Susan Frissell

October 29, 2013: A Technical Journey. John Calebrese, VP Global Vehicle engineering for General Motors spoke at the monthly MAMA luncheon. A 34-year veteran of GM, Calebrese has seen a lot of changes; some not so great, he told MAMA members, journalists. With several vehicles on-site to demonstrate, GM is looking at “bright times ahead,” says Calebrese. What GM has realized, notes Calebrese is that consumers have an ‘engagement” with their cars. With all brands ranking above average in today’s marketplace, Consumer Reports still manages to come up with 14 recommended buys. As aggressively as any automobile manufacturer today, General Motors has several engineering centers around the world. Truly global, GM has a presence in Michigan, Mexico, China, Korea, Russia, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, Australia and India. Calebrese also noted the many unique patents (433) granted to 428 employees of GM, along with 69 tool method secret inventions to 127 employees.

Impressive. Manufacturers obviously have to stay ahead of the game in today’s competitive marketplace, continually keeping the game going. With all the global requirements expected, as well as increased fuel economy, one can’t be sleeping. The new world order, says Calebrese, is ‘mass optimization;’ “every gram counts.” What is news is that GM’s Chevrolet brand sells better around the world than it does in the U.S, although it appears when navigating the highways and byways, that Chevy is doing quite well here, particularly the Cruze. Calebrese also touched on GM’s new ECOTEC engines on their trucks: 4.3 V6, 5.3 V8 and 6.2 V8 configurations. sparkEngines are more refined and less intrusive with less friction, while interiors are also more plush and quieter. And GM is earnestly doing their part to up the mileage in all its vehicles. The media had the opportunity to drive the all-new, available only in California, Spark EV. What a great little commuter. So quiet. In December, GM will introduce the Cadillac ELR, an extended range electric vehicle.