GM opens Volt engine plant in Michigan

General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner poses with the Chevrolet Volt electric concept car at the GM exhibit at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in January.

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Scott Jagow: Everybody seem to wants some money from the government. The car industry wants some guaranteed loans and just got $25 billion from Congress to help get more fuel efficient in the industry. We have more now from Mitchell Hartman.


Mitchell Hartman: Today in Flint, Michigan, GM executives and local officials will tout a new $359 million dollar auto plant. It'll make a new breed of small, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines for the Chevy Cruze and Chevy Volt. David Cole heads up the Center for Automotive Research. He says GM is finally getting real about putting new energy-saving technology under the hood.

David Cole: When you're sort of changing the whole directional thrust of the company away from the traditional more power and more performance toward much improvement in fuel economy, this is an absolutely necessary investment.

Cole says the price tag will be steep -- $80 billion to $100 billion to meet new fuel-efficiency standards. Developing gasoline-free cars that run on hydrogen fuel-cells or battery power alone will cost even more. Down-and-out U.S. car makers don't exactly have a lot of cash laying around. So expect the industry to be back asking Congress for another $25 billion or so next year.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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