As General Motors (GM) rolls out its new lineup starting this year, the automotive giant is set to answer the call for fuel-efficient, clean-engine vehicles. GM has certainly done its homework and is ready to unveil several powertrains in the near future including new hybrids, fuel cells, diesel engines, and high-tech gasoline engines. It has also promised a plug-in hybrid by 2010! The company hopes to increase service work at GM dealerships by introducing a new campaign to bring customers back to its garages for regular maintenance and increase its service techniques and reputation to create new loyal customers. With all the new technology rolling off the assembly line from GM, highly-trained automotive technicians will be an imperative piece to the success of the campaign.
Just three of every ten U.S. GM vehicle owners regularly take their vehicles to GM dealerships for maintenance work. The automotive manufacturer seeks to increase that to four in every ten. The company’s extended warranties on new and certified-used vehicles are sure to bring more work into the garages, but GM hopes to increase customer-pay work as well. CNW Marketing Research concludes that 86.1 percent of GM vehicle owners who visit GM garages on a regular basis are likely to purchase their next vehicle from the same dealership. Only 8.8 percent of GM vehicle owners who never take their vehicle to be serviced at GM garages are repeat buyers.
GM automotive technicians will have their hands full with the company’s new green lineup, and the trend will continue for many model years to come. GM’s latest models include several new alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles including hybrids, diesel engines, fuel cells, and performance-boosting, high-tech features. Technicians will have the great responsibility of keeping these vehicles on the road and must be able to address any issue that rolls into their garage.
GM’s new hybrid models are due to start debuting as early as this fall and include the 2008 Saturn Vue and Aura and the Chevrolet Malibu. All three vehicles will feature GM’s mild hybrid belt-alternator system which boosts fuel economy by 15 to 20 percent. The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon will also roll out onto GM dealership lots this fall, and both feature hybrid systems with 320 hp, 6.0 liter V-8s, and a four-speed automatic transmission with two electric motors. The hybrid system, which will also be featured in the 2009 Cadillac Escalade, is expected to increase fuel efficiency by 25 percent.
Lithium-ion batteries will power GM plug-in hybrid versions of the Saturn Vue and Aura and the Chevrolet Volt starting in 2010. The batteries would have a range of 40 miles and are said to maintain full performance for more than a decade. Lithium-ion technology would allow for recharging either by the car’s small combustion engine or from a regular electrical source. GM has estimated that the Volt will achieve the equivalent of 150 mpg during a 60-mile daily commute.
Diesel engines will also pop up in GM’s upcoming model years. The Hummer H2 and light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will be available with a new 310 hp, 4.5 liter, turbodiesel V-8. The diesel engines are expected to boost fuel economy by 25 to 30 percent.
GM will soon begin tests of its fuel cell technology using one hundred hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox crossovers. The Detroit automotive manufacturer expects to have fuel cell powertrains ready for mass production by 2010.
High-Tech Gasoline Engines
GM will release the new Cadillac CTS and STS this fall which feature GM’s gasoline direct-injection engines complete with 300 hp, 3.6 liter V-6s. The direct injection system reduces emissions, improves fuel economy, and heightens performance. GM hopes to produce 200,000 direct-injection engines by 2010.