AD #2485 – GM’s Massive Restructuring Plan, Rivian Reveals Its First EV, Mercedes Adds Human Element to Autonomy

November 27th, 2018 at 11:32am

Follow us on social media:

Instagram Twitter Facebook

Runtime: 7:50

0:25 GM’s Massive Restructuring Plans
1:41 GM’s Powerful Bargaining Chip
2:32 FCA Considers Selling Robotics Unit
3:29 Fiat 500X Gets a Facelift
4:10 Rivian Reveals Its First EV
5:30 Autonomous Volvo’s Mine Limestone
6:17 Mercedes Adds Human Element to Autonomy

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone , Dow Automotive Systems , Lear Corporation , and ExxonMobil.

»Subscribe to Podcast |

5661 rss-logo-png-image-68050 stitcher-icon youtube-logo-icon-65475

Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website:

39 Comments to “AD #2485 – GM’s Massive Restructuring Plan, Rivian Reveals Its First EV, Mercedes Adds Human Element to Autonomy”

  1. David Sprowl Says:

    I think that GM’s bet on scaring workings into lower wages is not as strong as AD suggest. We’ll see. knowing that GM needs and wants to build new auto’s they have to build them somewhere or fold. My take on this and Ford’s action is that OEMs see the promise of data mining as a way to steep profits. Google and Apple have a huge slice of that market. OEMs are signaling that lower auto sales are a trend they can not buck. Profits have to be found somewhere. not only will Apple and Google keep track of your every movement, and Amazon knows what you buy, Facebook knows the rest, OEMs are going to cash in on this data as well. Worried about your 4th amendment rights? Don’t bother private enterprise has that covered and you and I will pay for the privilege of having them spy on your EVERY movement.

    Rivian – looks interesting.

  2. Barry Says:

    Do you know who the backers of Rivian are?

  3. Lambo2015 Says:

    Sean I’m not sure I would say that the Volvo mining Truck is simpler autonomy. I mean operating on a construction site that is most likely not a designated road with no edge lines or curbs. Its dusty and dirty and will likely need to get loaded in an ever changing environment and location. So simpler in the obstacles it may encounter but sounds like it has other challenges that I haven’t seen a AV navigate.

  4. WineGeek Says:

    What should be added to the Fiat 500X is reliability. If they made a vehicle that was less prone to drive itself to the dealer for repair they might sell more. The old adage “Fix It Again Tony” is still so true what a shame that the second (or third) time around they can’t get it right or even close.

  5. motorman Says:

    GM hooked it wagon to the Obama star of global warming because of the bailout and now it is going to be stuck with lots of EVs that are going to turn to rust on the dealers lots. Don’t look for Trump to extend the tax rebates on EVs after GM did this.

  6. wmb Says:

    Certainly the right vehicle at just the right time, but I am a little suspect when they show images of electric SUV’s (and now trucks) going off on camping adventures into great unknown. What if the occupants get lost in the forrest/wilderness/wooded place and the run out of power/electrical fuel? While this has happen to great effect with vehicles with internal combustion engines for the life of this species, but even way in the middle of nowhere, one is much more likely to stumble upon a fueling station for an ICE equipped transportation the an EV. I’m not hating on EV’s, I for one think their time has come and more competition is better for the consumer! Yet those types of scenes and images, IMHO, seem a little disingenuous regarding the current state of the refueling network needed to support those types of adventures. Growing pains? Yes, but the future is a bright one! 

  7. Larry D. Says:

    Autonomous vehicles are so NOT ready for prime time, not only can’t they do a decent job in really bad weather, they apparently get confused even when an insignificant little rain falls!

    Maybe you plan to do a segment on this tomorrow, to break the monotony of all the glowing pieces about AVs in this show?

  8. Bob Wilson Says:

    AAA claims they have EV charger equipped road service vehicles but I don’t know if they have just the one in the photo. Usual practice is to tow the whole vehicle.

  9. Larry D. Says:

    GM’s so-called plan? They have no clue. GM and Ford are just APING FCA, who decided early on to cut its losses and focus on the models that are profitable for it (except the infernal Fiats and Alfas, of course). But, Unlike Ford and GM, Chrysler has ICONIC JEEP, a WORLD-wide successful brand, with wildly successful US sales and a “cult” following all over the world. What does GM have, besides the few Corvettes it sells?

    GM went from “General Mediocrity” before its bankruptcy, to the “new GM” post-bankruptcy, which I call “GMC”, like “General Managerial Confusion”.

    They have NO plan. They have capitulated like the French in WW II to the imports. Surrender Monkeys indeed!

    Who will benefit from all 3 domestics abandoning cars? Not GM.

    Honda and Toyota, deservedly so. VW and Mazda, to a much lesser extent. Troubled Nissan and its worthless junk, undeservedly so.

