GM Prepares for $4 Gas with Small Cars for All Brands

Yesterday, Automotive News reported that General Motors is preparing for future gas price spikes by introducing compact cars for all of its brands, as follows:

Chevrolet will brighten up its small car offerings when it introduces the Spark in 2012. Fuel economy for the minicar with edgy styling could reach 45 mpg or higher.

In 2012, G.M. will also introduce the Buick Verano compact car, built on the same platform at the Chevy Cruze. (The Chinese version was unveiled in June as the Buick Excelle GTT.) The Verano shares styling cues with the Buick LaCrosse sedan, which is expected to get a hybrid system, maybe the new and improved mild hybrid technology GM talked about last week.

A production version of the GMC Granite ultra-small wagon-truck mix-up, built on a compact car platform, is expected to come to market in 2013. The rumor mill has the Granite powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four, possibly mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

GMC Granite concept

GMC Granite concept

G.M.’s emphasis on size reduction and fuel efficiency extends to the Cadillac brand— with an ATS compact car due in the 2013 or 2014 model year. Clues to ATS styling come from the Cadillac Converj, the luxury plug-in hybrid concept that G.M. dropped in favor of cheaper plug-in hybrids with shorter all-electric range.

Cadillac Converj

Cadillac Converj

Of course, it’s too early to confirm fuel economy numbers, final design decisions, or pricing. But it’s clear that smaller will only get bigger as G.M. and other global automakers anticipate higher fuel prices.


  • Old Man Crowder

    I’m wondering: is this REALLY about projected increases in fuel prices or is this how GM intends on meeting the new fuel economy regulations?

    I don’t care either way, I suppose. I guess I’d rather just know if fuel costs are the real reason for the new models.

  • JamesDavis

    We’ve heard this bull crap from GM before and they delivered nothing on their promise except something that their own mother wouldn’t even buy. I’ll wait for the Japanese cars, at least the “sweet nothings” they whisper in our ears – they deliver on. —Like, 150 miles between charges on their electric cars and a super charger that can charge your electric in 15 minutes or less.

  • Shines

    James Davis your blatant hatred for GM is obvious. But free speech is a right in this country. I am not a GM fan, but I feel I must reserve my comments because I am not interested in getting into an arguement about who makes better cars. I am glad to see GM focussed on fuel economy. Certainly the government is forcing their hand a bit, but I believe higher fuel prices are on the way. The smaller Buick looks nice and Buick has been producing the most reliable GM cars the past few years. GM should do fine…

  • Anonymous

    i’d like to see gm promise less and more delivery… otherwise concept cars and future delivery dates are just marketing hot air.

  • Elliot

    It is very sad that it took a GM collapse and bailout to force them to rethink their ways. I too am still leery of GM and trusting them to deliver more than cool concept vehicles. However, I am also hopeful and excited that they might start building something other than the same old recycled oldsmobuick

    I dig some of their newer cars, but still am hoping for more focus on fuel economy.

    Maybe Ford and GM will lead the way…

  • you

    Not paying 41,000 dollars for a box that gets 40 MPG when these manufacturers have ALREADY PROVEN they can make a combustion engine capable of well over 50 MPG in the 1980s with the Honda CRV!

    Dont think the rest of us havent raised an eyebrow to the fact that regular 40+ MPG cars are no longer being made in lieu of slapping the word “hybrid” on them and putting in a battery and then increasing the price by 25,000 dollars for it.

    No thanks. I’ll pay $4 even $6 per gallon with my 44 MPG 2001 Saturn REGULAR ENGINE. Dont need a “hybrid” tag to get good fuel economy and save money.

  • calvin

    The CR-V did not exist in the 80s and has never gotten 50mpg. You must be thinking of the CR-X.

    And the reason that the CR-X could get 50mpg (highway) is because it weighed as little as 777kg whereas a baseline Civic these days weighs 1176kg. That’s over 1/3rd heavier than the CR-X.

    If people were willing to buy smaller ~700kg cars like the Smart Fortwo, then you can still get 50mpg on a conventional gasoline engine. But the trend for consumers has been to buy bigger and bigger cars each year. And to make up for that extra dead weight, they need bigger and bigger engines. The bigger the engine and the bigger the car, the less fuel efficient it is. Put 2 and 2 together…

  • Anonymous

    Screw Hybrids, move on to EV technology. If the reason is higher fuel prices, their not doing anything to fix the problem.

    If you need gas to run your car, you are 100% in need of gas. Supply and demand… the demand is still 100%.

    If everyone in the U.S. buys a hybrid they will just raise the price to $10 a gallon.

  • Dwayne

    Screw Hybrids, move on to EV technology. If the reason is higher fuel prices, their not doing anything to fix the problem.

    If you need gas to run your car, you are 100% in need of gas. Supply and demand… the demand is still 100%.

    If everyone in the U.S. buys a hybrid they will just raise the price to $10 a gallon.

  • Stephen

    “We’ve heard this bull crap from GM before and they delivered nothing on their promise except something that their own mother wouldn’t even buy” -

    Volt? Cruze Eco? Do you live under a rock?