General Motors employee discount for all

If you're thinking of buying a new car, GM is offering a deal that's usually reserved for employees only. GM will allow its workers to offer the discount to one person through July 31. These discounts are normally limited to the automaker's workers and their immediate families. The offer is good on all General Motors vehicles, and the exact amount a buyer would be saving depends on the particular model, company execs said. GM has seen its sales tumble 18% this year due to soaring gas prices and a weak overall economy. The promotion offers consumers an opportunity to switch from gas-guzzling SUVs or trucks to a smaller car that gets better mileage. "During this challenging period for people across the country, there's no better time than to talk up our great products and give someone you know an additional incentive to buy GM," Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of North American sales, wrote in an e-mail to employees. GM is trying to hold the line on incentives so it can increase profit from each vehicle sold while generating more demand in what may be the weakest U.S. auto market since 1993. Incentives have usually boosted sales in the short-term, but caused a downturn when they are withdrawn. GM boosted average incentive spending on each U.S. vehicle in June to $3,454, a 4.4% gain from May, according to That compares with a 1.4% increase in the industrywide average to $2,356. "It's a tough time for the industry," spokeswoman Susan Garontakos said. "With the price of food, housing and gasoline going up, this just gives people a bit of a break."Use the Web to compare car prices at all the dealerships in your area. Also check if a different model might bring big savings. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Top General Motors supplier rolls out axle deal with United Auto Workers

A car-axle manufacturer and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement to end an 11-week strike that has idled production at more than 30 General Motors plants.UAW members in Detroit will be briefed today, and meetings are being scheduled for American Axle employees in New York and another Michigan facility. American Axle is the biggest supplier of axles to GM. About 3,650 American Axle workers went on strike Feb. 26 in a dispute over pay reductions.   Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Shares of General Motors hit new low on bankruptcy worries

Shares of General Motors Corp. slid to another record low Thursday, as speculation swirled about the financial viability of U.S.-based automakers and a possible bankruptcy filing at GM. GM shares fell 64 cents, or 6.2 percent, to close at $9.69, after tumbling to $9.32 earlier, passing Monday's five-decade low by 60 cents. Thursday's low marked the Detroit-based automaker's lowest share price since July 2, 1954, when its stock dropped to $9.15, according to the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago. The price is adjusted for splits and other changes. Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, called rumors that the automaker is near bankruptcy "baseless" in an interview with Spiegel Online, the Web site of the German news magazine Der Spiegel. But Forster acknowledged in the interview, released Thursday, that the automaker must restructure its U.S.-businesses in the next 18 months. GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner also dismissed the speculation, saying at a lunch meeting of Dallas business leaders that comments in the past week about a potential bankruptcy are "not at all constructive or accurate." Forster also said that while GM is discussing the sale of its gas-guzzling Hummer brand, reports about other brands being up for sale are pure speculation. Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of North American sales, also denied reports that the automaker is looking into the possible sale of other brands in a memo to GM dealers this week. GM's shares have taken a beating this year, as soaring gas prices drove U.S. consumers away from its sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks in favor of more fuel efficient cars and crossovers. Since the beginning of the year, GM shares have fallen nearly 60 percent. In the last 12 months, GM shares have lost about 72 percent. Shares of Ford Motor Co. also tumbled Thursday, falling 37 cents, or 7.5 percent, to close at $4.58, after dropping as low as $4.47 earlier. The Dearborn, Continue Reading

General Motors cuts SUV, truck production, citing lower demand

General Motors Corp. said Monday it will cut production by another 117,000 vehicles, citing continued weak in consumer demand for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said the Detroit-based automaker will achieve the cuts by eliminating one shift each at its Moraine, Ohio, and Shreveport, La., plants. Most of the cuts will affect production of trucks and sport utility vehicles. The Moraine plant makes the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Ranier, Isuzu Ascender, Saab 9-7x midsize SUVs, while the Shreveport plant currently produces the GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado and Hummer H3. The cuts bring GM's total production cuts to just under the 300,000 units company officials had hoped to cut this year, Sapienza said. GM also is looking at the possibility of idling production at other truck and SUV plants later this year to further align its offerings with consumer demand, he said. Record-high gas prices and a weak overall economy have led to a steep drop in U.S. sales of trucks and SUVs this year, as consumers have opted for small, more fuel-efficient passenger cars or put off buying new vehicles all together. GM's U.S. sales were down about 16 percent for the first half of this year, largely as a result of a plunge in truck sales, and it's not the only automaker facing lower demand. Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., which outsold GM by 277,532 vehicles worldwide in the first six months of this year, cut its global sales forecast earlier Monday by 350,000 vehicles to 9.5 million, blaming sluggish North American sales. Toyota also is shifting production from SUVs and trucks to smaller models. It said earlier this month that it plans to shut down truck and SUV production at its U.S. plants for three months starting in August, and it will start building the Prius hybrid in the U.S. for the first time in 2010. GM shares fell 42 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $11.48 in midday trading. Continue Reading

