This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 27, 2008

GM to Spend $500 Million to Launch the Chevy Cruze, a New Small Car

Photo of a small four-door sedan

GM recently unveiled a full-scale model of the new Chevrolet Cruze, but the real thing will be on display at the Paris Motor Show in October. Enlarge this image.
Credit: David A. DeNoma ©GM Corp.

The fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cruze compact car is coming to the United States, and General Motors Corporation (GM) is investing more than $350 million in its Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant to make it happen. The company will also spend $150 million to launch the new car in the United States, bringing its total investment to $500 million. The Cruze is a "global compact car," meaning GM plans to sell similar versions of the vehicle in a number of global markets. Sales of the Chevy Cruze start in Europe and Asia Pacific next year, but GM has not yet announced a U.S. launch date. For now, anyone looking to see the real thing would have to travel to Paris, France, where the vehicle will debut when the Paris Motor Show starts on October 4. See the GM press releases on the Chevy Cruze and GM's $500 million investment.

Meanwhile, GM is launching "XFE" versions of its full-size pickups and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), including the 2009 Chevy Silverado, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra, and GMC Yukon. XFE stands for "Xtra Fuel Economy," and the vehicles include a number of mechanical, aerodynamic, and mass-reducing enhancements to deliver a 5% increase in highway fuel economy and a more than 7% improvement in city fuel economy. They are powered by a 5.3-liter FlexFuel V-8 engine, built with a cylinder block and heads made from lightweight aluminum, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The vehicles also feature lightweight aluminum wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires, and aluminum lower control arms on their suspensions. See the GM press release.

GM is also developing the Chevrolet Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid with a production target date of 2010. The company has launched a new media Web site for the Volt, including the first "teaser" photos of the production vehicle: a close-up of the rear-end badging and a close-up of the left front end. The photos mainly reveal that the headlights will be less squinty than on the concept vehicle, the air intakes on the grill and near the fog and turn lights have been eliminated, and the "Volt" badge will have a lightning bolt through its "V." The wheels also appear smaller than on the concept vehicle, and the leading edge of the front door appears to be much closer to the front tire. Aficionados will have to wait a bit longer for more design details. See the Chevy Volt Web site and compare the new front end photo with the original concept vehicle photo.