    Any American who wants to buy a “Made in Detroit” car will have NO Options any more in a couple years. Unless, of course, truck sales fizzle and the 3 do an 180 all over again…

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like Rivian is playing the Tesla game, taking $1000 deposits to pre-order a vehicle that will/might be built 2 years from now.

    To me, the best use of that Rivian pickup would be as a work vehicle, where range is enough for one day’s work, and it can be charged overnight.

    I’ve been reading about the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, and I didn’t know much about about circumstances of its construction. I had thought is was, basically, on the site of the old “Dodge Main” from the early 20th century, but the GM facility is much larger, and ~1500 homes and other buildings were condemned by eminent domain to build it.

  11. Larry D. Says:

    I don’t have access to the overpaid geniuses at either GM or Ford (I am talking CEOS, not decent engineers), but if one has, please ask them these questions for me:

    WHY can’t you make a superior car like Honda and Toyota can and have?

    WHY did Honda and Toyota still make millions of sedans, compact and mid-sized, in the US every year, at a profit? Why can’t you, playing AT HOME? Is it only the UAW’s fault?

    Why do you try so hard to please the hedge fund managers on Wall Street and not have a LONG TERM Plan for success that you can ARTICULATE?

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 I thought Hyundai/Kia was selling cars fairly well, and would benefit from the domestics abandoning cars, but they didn’t have even one model in the top 20 through July, 2018. I didn’t realize they were doing that poorly.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Why are FCA refreshing the Fiat 500X, rather than just dropping it? It is on track to sell about 5000 units for 2018. I don’t think the need of a smaller engine is what has kept buyers away.

  14. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I’m not ready to condemn GM’s plan yet (as they really haven’t revealed much). I don’t really care for what I’ve heard, read and seen so far but let’s see what happens. We also don’t know how Ford is going to make out by abandoning cars (though we all seem to think they also are on a road to oblivion); again, wait and see, and as we aren’t privy to inside information, all we have is conjecture.

  15. Larry D. Says:

    13 Why? What does the “F” in FCA stand for? Fiat. They would not admit defeat. ALL their US models sold terribly and they lost billions. the same will happen, if it has not yet happened, with Alfa. AND it has happened before, and ultimately they left the US market then too.

    BTW, 1. They sell 5,000 in the US market, maybe they do well enough in the rest of the world so they could afford to refresh it for those markets, and the US gets the refresh at no extra cost.

    and 2, John Mc Elroy in a recent AAH has mentioned this, but ALSO thought that BMW also is losing millions on the MINI but it has no plans to drop it.

    Many models exist for the sole reason that some VP with influence at the company, who has the ear of the CEO, is in charge of that model, and even if the model has dismal sales and is a total POS, it is kept alive for non-economic reasons, in fact for no valid reason.

  16. Lex Says:

    I just saw a video on the New Honda Passport and it looks just like I described it here on AutoLine Daily a long time ago. It is the front end of the Ridgeline and rear end of the Pilot married together into a five passenger with the spare tire under the trunk floor with the same engine as in the Pilot. This one is going to be a real winner for Honda!!! I will buy not lease one of the 2020 models in Elite trim just to be sure that there are no bugs in the first year model.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A lot of the lost Cruze sedan sales might go to Malibu. The Cruze hatch sales will go Honda, Toyota, and a few to Mazda, VW, and maybe H/K. Those numbers were small anyway.

    The part of the “plan” I don’t like, as far as product, is dropping the CT6. That is/was a semi-flagship sedan for Cadillac, and a very nice car.

  18. joe Says:

    To Larry D. from line #9

    Larry D. , you really sound like your a GM hater. GM makes great vehicles and I own 3 of them. I switched from foreign cars and I can tell you GM makes better cars than many of them. It’s too bad they are people who still GM because of it’s bankruptcy.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    18 Garbage. Unlike you, I want ALL the domestics to SUCCEED so I do not have to BAIL YOU OUT EVER AGAIN. If you WERE paying attention, I was EVEN more harsh at Ford’s clueless and obscenely overpaid CEO, the chairmaker who closed down Steelcase by shifting production overseas.

    As for GM vehicles, they are not as “Crappy” (This is MARY BARRA’s term, NOT mine!!!) as they used to be in the 90s, but they are STILL INFERIOR to the Ohio Made Hondas and TOyotas, which, by the way, have a HIGHER US CONTENT thsn your unidentified “US” GM vehicles.

    So spare me the namecalling. YOU are the hater, not I. I remember your uninformed posts about TESLA here. Go bite somebody else’s ankle.

