The Truth About Cars » chevrolet equinox The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:27:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » chevrolet equinox General Motors To Keep Oshawa Consolidated Line Open Past 2014 Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:33:18 +0000 photo3-550x412

A brief memo from General Motors Canada confirmed that the Oshawa consolidated line, scheduled to close in 2014, will stay open until 2016. GM is citing strong market demand for the Chevrolet Equinox and the outgoing, Chevrolet Impala (sold as a fleet-only model) as a reason for the decision, but cautioned that ” All scheduling adjustments are subject to market demand”.

Under the terms of the bailout, GM must keep 16 percent of its production in Canada until it has repaid its loan obligations to the Canadian government, or until December 31, 2016. After that date, the future of Oshawa is uncertain.

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Cain’s Segments: Crossover Sales Thu, 19 Sep 2013 13:00:49 +0000 TTAC_small-SUV-sales-chart

In every month since April, the four best-selling utility vehicles in America have fallen under the “small” banner. In July, the five top sellers were small. With one-third of 2013 remaining, the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, and Toyota RAV4 are both America’s top-selling small crossovers and America’s four leading crossovers overall.

Together with their rivals, they accounted for 14.4% of industry sales in August and 13.4% of the new vehicles sold in the United States in the first two-thirds of 2013. The vehicles listed in the accompanying table represent more than four out of every ten SUVs or crossovers sold in the United States.

Allow the popularity net to spread further afield and the Honda CR-V isn’t America’s favourite crossover. Combining the Chevrolet Equinox and its twin, the GMC Terrain, results in a General Motors total that’s 31,885 units better than what Honda has managed with the CR-V so far this year. It takes two to tango, and two to top the CR-V and Escape.

2012 marked the first year in which Chevrolet sold more than 200,000 copies of the Equinox. The Equinox’s total should top 240,000 units by the end of the year.

GM benefits from also selling the fleet-only Captiva Sport, which sells more often than the obviously retail-oriented Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Volkswagen Tiguan.

Honda appears set to top 300,000 U.S. sales with the CR-V this year. Ford’s current pace could see the Escape top the 300K barrier, as well. After setting a Rogue record in 2012, Nissan’s continued clear-out of the outgoing Rogue has resulted in a 15,659-unit increase through eight months. The Rogue nameplate should easily top 150,000 units in 2013. Subaru last sold more than 85,000 Foresters in 2010 but is on pace to climb above the 100K mark by New Year’s Eve. In all cases, supply will be an issue.

In seven attempts, Mazda has yet to report a year-over-year CX-5 result in the negative. In fact, all of the CX-5’s monthly gains have been above 50%. Dodge will set a Journey sales record this year thanks in no small part to a pricing strategy imported from Canada by Reid Bigland. (The Journey is typically one of the four top-selling crossovers in Chrysler-friendly Canada.

Kia’s overall inability to keep up with the market’s rate of growth is partly the fault of its two SUVs. Sportage volume is down 23% (6248 units) after falling 31% in 2012. Sorento sales slid 9% in 2012 and the arrival of the a revamped 2014 hasn’t generated an improvement as Hyundai steals some capacity for the Santa Fe. In ten of the last eleven months, Hyundai’s own Tucson has reported year-over-year declines. The Volkswagen Tiguan, meanwhile, is selling only slightly more often this year than it did last year, in a market which is up 9.5%; in an SUV/crossover market that’s up more than 13%.


August 2013
August 2012
% Change
mos. 2013
mos. 2012
% Change
Chevrolet Captiva Sport
5735 2464 + 133% 33,045 24,299 + 36.0%
Chevrolet Equinox
25,073 20,231 + 23.9% 169,977 151,027 + 12.5%
Dodge Journey
8890 7922 + 12.2% 57,834 51,724 + 11.8%
Ford Escape
26,714 28,188 - 5.2% 205,683 176,927 + 16.3%
GMC Terrain
11,120 9143 + 21.6% 69,651 63,340 + 10.0%
Honda CR-V
34,654 23,877 + 45.1% 207,643 207,643 + 8.6%
Honda Element
2 3 - 33.3%
Hyundai Santa Fe
8102 4524 + 79.1% 56,105 43,583 + 28.7%
Hyundai Tucson
3886 5376 - 27.7% 30,042 33,271 - 9.7%
Jeep Compass
5249 3756 + 39.7% 37,249 28,368 + 31.3%
Jeep Patriot
7170 5056 + 41.8% 52,857 43,633 + 21.1%
Kia Sorento
10,568 10,529 + 0.4% 73,531 78,098 - 5.8%
Kia Sportage
3140 3097 + 1.4% 21,037 27,285 - 22.9%
Mazda CX-5
8506 4665 + 82.3% 54,388 24,904 + 118%
Mazda CX-7
204 - 100% 1 11,187 - 99.99%
Mazda Tribute
502 - 100%
Mitsubishi Outlander
1233 607 + 103% 7588 5306 + 43.0%
Nissan Rogue
17,273 12,626 + 36.8% 113,316 97,657 + 16.0%
Subaru Forester
13,163 6956 + 89.2% 73,752 50,505 + 46.0%
Suzuki Grand Vitara
381 - 100% 1037 3416 - 69.6%
Toyota RAV4
23,502 15,685 + 49.8% 144,314 120,371 + 19.9%
Volkswagen Tiguan
2948 2746 + 7.4% 20,744 20,652 + 0.4%
168,033 + 29.1% 1,429,796 1,263,701 + 13.1%


