Rick Wagoner Remarks at The 2008 Geneva Auto Show

Rick Wagoner
General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Geneva, Switzerland

Thank you... always a pleasure to be back at the Geneva Show... and especially this year, as we at General Motors celebrate our company's 100th anniversary.

Last year at this show, I outlined GM's advanced propulsion strategy... which is to offer a broad range of clean and efficient vehicles, powered by different sources of energy, to respond optimally to local consumer needs around the world.

Today, I'd like to update you on our recent progress in several of these areas.

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One way we're working to reducing oil consumption, oil imports, and CO2 emissions, is by offering vehicles that run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol... and, very importantly, by promoting the development of improved alternative fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol.

Why? Because the increased use of alternative fuels like ethanol offers the best near-term solution for significantly reducing our reliance on petroleum.

That's why we announced in January that GM is partnering with Chicago-based Coskata to help put its unique and highly efficient process for producing ethanol into commercial application as soon as possible

Globally, by the end of 2008, GM will offer 25 FlexFuel cars and trucks, in several brands, and produce more than 1 million new ethanol-enabled vehicles.

And Saab, with its growing lineup of BioPower products, is spearheading the E-85 effort here in Europe.

In 2007, Saab was the best selling E-85 brand in Europe... and there's much more to come. By 2010, we'll also introduce a number of E-85 variants in our Opel, Vauxhall, Cadillac, and Chevrolet ranges here in Europe. Stay tuned.
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Another key element of our advanced propulsion strategy is our commitment to electrically driven vehicles.

In early January, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we introduced our latest E-Flex concept... the E-Flex fuel cell Cadillac Provoq... which extends the E-Flex propulsion system beyond small cars, to a new luxury crossover architecture.

GM's global product development team continues to run all-out to get the Chevy Volt to market as soon as possible. More to come on that front, as well.

On the fuel cell beat, we announced a new partnership yesterday with Virgin Atlantic, one of the environmental leaders in the airline business... which will use our new Chevy Equinox Fuel Cells... to offer complimentary ground transportation at Los Angeles Airport.

Overall, through our "Project Driveway" initiative, we've begun placing more than 100 Equinox Fuel Cells into the hands of companies and real-world customers in several U.S. locations.

And, as previously announced, we'll bring 10 of these fuel cell vehicles to Europe later this year as part of the Clean Energy Partnership Program.

This kind of real-world testing will provide us with the learnings we need to work toward a broader future roll out of fuel-cell technology.

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Another very important element of our advanced propulsion strategy around the world... is our rapidly expanding application of hybrid technology.

At GM, we have a range of hybrid vehicles, on the road or under development, including:

More than 1,000 GM-Allison hybrid transit buses in North America and Europe.

Vehicles like the Saturn VUE Green Line... which uses our high-value "belt alternator starter," or BAS system, to get the highest highway fuel economy of any sport utility vehicle in the U.S., at a great price to consumers.

Our new Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids feature the industry's most sophisticated hybrid technology, an advanced version of the two-mode hybrid system we developed for transit buses. GM's two-mode SUVs get 50% better city fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts... the same as a 2008 Toyota Camry with a four-cylinder engine.

And beyond that, we've announced our plan to build a "plug-in" version of our Saturn VUE hybrid... with the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any sport utility vehicle on the road today.

By the end of this year, in total GM will offer nine different hybrid models worldwide... and we're just getting started.
Over the next four years, we'll introduce 16 new hybrid vehicles - an average of one every three months.
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Now, yesterday evening, at the GM Premiere Night, we told you a little bit about the next exciting step in our hybrid development program... by revealing the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept.

We provided some details about the concept's innovative new powertrain... and today, I'm very pleased to complete that story.

The 9-X BioHybrid is equipped with our latest 1.4-liter BioPower turbo engine... combined with the next generation of our GM Hybrid technology.

Our next-generation GM hybrid system will employ a more powerful electric motor than what we use in our current GM Hybrid system... and it will replace the current nickel-metal hydride battery with lithium-ion technology.

The result is a cost-effective hybrid system that will be three times more powerful than our current "belt alternator starter" system... and one that will reduce CO2 emissions on the 9-X BioHybrid to 117 grams-per-kilometer, when running on gasoline... and, when running on ethanol, just 105 grams-per-kilometer.

Importantly, the lithium-ion battery will also increase fuel efficiency by offering higher levels of electric launch assist over a longer portion of the drive cycle, and extended regenerative braking.

We expect this system to provide overall fuel economy gains of up to 20 percent... depending on the engine and vehicle application.
To ensure that we maximize the efficiency of this new hybrid technology, I'm pleased to announce today that GM has teamed up with one of the major global players in lithium-ion technology... Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd.

Its subsidiary, Hitachi Vehicle Energy Limited, will develop the lithium-ion battery that is key to bringing this next generation of our GM Hybrid technology to market.

I'm very pleased to welcome Sir Stephen Gomersall, Senior Vice President and Executive Officer, Chief Executive for Europe, Hitachi Ltd... and Taiji Hasegawa, Chairman, Hitachi Automotive Products (USA).

Now, in order to have a real impact in reducing oil consumption, oil imports, and CO2 emissions... advanced technologies must be affordable enough to drive high-volume applications... and that's one of the critical points to understand about our next-generation GM Hybrid technology.
Because it builds on proven technology, our next-generation GM Hybrid System will be more cost-effective, and we'll be able to expand its application in GM's global vehicle portfolio.

And, because our new system is three times more powerful, we'll also be able to use it in a wider range of powertrains... and that's exactly what we plan to do.

We plan to roll out this next-generation hybrid technology globally, across our brands and regions, starting in 2010 in North America... and we expect that volumes will eventually exceed 100,000 units annually.

This second-generation GM hybrid system reflects another important step in our efforts to make hybrid technology affordable to more and more consumers... and is a key part of our comprehensive strategy to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions.

Thank you.