  20. Lambo2015 Says:

    #9 #11 #14 Killing car platforms and shuttering plants seems a bit extreme. I agree to your point Larry that the Japanese imports seem to know how to make money selling cars in the US and have very little to offer when it comes to trucks. So its disappointing to see the domestics throw in the towel. However as I’ve said before I think the traditional sedan is evolving into these higher positioned CUV/SUV type vehicles and although we may see the demise of the sedan as we know it, maybe its just a transformation into a cross-over type vehicle. Which is what I really expect to happen in Lordstown and Hamtramck. GM will make it sound like they are gonna close the plant and use that to negotiate with the UAW. Then when the new model of CUV is placed there everyone wins. The UAW can tout they kept jobs in Detroit and Ohio and GM will probably get some concession out of the deal. No matter how that pans out I’m betting GM and Ford will replace each and every car they kill with a equally or more expensive CUV/SUV.

    To say that these cuts are to position themselves for EV and AV technology is IMO B.S. An EV or AV still needs a plant to be assembled in and still needs engineering still needs testing and development as any-other vehicle before them. In fact they will need more testing and development than the vehicles of past production. I think Ford and GM are both investing way too much in both these segments. I believe EVs will continue to grow but at a slow steady pace. But AV technology is still years away and most likely will result in self parking cars and ones that can drive on the highway in ideal conditions. The only place I foresee a fully autonomous vehicle hitting the market soon would be inner city buses and delivery vehicles. Certainly the postal service and companies like UPS, FedEx and Amazon but I still think that will be limited to parts of the US that have ideal weather conditions and never really pan out to be as wide spread and used as current projections lead us to believe. Just my 2 cents.

  21. Terry Quinn Says:

    One thing Autoline should do before publishing their story about a new technology, is to do a quick search on the Internet to see if the “new” technology is really new. The article above on Volvo doing autonomous mining is nothing new. In fact, fully autonomous mining trucks were in production operation in mines in small quantities in the early 2000s, with Caterpillar and Komatsu competing for leadership. Several mines now operate with scores of autonomous trucks. The volvo story here is a yawner.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 The 500X sells ok in Europe, ~90K in 2017, and flat, or up a little so far, for 2018.

    Yeah, MINI has to be losing a lot of money, at least in the U.S., with ~50K total sales for 5 models, and fairly distinct trim levels/sub-models. Their European sales are about 135K/year. Almost half of those are in the UK. For those numbers to stay that high, I suspect production will need to stay mostly in the UK. If BMW moved the whole operation somewhere else, possibly as a result of Brexit, I suspect the UK sales would plummet.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 EV’s don’t need much engineering and development, except for batteries, and everyone will have access to the same battery technology as it is developed.

    As far as the EV powertrain itself, except batteries, not mach advancement has taken place in the last 20 or so years, since the EV1, except that the motors and controllers are probably now a lot less expensive.

    Yeah, AVs are another thing, a long way off and, at some point, there will be agreement on what technology to use. Car companies should avoid wasting too much money on what will be the Betamax of AV systems.

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    So tired of hearing about the 11.2 Billion dollar bailout that was paid back to the government early in fact.
    Larry are you as angry with the banking industry that received initially 700 Billion and has still been receiving TARP funds to the sum of something around 4.6 Trillion? Here is an article from Forbes detailing the corruption and greed that has consumed tax payers money that we continue to give. Not just a matter of poor management but outright stealing.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 There is an “official” release video of the Passport at 6:30 Eastern time.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    24 I had no intention to waste any more valuable time thinking about the bailouts, but Joe here and Mary Barra’s thoughtless and unplanned actions and GM’s disappointing post-bailout performance and continued loss of market share is a constant reminder.

    To answer your Q, I am 100 times more angry at the bailout of the banks like Citi and AIG. This was a blackmail pure and simple. I really hate banks and insurance companies. BUT they are, unlike GM and Ford, NECESSARY, they are the lifeblood of industry, the way it works in the modern world, with CREDIT. I have even thought of nationalizing them, instead of bailing them out, but the results were poor whenever this was tried.

  27. Drew Says:

    I’m with Lambo… both 20 and 24… especially 24.

    I see 2 differences between GM’s and Ford’s announcements:

    1. Ford simply said they are shifting their product plan, implicitly acknowledging their EVsAVs and new CUVs still need to be built within Ford’s assembly plant footprint… whereas GM is being disingenuous with its hard-working employees.

    2. GM appears to be keeping the Malibu. Ford should be keeping its Fusion and NKZ as they represent its highest rated vehicles in all quality/customer satisfaction surveys, still combine to sell a full assembly plant of capacity, and can avoid sedan customer defection to Malibu/Honda/Toyota/Hyundai/Kia/Nissan. And the new RWD architecture under the 2020 Expkoetand Aviator would make awesome MKZ/Continental replacements.

  28. Larry D. Says:

    23 I knew AVs cannot handle really bad weather and crazy traffic, but had no idea that anything beyond a drizzle would confuse them, even a normal rain, as the Bloomberg article I posted details (refers to studies made etc). No wonder they are testing them in … Arizona of all places.