General Motors may try to shed brands, but market is tough

DETROIT - General Motors Corp. is reviewing its brands and may try to jettison some to raise money as it burns through cash at an alarming rate. But industry analysts say buyer interest in the brands most likely to be sold - Buick, Hummer, Saab and Saturn - may be low due to a U.S. sales downturn brought on by high gasoline prices and a slow economy. Also, analysts say, there are individual problems with some of GM's weaker nameplates. GM, which has eight brands, announced last month that it was reviewing Hummer for possible sale. The company on Monday denied that other nameplates are under review. But a person familiar with GM's internal discussions says brands other than Hummer are being studied. The person wanted to remain anonymous because no decisions have been made. GM, the person said, also is considering wider white-collar job cuts and bringing more small cars to the U.S. from elsewhere in the world to deal with the sales slump a huge market shift from trucks and sport utility vehicles to cars and crossovers. David Healy, an auto analyst with Burnham Securities, said GM has enough money to make it through this year but may need more cash in 2009. The automaker, he said, has ways to raise money other than selling brands. While Hummer is unique in terms of engineering and manufacturing and could be sold, other brands share vehicle underpinnings and manufacturing and are so integrated it would be tough to sever them, Healy said. He questioned whether there would be any buyers in the midst of a U.S. economic downturn. Hummer might be attractive to a Russian or Indian automaker for its U.S. dealership network, said Mark Warnsman, an analyst with Calyon Securities. Saturn could be of interest to another automaker that doesn't have a mainstream brand, and a luxury automaker might have the expertise to revive Sweden's Saab, analysts said. Buick might be a tougher sell, they said. Buick and Saturn continue to struggle Continue Reading

Boston Properties nets General Motors Building in $3.95B deal

Boston Properties said Saturday it has agreed to pay nearly $3.95 billion for four Manhattan office towers, including the landmark General Motors building on Fifth Ave.The deal is one of the richest ever for New York City office space. Boston Properties is a publicly traded real estate investment group led by Daily News Chairman and Publisher Mortimer B. Zuckerman. Boston Properties said it and other unnamed investment partners would pay about $1.47 billion in cash and take on $2.47 billion in debt to acquire the portfolio from New York developer Harry Macklowe. The portion of the sale related to the General Motors building would set a record price for a U.S. office building. The 50-story tower, built in 1968 at the southeastern corner of Central Park, occupies a full city block and is best known as the home of two Fifth Ave. tourist attractions, the FAO Schwarz toy emporium and an Apple store with a glass-cube entrance inspired by the Louvre art museum in Paris. Boston Properties didn't disclose an exact price for the building, but said the debt portion of the purchase alone would be $1.9 billion, which would exceed the previous record price of $1.8 billion set in 2006 by a 41-story building six blocks farther south on Fifth Ave. The other buildings included in the sale are a 39-story tower at 540 Madison Ave., a 23-story tower at 125 W. 55th St. and the 44-story 2 Grand Central Tower. The gem of the package, though, is the GM Building, which has 2 million square feet of rentable office space in one of the most coveted locations in New York City. Macklowe bought the tower for $1.4 billion in 2003 as part of a $7 billion expansion of his holdings in Manhattan, but ran into credit problems related to the deal and has been pressured into unloading several of the properties. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

MTA, city stand to make millions in sale of General Motors Building

One mogul's pain could be the subway rider's gain. Real estate titan Harry Macklowe is looking to sell the General Motors Building he bought for $1.4 billion five years ago - and the sale could generate a trainload of dough for the MTA and the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city government receive revenues from taxes on the sale of commercial and residential real estate properties. Debt-saddled Macklowe reportedly has valued the Fifth Ave. skyscraper, located between 58th and 59th Sts., at $3.5 billion. Bidding on the 50-story marble tower with commanding Central Park views opens today, and Macklowe is touting naming rights to prospective buyers. A sale in that stratosphere - assuming a $2.6 billion mortgage - would generate up to $59 million for the MTA - and about twice that amount for the city, experts said. "They will benefit and it will be an unanticipated benefit," said Kenneth Bleiwas, deputy state controller. Such a transaction, a so-called "distress sale," is a further sign of an economy in trouble. If the MTA's other revenues slide faster than authority budget crunchers have predicted, any potential windfall from the GM Building going on the block could be negated, said Doug Turetsky of the city's Independent Budget Office. Revenues include those from ridership, which the MTA last year said it expects to continue to rise this year. The MTA declined to comment on the possible GM Building sale. The authority voted in December to hike fares and tolls, saying it anticipated large deficits to start hitting next year. Still, even if that trend continues, the authority has big plans in need of funding, including system expansion projects like building a Second Ave. subway running the length of Manhattan. Only the first of three planned sections of the Second Ave. subway line is fully funded. NYC Transit, the bus and subway division of the MTA, has drafted dozens of service upgrades, including more frequent Continue Reading