Disclaimer: We’ve included the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento in the mix, although they’re potential competitors for larger two and three-row SUVs. The Santa Fe Sport, for example, is more than six inches longer than the class-leading Honda CR-V with four more cubic feet of passenger volume. But it’s also nearly seven inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than the Honda Pilot, and it offers significantly less overall passenger volume. The price points for the CR-V and Santa Fe/Sorento also line up more appropriately than if we were to compare the Hyundai and Kia with the Pilot. Automakers don’t consult an official TTAC B&B Encyclopedia of Dimensions before development of a new vehicle gets underway, and models don’t always fit into the boxes labelled small, midsize, and large.

17,277 more small crossover sales came from the Buick Encore, Mini Countryman, Mini Paceman, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke, and Subaru XV Crosstrek in August. And of the 18,297 sales collected by the Toyota FJ Cruiser, Nissan Xterra, and Jeep Wrangler, the Wrangler attracted 86%, or 15,825, of the trio’s volume.

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GM, Unions Reach Tentative Agreement On CAMI Plant Mon, 16 Sep 2013 13:00:20 +0000 2010_GMC_Terrain_SLT_-_05-06-2011-450x300

GM and Unifor (the union formerly known as the CAW) have reached a tentative agreement for the 2,500 workers at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which builds the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

The Equninox and Terrain are hot sellers for GM, having sold nearly a quarter million units combined through August of this year. Inventories are tight, and a quick and easy ratification of the agreement would mean uninterrupted production for GM. Earlier in the year, there was speculation over GM moving production of the Theta twins (as they are known internally), to a cheaper location like Mexico or Tennessee. But GM ended up investing $250 million in CAMI for upgrades, including a flexible assembly line similar to the one used at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant.

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Bark’s Bites: The World’s Fastest Chevrolet Captiva, Or Why You Should Buy A Used Equinox Instead Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:30:40 +0000 capsalt (Custom)

“Sir, I apologize for your wait,” said the wrinkled, harried, middle-aged man at the rental counter. His face showed the wear of having spent every bit of fifty hours a week inside a 10′ x 10′ box at the airport garage for years. “As you can see, we’re extremely busy this morning. The moment we have a car available for you, we will get you one.”

As a frequent business traveler, I admit it-I am a travel snob. I hold the most elite status possible with three different hotel chains. I assume a First Class upgrade on all flights. Most importantly, I prowl rental cars lots with the efficiency and speed of a Great White Shark. I won’t take a car with over ten thousand miles on the clock, or without a USB port. And I never, EVER take a…

…2012 Chevrolet Captiva Sport/Saturn Vue/Opel Antara/Daewoo Winstorm. The rental-only queen that has been showing up as an Enterprise car on used car lots all across America (warning-if you ever do a CarFax search on a late-model used car and “fleet sale” shows up, RUN). Yet, unfortunately, on this incredibly hot day in Salt Lake City, that was the “first car available” following my twenty-minute wait. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge. It was either take it or wait even longer-and whatever showed up next might be worse. I figuratively held my nose and sat down behind the wheel.

Your not-so-esteemed author was previously the proud owner of a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox 1LT four-cylinder. I drove it about fifteen thousand miles before seeing the light and chopping it in for a Flex. I know the faults and virtues of that model pretty well. As I pulled away from the rental car garage, therefore, it occurred to me that many TTAC readers might be wondering the following:

“Bark, I have about $22k to spend on a mid-size CUV. I’ve seen 2012 Captivas and 2011 Equinoxes in that range-if I can get a rip-roaring deal on a Captiva, should I get it and save the money over the Equinox?”

