GM product plans unfold in pact September 29, 2007 BY MARK PHELAN FREE PRESS COLUMNIST The new contract with the UAW provides an unprecedented look into GM's future product plans, replete with goodies like the production date for the revolutionary Chevrolet Volt and groundbreaking new models for Cadillac and Saturn. Here are a few first impressions: • The Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant goes from the endangered-species list to a very bright future. At least in part as a reward for its consistently high quality, Hamtramck will be the first plant to build the electric-drive Volt, which could be exported around the world. GM expects to sell at least 100,000 Volts a year from day one. • Hamtramck will also build a new compact minivan similar to the popular Opel Zafira that's one of GM's leading European models. Saturn is almost certain to get a version, and Chevrolet could, too. • The ability to also build a midsize Chevrolet in Hamtramck suggests the plant will be flexible to build cars from two different platforms. That kind of flexibility is one of the keys to Honda's and Toyota's success. • In more good news for Michigan manufacturing, the Lansing plants that build crossover SUVs and Cadillacs will get key new models. Lansing Delta will add a Chevrolet crossover (replacing the Trailblazer and Uplander minivan) to the Saturn Outlook, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia it already builds. • Lansing Grand River will become Cadillac Central, adding coupe and station wagon versions of the extraordinary CTS. People who have seen the coupe planned for 2009 say it is stunning. • Lansing Grand River becomes the second plant to produce GM's eagerly awaited Zeta family of midsize and large rear-wheel-drive cars when it adds two models in 2011. They will probably be full-size cars for Cadillac and Buick (Park Avenue). The first Zeta model in production will be the Chevrolet Camaro in Oshawa, Canada, in 2009. • Buick will get a new midsize sedan from GM's Fairfax plant in Kansas beginning in 2010. Fairfax will keep building the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura, and will add what the agreement calls a "Chevrolet large four-door notchback" in 2010. That sounds like a replacement for the underappreciated Malibu Maxx hatchback that went out of production there this year. • Lordstown, Ohio, will remain home base for GM's small cars, producing several models from GM's global Gamma program in 2010. The cars will definitely include the replacement for the Chevrolet Cobalt and could include models for Pontiac (G4) and Saturn (Astra production moved to the US). • Lordstown gets great news when it adds production of a new line of rear-wheel-drive cars smaller than those built in Lansing. The lineup will include a hot Cadillac to take on the BMW 3-series, and one or more others for Buick, Pontiac (G6 based on the Holden Torana concept) or Chevrolet. • Hummer will add a pickup version of the Transformers-cool H3 SUV in the next couple of years. That's good news for the Shreveport, La., plant building the H3, but the plant will lose the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups in 2011.