General Motors to cut 15 percent of US, Canadian salaried workers

DETROIT - General Motors Corp. plans to cut 15 percent of its U.S. and Canadian salaried work force - or around 5,100 jobs - by Nov. 1 as part of a plan to slash billions of dollars and help the automaker ride out a slump in U.S. sales. A GM official declined to confirm the specific numbers but indicated they were generally accurate. The official asked not to be named because the company had not planned to release the numbers until later. Word of the cuts came two days before GM plans to release its second-quarter earnings. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are predicting a loss of $2.63 per share amid plummeting truck and sport utility vehicle sales. GM said in mid-July that it would cut white-collar costs in the U.S. and Canada by more than 20 percent as part of a larger cost-cutting plan, but it wouldn’t say how many workers would leave. GM President and Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said at the time the company hoped most of the cuts would be made through attrition, retirements and buyout offers, but that the company would consider involuntary layoffs. GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC have announced salaried layoffs in recent weeks as the U.S. market stumbles through its slowest year in more than a decade. Ford plans to cut 15 percent of its salaried costs by Friday, while Chrysler plans to cut 1,000 salaried jobs worldwide by Sept. 30. Nissan North America Inc. also offered buyouts to around 6,000 salaried and hourly employees at its two Tennessee plants Wednesday. GM announced the cost-cutting plan July 15 after its shares hit a 54-year low. The automaker said it planned to save $15 billion by cutting salaried and hourly jobs, selling assets, suspending its dividend and eliminating health care for salaried retirees over age 65. GM shares fell 55 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $11.55 in afternoon trading. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

General Motors invests $500M in Lyft, forms partnership

General Motors is investing $500 million in the ride-sharing company Lyft in a venture that gives the automaker direct access to the growing market for ride-sharing and a potential channel for offering self-driving cars for on-demand use.GM gets a seat on Lyft's board of directors as part of the partnership, through which the two companies will open rental hubs where Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles. That could expand Lyft's business by giving people who don't own cars a way to earn money by becoming Lyft drivers even though they don't own a car.Lyft drivers currently use their own vehicles to drive customers with the Lyft mobile app.“We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.”John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft, said: “Working with GM, Lyft will continue to unlock new transportation experiences that bring positive change to our daily lives. Together we will build a better future by redefining traditional car ownership.”GM spokesman Vijay Iyer said GM will announce in the "following weeks" the "first few cities" that will have the rental hubs. He also said that GM Financial, the auto lending arm of the automaker, will work with Lyft to structure a variety of rental arrangements.GM will gain access to Lyft's customer data that could be valuable in communicating new services or even to offer those customers to lease or buy their own vehicles. Over the long term, the companies plan to develop a fleet of autonomous vehicles that can be summoned with Lyft's software.This isn't GM's first investment In 2011 in on-demand transportation, but it's a much larger bet than the $3 million it put into Relay Rides, a service that enabled car owners to rent out their vehicles when they would otherwise sit idle. The service relied on Continue Reading

General Motors invests $500M in Lyft

NEW YORK —  Ride-hailing company Lyft said it raised $1 billion in a round of funding that values it at $5.5 billion, including a $500 million capital injection from Detroit car manufacturer General Motors. As part of the deal, GM will also have a seat on Lyft’s board, the companies said.GM's investment in Lyft underscores the pressure traditional automakers are facing to keep up with several new trends that stand to shake up the industry in the coming decade, including the growing availability of ride-hailing apps and the race toward self-driving cars."We think the owner-driver model, the traditional model, will remain a very, very significant part of the transportation model. But we see ride-sharing, in particular, growing very rapidly," GM President Dan Ammann said in an interview with USA TODAY.John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and co-founder, said the money will go toward new products and building "awareness" around the brand.Lyft has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks in part to its ability to spend on new products like Lyft Line, a carpooling service that reduces costs for riders.The San Francisco start-up now operates in 190 cities, up from just 65 in early 2015.At $5.5 billion, Lyft still pales in comparison with its much larger rival, Uber, which was recently valued at more than $50 billion. That's on par with General Motors, which is valued at $53 billion.Kingdom Holding, the investment firm of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was also part of the latest round of funding, contributing $100 million to Lyft.  Other investors in the $1 billion round include mutual fund firm Janus Capital Management, Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Kuaidi and e-commerce company Alibaba.GM's investment in Lyft also is part of its plan to start making self-driving cars, a technology that's also become a big focus for Silicon Valley tech giants Continue Reading