And the answer is: go read our own Alex Dykes’ excellent review of this car and make your own sensible decision.

If, on the other hand, you want to know how fast the Captiva is, stick around. Off to the Bonneville Salt Flats! Regular Bark’s Bites readers (Hi Mom!) will remember our sordid tale of rescuing a stuck rental driver from the flats. If you haven’t read that, click this link, read it, and come back.

Back? Ok, good. As you’ve just read, the official speedway part of the Salt Flats was completely flooded on this day, and I imagine many days before and since.

Luckily, the three and a half mile access road out to the flats were just fine. During August, when the flats are formally open, the speed limit on the service road is rigorously enforced. When the flats are flooded and nobody’s on the road, it’s possible to get away with a little more. Cue the GoPro (warning: do not try this on your own salt flats at home. Driver is a fully-insured autocrosser with low eyes and twitchy hands)!

One hundred ten electronically-limited miles per hour, and it didn’t take abnormally long to get there. And here’s the funny thing-it actually felt pretty good at that speed. Stability was good, ride was relatively quiet (considering that I had the windows down), and, most importantly, neither the brakes nor the engine overheated as I slowed the car to a halt. Although the ambient temperature out on the salt flats was hovering in the 105-degree range, engine temperature peaked at a reasonable 195 degrees during our flat-out and quickly cooled afterwards.

It’s amazing how a triple-digit jaunt can change your opinion of most cars. Unfortunately, the Captiva Sport isn’t one of them. It’s still ugly as your back-up prom date, still gets poor gas mileage for the segment, and still has electronics and displays that probably felt out of date the first day a Saturn Vue rolled off the assembly line. The stereo system was incapable of properly reproducing Jimmy Garrison’s work on “A Love Supreme,” thereby rendering it useless to anyone who appreciates real music. It’s simply not better at anything than an Equinox.

So… should you get the ex-rental ride Captiva over the still-in-showroom-demand Equinox? I’d have to say: no. The savings represented over a similar vintage Equinox only really amount to a grand or two, and the Equinox is a modern CUV that your neighbors will nod approvingly at in your driveway. The Captiva simply isn’t.

Not that we didn’t enjoy the Captiva while we had it. How often does even the most frequent of fliers get to drive a car on the famed Salt Flats or wind one out without fear of a massive speeding ticket? But that just goes to show: even lame cars, in the right situation, can be a whole lot of fun.


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CAMI Gets $250 Million Investment For Flexible Assembly Line Fri, 08 Mar 2013 22:28:10 +0000

GM announced a $250 million dollar investment for the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontaro. CAMI is the main production site for the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain (also known as the Theta crossovers), two of GM’s best selling models, and the investment comes amid uncertainty over the fate of CAMI itself.

Earlier in the year, CAMI was one of three sites being considered for production of the next generation Terrain and Equinox, along with GM’s former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee and a site in Mexico. In its current state, CAMI is running beyond maximum capacity, with overflow being sent to GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant as well as Spring Hill. Both Spring Hill and Mexico were being considered due to the lower costs; Tennessee is staffed mainly by new hires who are paid wages roughly half that of most UAW workers, while Mexico’s costs are substantially lower than in Canada or the United States.

While GM ultimately decided to invest the $250 million in CAMI, there is no official word on whether it will build the crossovers. A GM press release described the investment as being earmarked for a flexible assembly line, similar to the one utilized in Oshawa. A flex line is capable of building any number of vehicles on one assembly line. While crossovers make up 40 percent of Canada’s light vehicle exports, this opens the door for CAMI to produce almost anything in GM’s lineup.

On the other hand, there are a few factors that could pop up at a later date. CAMI could see Theta production migrate elsewhere, as GM attempts to increase the profitability of these vehicles, which sold over 300,000 units combined in 2012. Another issue is possible job losses associated with increased robotization, something the Canadian Auto Workers union is well aware of. And finally, the CAMI investment raises further questions about the future of Oshawa, which has slowly seen its product migrate back to American plants.

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CAW Opens Up CAMI Contract, Horse Trading Begins For Theta Crossovers Mon, 11 Feb 2013 19:01:15 +0000

CAW members at GM’s CAMI plant in Ontario have voted to begin negotiating their contracts as early as this week  after a vote by workers. At stake is the production of the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox, two popular crossovers that may have their production moved to Mexico or the United States.

