Between 1975 and 1978, GM increased its passenger car fuel economy by 26% from 15.2 to 19.2 mpg. In 1977, GM bounded ahead of Ford and Chrysler by more than 1 mpg by taking a 1,000 pounds of excess weight out of its largest cars. Not only were GM's new models a fuel economy success, they were a sales success as well. In December 1978 when the 1979 models were on sale, GM Chairman Thomas A Murphy said:
Each wave of new more fuel-efficient GM products has met with outstanding success in the competitive marketplace. The all-new family-size automobiles, which were inroduced in the 1977 model year and provide 20% better fuel economy with more interior space for passengers and cargo, have continued to gain momentum. GM's mid-size car lines which were introduced last year have established new sales records in recent months.
The high level of sales of new cars and trucks in the first months of the current model year testify to the car buyer's recognition of the value of our new products, and of his continued confidence. To meet this demand, many plants have been operating at near maximum overtime schedules, and production records are being established for the fourth quarter.