By on January 17, 2017

GM: Barra at 2016 GM Annual Stockholders Meeting

Not wanting to be left out of the flurry of recent U.S. investment announcements from various automakers, General Motors arrived at the party with cash in hand and second thoughts about Mexico.

GM says it will invest an extra $1 billion in its U.S. operations, with the cash covering several new vehicle projects, as well as some advanced technologies and components initiatives. The funding comes hot on the heels of similar announcements from Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and, just this morning, Hyundai/Kia.

In a nod to the political climate in America, GM will shuffle some outsourced parts production back to U.S. soil. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

2017 Bolt

Chevrolet has released the state-by-state distribution plan for the Chevrolet Bolt, with the all-electric subcompact gradually trickling inland from the coats from now until the third quarter. Nineteen states will see a preliminary wave of deliveries completed by summer’s end. That’s assuming, of course, that dealerships ordered the EV in a punctual manner and production keeps pace.

The manufacturer was careful to call this an “approximate” timeline.  (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

2015 Chevrolet SS front

Unless your local police force harbors a crop of non-conformists, it’s easy to believe rear-drive Chevrolet sedans bowed out in the 1990s.

Of course, that’s not true. General Motor’s Australian Holden division saw fit to continue sending a limited number of rebadged Commodore sedans our way, long after the Impala and Caprice faded into the history books. Gussied up with a few tell-tale styling cues, the Commodore easily morphed into the performance-oriented Chevrolet SS and fleet-only Caprice PPV. Both models sell in limited numbers on this side of the Pacific, but not for long.

With Holden poised to pull the plug on Australian manufacturing later this year, the old-school Commodore has only months left to live. That means the exotic, badge-engineered American brothers will cease to exist after the 2017 model year.

(Read More…)

By on January 6, 2017

Cadillac ATS-V.

If you’ve ever found yourself buying someone a $10,000 handbag or worrying that not enough of your clothing is made from cashmere or silk, you’ll want to know that Cadillac will let you “subscribe” to its cars for a tidy monthly sum of $1,500.

“Book” by Cadillac is a $500 app that lets you select the most premium offerings from the brand and have it delivered to your door. However, you’re not leasing or purchasing a vehicle from General Motors’ flagship brand — you’re just borrowing one. Cadillac is touting this as some sort of transformative, fancy-free way to own a car. Still, it doesn’t actually alleviate most of the problems associated with car ownership, especially not in the urban markets it plans to test the service in.  (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Sedan Monroney, Made in Mexico, Image: © Bozi Tatarevic/The Truth About Cars

Update: Added dealer info, sales background.

Contrary to a statement released two days ago by General Motors, it seems not all Cruze sedans sold in the United States are made in the United States.

According to TTAC alum Ed Niedermeyer, a number of 2017 Chevrolet Cruzes — even those for sale at a dealer in Lordstown, Ohio, where GM manufactures the Cruze in the United States — are Hecho en Mexico.

(Read More…)

By on January 5, 2017

2015 Ford F-150 crew cab

Thanks to improved midsize-truck sales, record Ram volume, and the best annual results for the Ford F-Series in more than a decade, U.S. sales of pickup trucks climbed to 2.69 million units in 2016.

The 6-percent year-over-year growth rate among pickup trucks shamed the industry at large — auto sales grew only 0.3 percent in 2016. Yet while auto sales reached record levels, spurred along in part by pickup improvements, truck sales haven’t quite returned to the glory days. Not yet.

Americans acquired an average of more than 3 million pickup trucks per year during a five-year period ending in 2007, the last time total pickup truck sales volume was stronger than it is now.

Some things haven’t changed, however. Ford sells the most popular full-size pickup truck line; 2016 was the F-Series 40th consecutive year as the segment’s top seller. And America’s top-selling manufacturer reigns as the top-selling manufacturer of pickup trucks.  (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

Updated with statement from General Motors.

It’s not just Ford’s Mexican assembly plants that has President-elect steaming on Twitter.

Donald Trump’s latest online automotive salvo wasn’t directed at the Blue Oval, which was a favorite corporate punching bag during the election campaign. Rather, it was General Motors’ turn to be blasted. (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2016

2003 Chevrolet Tahoe

Not that one, obviously. That one’s mine, and it’s pretty old. As 2016 finishes itself off, I want to get your take on the best GM vehicle sold this year.

(Read More…)

By on December 22, 2016

2016 Cadillac CT6

Owning a range-topping Cadillac is supposed to be a trouble-free affair, and — barring gremlins — it still can be, so long as your sharp-edged, oddly light CT6 remains unbent and unbroken.

Cadillac’s liberal use of high-strength aluminum in the sedan’s body structure won accolades when the CT6 debuted for the 2016 model year. Body stiffness, curb weight, and fuel economy all benefit from this mingling of metals. However, trouble arises when those carefully bonded metals come apart.

As it turns out, fixing a damaged CT6 could prove difficult for many of the model’s 7,876-plus owners. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2016
2016 Buick Encore
Electra. Wildcat. Grand National. Riviera. Buick has some storied names in its history. Unfortunately, as we wind down 2016, all of those nice names remain long gone, never to return.

In their place, throughout the decades, there have been some awful sedans, a truck-based item, even a minivan. We’ve also got some tasty crossovers which may or may not be propping up Opel’s failing product line across the ocean, and also appealing to and/or made in China.

So, let’s decide if the Encore is actually the worst offering Buick ever unleashed, all things considered. Shall we?

By on December 19, 2016

Camaro Cash On Hood

(Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information.)

Not since the dark days of the recession has General Motors had so many vehicles clogging its inventory.

Bursting at the seams with unsold cars (but not trucks or SUVs), the automaker will temporarily turn out the lights at five assembly plants and kill off three shifts in order to bring things back into balance. For thousands of workers, that means the kind of extended Christmas holiday you don’t want. (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2016

2017 Malibu 9T50 nine-speed automatic - Image: General Motors

We moved past three on the tree. We’ve long since bid farewell to four on the floor. The ZF six-speed automatic transmission that helped to make the 2001 BMW 7 Series seem so forward-thinking at the dawn of the millennium was usurped by a seven-speed unit from Mercedes-Benz a couple of years later, and then by the Lexus LS’s eight-speed automatic in 2007.

Nine-speed automatics are all over the place: in the 2017 Acura MDX I’m driving this week, in numerous Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products, and in ten General Motors models by the end of 2017. Now the most popular line of vehicles in North America, the Ford F-Series, is arriving at dealers near you with ten-speed automatic transmissions.

But when is enough enough? How many gears is too many? Are there diminishing returns as the number of gears in an automatic transmission increases?

GM says nine is enough. Okay, ten is plenty if you insist. Ah, whatever, maybe more would be wonderful.  (Read More…)

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