The Theta crossovers, as their known internally, are hot sellers for GM. CAMI is working beyond capacity, and overflow production is currently being sent to the former Saturn site in Tennessee that has been rumored as a possible full-time production facility. The CAW will reportedly seek a deal that is similar to the pattern agreement reached with workers at GM’s Oshawa plants this past summer. GM officials previously hinted that an early contract negotiation and agreement would significantly bolster the Theta crossovers chances of staying in Ontario, rather than moving them to locations with lower labor costs like Mexico or Tennessee.

Another issue in play is whether GM could even do so without violating a key bailout condition. GM is required to keep at least 16 percent of its production in Canada as part of its Canadian bailout package. Having already partially moved the next-generation Impala to Michigan, GM may be in danger of falling below the threshold if Theta production were to go as well (and no replacement product was found).

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GM, CAW Angling For Renewed Crossover Production In Canada Mon, 21 Jan 2013 18:03:47 +0000

The cost of doing business in Canada may be high for auto makers, but that isn’t stopping GM from looking to re-negotiate their contract with the CAW nearly a year in advance as a means of keeping production of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain at the CAMI plant in Ontario.

While GM has proposed moving production to facilities in Mexico and Tennessee, the auto maker is leaning in favor of sticking with CAMI (though a current arrangement has overflow being sent to Tennessee).

The Globe and Mail reports that GM would like to start negotiations with the CAW soon, rather than in September, to get a better picture of the long-term labor costs associated with production at CAMI. Workers will ostensibly get the same deal that GM’s Oshawa workers recieved, though CAMI’s workforce isn’t able to take advantage of provisions in the deal that mandate cheaper wages for new hires, a key cost cutting measure for GM. With three shifts and overtime in place, there will be little hiring of new workers, meaning that legacy workers and their higher labor costs will continue to make up the bulk of the workforce.

Strong sales of the crossovers has meant that CAMI is operating at 150 percent of capacity, making it one of GM’s most successful plants. Aside from the plant’s success, the continued production of the Equinox and Terrain in Canada will help satisfy GM’s requirements to build at least 16 percent of its vehicles in Canada, under the terms of a bailout package handed out to GM by two levels of Canadian government. Early reports suggested that the departure of the Impala and Equinox/Terrian would bring GM below that threshold.

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TTAC Rewind: Fuel Economy Skulduggery Is Nothing New Sat, 03 Nov 2012 13:00:26 +0000

Hyundai and Kia being called on the carpet for inflated fuel economy claims is a great story for a slow Friday; everybody likes to see a rising star get taken down a notch, and the two Koreans have been the Cinderella story of the auto industry for the last couple of years.

Small wonder then, that in 2010, TTAC reported on some suspect fuel economy figures over in Detroit, similar to what happened with Hyundai/Kia. And nothing was ever done about it.

TTAC examined the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Chevrolet Equinox back in February, 2010. A survey of various road tests (including the vaunted Consumer Reports test) revealed that the Equinox was far from achieving its stated 32 mpg highway rating. The results ranged from 18-25 mpg, far from the advertised figures. That’s anywhere from 22-43 percent lower than Chevrolet’s claims.

In the case of the Fusion Hybrid, the claimed 39 mpg didn’t materialize; most outlets returned 34 mpg. In both cases, the results returned were similar to their competitors, but not close to their stated ratings.

In light of all that, it’s worth asking, why Hyundai/Kia and why now? And why not GM and Ford in 2010? The official line is that the EPA decided to re-test those vehicles as part of their annual campaign to randomly test 15 percent of cars for fuel economy accuracy. The process supposedly validates the self-reporting process for automakers, though they made a point of stating the magnitude of the Hyundai snafu.

The EPA’s auditing of mileage claims by automakers rarely uncovers misrepresentations. It has happened only twice since 2000, the EPA says.

But this is the “first time where a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer have deviated so significantly,” the agency said.

Compared to the discrepancies at Hyundai (1-3 mpg on average), the missing mpgs for the Equinox are a big deal. The Equinox is a volume product for GM, one of the best-selling crossovers in the segment, and one of its selling points is its superior fuel economy. Why wasn’t anything done about it? I’ll turn it over to Paul Niedermeyer, author of the Equinox piece, to explain

Conspiracy theories are not exactly our preferred fall-back explanation, but it really is rather curious that these two particular cars (Equinox, Fusion Hybrid) are both being heavily advertised (despite the Fusion hybrid’s limited availability) as symbols of American auto manufacturer’s ability to deliver class-leading fuel efficient vehicles. And they carry that EPA stamp of approval. Yet neither of them delivers; in fact the Equinox actually underperforms its peers.

