent P. Surviving Transformation: Lessons from GM's Surprising Turnaround (2004)
  • Chandler, Alfred D., Jr., ed. Giant Enterprise: Ford, General Motors, and the Automobile Industry 1964.
  • Cray, Ed. Chrome Colossus: General Motors and Its Times. 1980.
  • Farber, David. Sloan Rules: Alfred P. Sloan and the Triumph of General Motors U of Chicago Press 2002
  • Gustin, Lawrence R. Billy Durant: Creator of General Motors, 1973.
  • Halberstam, David. The Reckoning (1986) detailed reporting on the crises of 1973 – mid 1980s
  • Keller, Maryann. Rude Awakening: The Rise, Fall, and Struggle for Recovery of General Motors, 1989.
  • Leslie, Stuart W. Boss Kettering: Wizard of General Motors Columbia University Press, 1983.
  • Maxton, Graeme P. and John Wormald, Time for a Model Change: Re-engineering the Global Automotive Industry (2004)
  • Maynard, Micheline. The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market (2003)
  • Pelfrey, William. Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The Story of Two Unique Men, a Legendary Company, and a Remarkable Time in American History (2006)
  • Rae, John B. The American Automobile: A Brief History. University of Chicago Press, 1965.
  • Sloan, Alfred P., Jr. My Years with General Motors, 1963.
  • Weisberger, Bernard A. The Dream Maker: William C. Durant, Founder of General Motors, 1979

External linksEdit

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