Oct. 27, 2006: BloombergGM to Use Cost Savings to Fight Toyota `Green’ Cars, People Say

Summary: "General Motors Corp., losing sales to Toyota Motor Corp., will use some of the $9 billion in savings from cost cuts this year to make vehicles that match the Japanese automaker in technology and fuel efficiency, according to people familiar with the strategy.

GM’s plans include a hybrid-electric vehicle with a battery that recharges at any outlet, improved gasoline engines, hybrid versions of its Silverado pickup trucks and hydrogen-powered fuel-cell models that emit only water vapor, according to the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the plan isn’t public. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner will outline the strategy in a speech before the end of the year, one of the people said. "

There’s no question that the anonymous "people" cited in this article get paid by GM. But it also smacks of a new corporate strategy—the leak à la Plame. With a wink and a nudge, the leaker starts a buzz of the executive’s choice, cloaking advertising in mystery.

These "people" don’t offer any new information. Back in September, GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss told Reuters that "GM is in the early stages of plug-in hybrid development and has not committed to any production." Automakers are always trying to improve their ICEs, hybrid GM trucks have been available (if hard to find) for a couple years now, and the company has made no secret of its fuel-cell worship.

Let’s applaud GM when it actually has plug-ins on the lot, not when it pulls a publicity stunt to "leak" old news.

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