Keep in mind that the EPA tests are not actually performed by the EPA, but by the manufacturers themselves, with a small percentage of cars potentially retested by the EPA. Have they retested the Equinox or the Fusion Hybrid? And if they fell short, would we actually ever hear about it?


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OnStar Glitch Causes GM To Halt Sales Of Certain Models Sat, 08 Sep 2012 17:18:56 +0000

A software glitch in the OnStar system caused GM to halt sales of certain models, including the brand-new Cadillac ATS.

Some 60,000 vehicles were affected by the glitch, which prevents OnStar’s crash notification system from notifying their call center in certain collisions that don’t trigger the airbags. Among the cars affected are the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox, Cruze and Volt, the Cadillac XTS and ATS, the 2012 Cadillac SRX , the Buick Verano and the GMC Terrain.

According to Automotive News, GM sent a memo to dealers telling them to “stop the delivery” of affected vehicles, and that the issue would be cleared by late September. Most vehicles can be fixed via a remote software flash, however some cars require a manual upgrade performed at the dealer.

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Closing Oshawa Could Violate GM’s Bailout Conditions Fri, 22 Jun 2012 13:55:18 +0000

As part of their bailout package, General Motors agreed that at least 16 percent of its North American production would take place in Canada. The closing of the Oshawa consolidated line may cause GM to be in violation of those terms.

A report in the Globe and Mail states that unless GM can find more capacity, whether at the Oshawa flex line or elsewhere, GM will only be building 13 percent of its North American-produced vehicles in Canada once production of the Impala and Equinox moves to factories in the United States. Currently, the two Oshawa lines and the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario account for a 21 percent share.

GM says it intends to honor its commitments, but no government officials would divulge the penalties or mechanisms in place to ensure that GM complies. Negotiations with the CAW are scheduled to begin this summer, and the union is hoping to save the roughly 2,000 jobs at stake by reversing GM’s decision on the consolidated line and convincing them to add a third shift to the Oshawa flex line, something that GM says is not in the cards.


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GM Closing Oshawa Consolidated Line, Equinox And Impala Production Moving To United States Fri, 01 Jun 2012 01:02:30 +0000

General Motors will announce tomorrow that their consolidated line at Oshawa, currently building both the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Impala, will close. 2,000 of the 4,000 jobs at the Oshawa plant are located at the consolidated factory, and GM apparently won’t be re-investing in the facility.

Under the new plan, GM would move Chevrolet Impala production to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, and any overflow production would not return to the Oshawa “flex line” because the 2014 Impala is a “different body style”. The Equinox will likely move to Spring Hill, TN

A report by a local media outlet quoted CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley as stating that Impala production would be split between Michigan and a plant in Alabama, but no GM plants in the South come to mind. Buckley is also quoted as saying that the UAW agreed to be more flexible with their contract in a bid to bring more vehicle production to the USA.

Although TTAC often gets accused of anti-GM, anti-Union bias, its a sad day when 2,000 hard working GM employees get caught in the midst of corporate politics factors like an a favorable exchange rate (as the B&B have pointed out). One of GM’s best plans, which has won accolades for the high quality of its vehicles, will end up shuttered permanently. No official announcement has been made, but we’ll be keeping an eye out.


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Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain Crossovers Are A Hot Item – But Only In 4-Cylinder Trim Fri, 16 Mar 2012 19:29:35 +0000

Even though GMC made a fuss over their Terrain Denali, with its new 3.6L V6, this past week, the hot ticket seems to be the 4-cylinder Terrain, along with its Chevrolet stablemate, the Chevrolet Equinox.

GM confirmed that they have placed “temporary order limits” on the 2.4L 4-cylinder models. Supplies have been low, and while they typically account for most of the crossover model’s sales, higher gas prices have only increased demand for them. In 2011, the 4-cylinder models made up 87 percent of sales. That number has fallen to 79 percent last month.

A rebate of $1,000 on V6 models is being offered, but one dealer told Automotive News that he was required to take three V6 models on his last Equinox allocations. GM said that the 4-cylinder supply is affected by a supplier issue that does not affect the engine itself. The 2.4L Ecotec engine makes 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque while returning 32 mpg on the highway.


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