    I appreciate some of that tech, and would want it in my next car, but NOT as an AV making decisions for me, but as a toolbox that warns me and offers suggestions and I make the ultimate decision.

  29. Larry D. Says:

    27 Gm went from one extreme to the other, it used to offer 5 car models (and more if you add the volt and bolt) in Chevy alone, the Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Malibu and Impala, and of these only the Cruze and the Malibu sold well. Now it cancels all but the Malibu.. Ford had much fewer models to cannibalize each other, it ruined the Taurus and its goodwill from prior generations, so it sells next to nothing, it bet big on the Fiesta and lost, it also sold a trickle, as all subcompacts by all makers, and now it cancels all, while it is still making them ans selling them overseas!

  30. Larry D. Says:

    Finally, the last few days I see an ad on the web with a title like “Cheap Luxury Cars for Seniors”(!), Out of curiosity I clicked it, hoping to see some big luxury sedans like S classes and esp Lexus LS 460s, and I tried 2-3 times, and each time the best they could do was to show a genesis and a couple Lincolns. Apparently they prey on lil old ladies that used to own Buicks (or lincolns, same segment.. lol) and drove them 10 miles a week to go to church on Sunday…

  31. Wim van Acker Says:

    Autoline team: thanks for putting the GM situation in perspective. Very insightful.

    @11: love your questions. Would be very interested in the answers.

    @17: I missed the CT6 in the Autoline list. I will miss that beautiful vehicle on the road. Drove one the other day with the Super Cruise system. Worked perfectly on a freeway with curves semi’s on the road and rain.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I haven’t heard anything about the Spark and Sonic. How long will they stay around? If there is a major trade war, with tariffs on imports, I’d expect the Spark to go away, since it is from Korea. The Sonic is assembled in the U.S., though, at the same location as the Bolt. That plant would seem to need a lot more volume. Neither Sonic nor Bolt sell in very high volume.

  33. Kevin Anderson Says:

    Sean, John, I always liked the insight in your ‘pre-Larry D’ Comments section, especially Kit’s comments. However, the increasing politics and finger pointing (.. YOU are the Hater) tells me it is time to look elsewhere for real info and insight. Maybe you should screen the comments for relevance before showing them to everyone.

  34. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I think Cadillac could make a business case to keep the CT6 if they drop the XTS. Even though the XTS outsold the CT6, the XTS was offered at a lower priced and in my opinion cannibalized sales from the Cadillac flagship. Two well supported sedans could be doable for Cadillac if they keep on their track of offering superior product. I’m referring to keeping the CT6 and complete the introduction of the ATS/CTS replacement (CT4). With the demise of the Lacrosse and Impala (and XTS), there now leaves a void for an upscale full sized and premium midsized vehicle (the XT5 would be a step, luxury-wise above the Malibu) and should be sustainable.

    And also referring to the CT6, the Blackwing V-8 is still slated to adorn (as an option) the lame-duck ’19 CT6; and this is also a shame, as this could be the shining (aspiring) star to the “6″.

  35. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Missed another proof-read: above re.#34, XT5 should have read CT4. Sorry

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wonder if the CT6 will continue in China. That is where all of the CT6 plug-in hybrids have been made.

  37. Lambo2015 Says:

    #23 How do you figure that EVs dont need as much engineering? Yea the powertrain is simpler but that is just a small part in the whole vehicle development. It requires all the same testing and Engineering. Especially when the engine development is shared among many platforms. You still have to pass crash tests and all government regulations.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 The EV powertrain is simpler, and is pretty much “mature” technology, except for cost reduction. Meanwhile, incremental performance and efficiency improvements are still being made in gasoline engines, even after all these years. That’s my main point of #23.

    Other than packaging, it would seem that EVs and ICE vehicles would share a lot of the same development in safety systems, infotainment, etc.

  39. Lambo2015 Says:

    #26 You have no intention of wasting anymore time thinking about the bailout from 10 years ago yet you brought it up. Although you may not think the auto industry is necessary there are a large number of people in the midwest that would disagree with that. The direct employment is not the only people affected. Look at Flint Michigan as an example.

    So the bailout you brought up cost each American $34 and it was paid back. The banks in comparison have cost each American $14,067 which I’m sure little or none has been paid back. So when people gripe about the bailout it seems like whining about a dime when you dropped $100.

    Also as far as “Mary Barra’s thoughtless and unplanned actions”. You probably dont see the whole picture yet. Not that I agree with leaving the hard working folks in these GM plants thinking they might be out of a job. But I believe there is a much longer thought out plan than what is being provided to the public. As I stated in my #20 post GM will use this to their advantage to become more competitive and then Mary’s plans will become much more though out and planned. Don’t fall for just what you hear today as this is only part of the big picture and what they want you to know. They dont become CEOs by laying all there cards on the table right from the beginning.