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Ahead of the Bell: Autos

General Motors Corp. unveiled a two-wheeled electric vehicle in conjunction with scooter maker Segway, design to be a clean alternative for congested city streets.
/ Source: The Associated Press

General Motors Corp. unveiled a two-wheeled electric vehicle in conjunction with scooter maker Segway, design to be a clean alternative for congested city streets.

Shares of the Detroit-based automaker dropped 5 cents, or 2.2 percent to $2.22. GM and Segway said they are working together on the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility, or PUMA project. In addition to developing the two-seat vehicles, the vehicles could interact with each, to help regulate the flow of traffic and avoid crashes through a communications network.

The 300-pound prototype runs on a lithium-ion battery and uses Segway's two-wheel balancing technology, along with dual electric motors. It's designed to reach speeds of up to 35 miles-per-hour and can run 35 miles on a single charge.

Separately, GM, along with Ford Motor Co. are also expected to benefit from recently introduced assurance programs that pay customers' monthly car payments if they lose their job.

Ford will make payments of up to $700 a month for 12 months on any new Ford, Lincoln, Mercury vehicle. The program runs through June 1. GM will monthly payments of up to $500 a month for nine months if there is a job loss. That program runs through April 30.

KeyBanc Capital markets analyst Brett Hoselton said that the while the programs have yet to have a "material impact" on dealer traffic and sales, dealers are optimistic that the programs will have a positive effect over time.

"There is reason to believe the impact on sales will accelerate as more customers become aware of GM and Ford's new incentive programs," Hoselton wrote in a research note Tuesday.

Shares of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford fell 14 cents, or 3.7 percent to $3.63 in premarket trading. On Monday, Ford said that it cut $9.9 billion in debt as a result of tender offers. The move also reduces the company's interest expense by $500 million this year.