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GM delays Volt to save cash

In even more gloomy news today, General Motors have suspended construction of a Michigan plant, scheduled to build fuel-saving engines for the Volt and Cruze models, as it awaits a federal rescue loan.
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We're told the delay at the $349 million factory in Flint won't affect the late-2010 launch of the Chevrolet Cruze small car and the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (to be sold here as the Holden Volt), as confirmed by GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel.

CEO Rick Wagoner announced the plant on September 25th and said it would produce two versions of a 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, one with a turbocharger for the Volt and one without for the Cruze.

The delay reflects GM's heightened efforts to reduce spending as its supplies of cash dwindle. GM is waiting for the White House to approve a bailout that will keep the automaker operating and avoid a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

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The postponement will allow GM to halt payments for construction materials, Basel said.

"Steel has been ordered but placed on hold, as have additional orders,'' she said. "This has only to do with the construction of the plant, not the program timing. There is enough leeway in the construction schedule for it to build the engines on time after the temporary hold".

Although Basel did not say when the work would resume, she was quick to add that the factory is being built with a common template used all around the world and as such can be assembled in less than a year.

GM already builds a non-turbocharged version of the engine for its European small cars though Basel said GM has no plans to import those powerplants from Europe if the US project ends up behind schedule.