GM promises to “refresh, redesign or replace” car lineup by 2016

Apr 3, 2013

General Motors says the car and truck buying public will be seeing big changes in the next few years when we walk into a GM showroom.
GM’s North America Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens recently told analysts that the automaker will redesign, refresh or replace nearly 90 percent of its vehicles in the North American market between now and 2016.

Is this strategy a matter of blazing new trails, or playing catch-up with the competition?

This is a two-sided story. Starting this year with 2011 models, the federal government’s fuel-economy standards, which have sat frozen for years, are going to get a big-time thaw. It's the biggest change since the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) law was created in 1975.

The average fuel economy for cars must improve from the current 27.5 mpg, where it has been since 1990, to 37.8 mpg by 2016. The truck standard has to rise from 23.5 mpg to 28.8.

This means cars must improve by 37 percent, trucks by 23 percent. Combined, cars and trucks in 2016 should average 34.1 mpg, up 35 percent from the current 25.3 mpg, a jump of 5.1 percent per year.

So wouldn't this mean that every manufacturer has to “refresh, redesign or replace” their current models? Is the promise of a 90 percent refresh and redesign by GM any different from Chrysler, Ford or even Toyota and Honda?
Today we have the executive VP of research and chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research Sean McAlinden and independent auto analyst John Wolkonowicz.

They give us an forecast for GM for the 2013 year and an inside look at what the promises of "redesign, refresh, replace," really mean for the company, and what GM's competitors have been doing to revamp their brands.