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Portland, Oregon, United States
Automotive News reports that General Motors may slash production or ramp up discounts in order to deal with an oversupply of pickup trucks. GM currently has more than double the standard supply of pickups, and the vehicles are threatening to dampen the automaker's profits for 2013. Typically, automakers try to sustain a 60- to 75-day supply of vehicles, but GM is currently loaded with a 139-day supply, as of last month. At the end of November, the automaker was sitting on 245,853 units.
The manufacturer says that it will adjust production accordingly before laying any incentives on the profitable pickups. Even so, there's some concern that the inventory swell could hurt the roll-out of the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. GM actually began slowly stepping back production in August, but it's clear the company will take further action as it heads toward the end of the year and into the next. Analysts predict the automaker could reduce pickup manufacturing by nearly half in the first quarter of 2013.
That still may not be enough to keep GM from laying extra cash on the Silverado and GMC Sierra. While the company's incentive spending was down in November compared to the same month in 2011, both the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 saw double-digit percentage increases in sales last month while the Silverado and Sierra numbers slid compared to a year prior. Incentive spending could help move more trucks and add some balance to the GM inventory surge.
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, having stared at the Impala across the showroom floor for a year, gets nips and tucks all over inspired by its larger brother. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the base car will get a stop-start system and 23 city miles per gallon, 35 highway, each number representing a one-mpg improvement over the 2013 car. Output is 196 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.
Opt for the 2.0-liter turbo and, while power holds steady at 259 hp, torque goes up by 14 percent to a striking 295 lb-ft (a figure Chevy calls best in the class). The final details include newly programmed transmission shift points and faster shifts, for better engaging and enjoying the added power.
Looks-wise, the grille's been reshaped to be more in line with the new Chevrolet look, a narrower upper grille hovering over a larger lower grille.
When Mark Reuss was in LA recently, he sat down to have a few words with the scribes at the Los Angeles Times. When the issue of a hybrid Corvette came up, Reuss answered with "Don't laugh." The General Motors president is a complete fan of the possibility, calling it "attractive" and "really fun," believing it would improve GM expertise and that "people would love it."
Naturally, the president being supportive of an idea doesn't give indication that a hybrid Corvette is on the way. However, with supercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari giving hybrid tech a solid, if remote, place in the performance car world, the inexorable trickle-down of technology means we shouldn't be surprised if and when it does happen.
And now that we have that non-negative half-answer to a speculative question, it would be irresponsible for us not to commence rumormilling for the C8 Corvette. Taking Reuss at his word, the C8 will obviously be a hybrid with all-wheel-drive - the left side wheels driven with electric motors, the right side with the mid-mounted, four-cylinder diesel engine. With coefficient of drag of just .16, figure on a 0-to-60 mile-per-hour time of under 2 seconds and an all-electric range of something like 30 miles at top speed. Don't forget, folks, you read it here first.