As the nation's No. 1 auto market, California has long been key to General Motors' business plan, but the state's environmentally conscious consumers might be even more important to GM's post-bankruptcy fortunes.
On Wednesday, the automaker launched a national TV advertising campaign touting its future as a "leaner, greener, faster, smarter" company. Given California's status as the nation's top green car market, GM hopes to reach the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of motorists statewide.
"California is a lot more environmentally conscious and tends to buy more hybrids than other (states)," said Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com, a Santa Monica-based auto information site.
"That will be very important for GM as it tries to regain market share not just from Toyota and Honda, but Ford is also emerging as a very viable competitor."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
And the state could be just as important to Chrysler, which is basing much of its post-bankruptcy strategy on selling small, fuel-efficient cars in conjunction with Italian automaker Fiat.
GM already has shed brands that hamper its overall fuel-mileage ratings – Hummer in particular – and will focus on a core group of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Three of those brands have gas-electric hybrids in their 2009 lineups – Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon.
The highlight of the green strategy is the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in electric designed to travel 40 miles on a single charge, before a three-cylinder gas engine takes over to recharge a lithium-ion battery pack. The car hits the market for the 2010 model year.
To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.