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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

GM Chairman Says Voltec Minivan and Hatchback Are Planned

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson surprised reporters following a speech today at the 2011 Automotive News World Congress by saying that the automaker intends to come out with a minivan and a hatchback featuring the powertrain technology found in the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid and that a plug-in version of the Cadillac SRX luxury crossover is likely in the next few years.

"We have been pleased and a bit surprised with the initial demands, initial orders for Volts," Akerson said. "We don't want to miss the opportunity."

Word of the Voltec powertrain appearing in future models isn't new. What is new is word, especially from someone as well-placed in the company as Akerson, that the next vehicles to receive the advanced plug-in hybrid system found in the Volt would be a minivan and a hatchback, and that the plug-in hybrid van would come out "in the next few years."

Akerson did not mention when the Volt-like hatchback would come out. That the Voltec powertrain would appear in a hatchback soon after the minivan is interesting, because the Volt is itself a hatchback. Perhaps Akerson meant a compact hatchback. Spokesmen could not or would not confirm.

Indeed, GM spokesman Rob Peterson tried to downplay the chairman's comments, saying that a minivan fitted with the Voltec system was under consideration and not a done deal.

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