Company officials from General Motors estimate that its lightweighting strategy has resulted in annual fuel savings of as much as 50 million gallons and up to 137,000 less metric tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.

GM executive director Charlie Klein said that the Buick LaCrosse, the Cadillac XT5, the Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, Malibu and Volt and the GMC Acadia were all redesigned with weight reduction being a key priority. The lightweighting techniques resulted in the seven GM models shedding a combined 2,400 pounds or an average of over 300 pounds per vehicle.

Speaking at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars, Klein indicated that the reduction in fuel consumption and pollution becomes significant when taken in perspective. “That’s the equivalent of almost 30,000 passenger vehicles driven for a year, or the equivalent of 326 million miles driven by an average vehicle,” he said.

In order to cut weight, Klein indicated that GM pioneered a number of lightweighting procedures, including the development of an aluminum-to-steel joining technology. The approach was initially tested at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and is now used in the production of the Cadillac CT6.

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