Hot on the heels of news that China has beat American automakers to mass-producing a plug-in hybrid, GM announced that they would be delaying construction of a Flint, Mich. plant for the production of engines for the Chevrolet Cruze and the electric hybrid Volt. The delay is a result of GM reviewing their finances as the company waits for word from the White House about emergency relief funds, after being denied a bailout by Congress. The plant will cost $349 million to build.
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According to GM Spokeswoman Sharon Basel, the delay "has no impact on the product programs." The Volt is expected to hit the market in 2010. Still, this decision contradicts the greening strategies that automakers laid out in their appeals for a bailout earlier this month. GM previously took out a full-page ad in an auto magazine apologizing for their lack of quality, and promising to lead in fuel economy and biofuel-capable vehicles.
Treehugger, like many other green blogs, hopes that the plant isn't delayed too long. "A big part of what made the Volt notable is that it is ahead of the curve. If it becomes just another plug-in hybrid, the benefits to GM will be much smaller," said Michael Graham Richard. But in the short-term, GM is doing whatever it can to stay afloat.