By on April 24, 2017

General Motors Renaissance Center

Last week, General Motors’ long-idled Venezuela assembly plant fell into the hands of the country’s autocratic government, sparking the automaker’s exit from the strife-ridden nation.

With its material assets out of its hands, the automaker’s Venezuelan subsidiary jettisoned the plant’s entire 2,700-person workforce today, Reuters reports. It did so in as abrupt a manner as the takeover itself. Meanwhile, the government wants to chat. (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2017

2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Culver City - Image: Cadillac“Levels that were once seen as excessive are now sustainable.”
—Uwe Ellinghaus, Chief Marketing Officer, Cadillac

Cadillac expects to see auto sales in the United States in calendar year 2017 fall just below 2016’s best-ever results, which GM’s premium brand considers a positive sign for the U.S. auto industry and Cadillac.

While the decline reported America’s auto industry in March 2017 drew headlines because 2017’s first-quarter encompassed three consecutive months of year-over-year decline, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer, Uwe Ellinghaus, views the results through another lens.

“What they call a cooling off I say is the best thing that has ever happened,” Ellinghaus told Automotive News. “We don’t see that the party is over. It’s continuing.”

Cadillac? Party? Huh? (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2017

[Image: Wikimedia Comonns]

As Venezuela descends even further into economic and social turmoil, and as mass demonstrations turn violent, we learned yesterday that General Motors’ Valencia assembly plant is no longer in the hands of General Motors.

The plant, which has sat idle for months, was “unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations,” the automaker stated. Supposedly, the reason for seizing the asset lies in a 17-year-old lawsuit filed by a disgruntled dealer group angry over torn-up contracts. The dealers wanted billions of dollars in compensation — a sum that GM said “exceeds all logic.”

A new report has shed more light on the automaker’s situation, revealing that the government wasn’t the first group to seize the factory and bar the doors. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2017

cruise automation

General Motors’ self-driving startup, Cruise Automation, has trickled out dash cam videos of an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt milling around San Francisco since February. The video quality was poor and it wasn’t anything we hadn’t already seen from a self-driving car. Tesla went so far as to call tech startups like Cruise Automation and Otto “small teams of programmers with little more than demoware” and scolded Ford, GM, and Uber for investing billions of dollars into “unproven” projects.

However, Cruise’s most recent video seems to show that it has made some legitimate progress in the last three months. Set at night, the clip shows the self-driving Bolt navigating a dense urban environment while avoiding collisions with cyclists, pedestrians, and even a raccoon.

We have to take General Motors’ word for there being zero human intervention, since we never get a clear view of the steering wheel, but the company has assured us that is the case. We also noticed the Bolt never makes a single right turn on red, even when it seemed safe to do so, and reached out to GM to ask why. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2017

General Motors HQ

If your news diet occasionally strays outside of the automotive realm, then you know that Venezuela is going through a “transitional phase.” The country’s economy is experiencing uncontrollable inflation, unemployment is around 25 percent, food is scarce, and public health services have become nonexistent. There is also more political turmoil than any single country could possibly handle. Venezuela’s capital of Caracas is now a hotbed of increasingly violent protests, as critics of President Nicolas Maduro are met with heavily armed security forces.

The opposition blames Maduro and the Supreme Court for turning the country in to a dictatorship after dissolving the National Assembly’s ability to govern. There are also claims that the leftist government is overstepping its bounds when it comes to property rights.

While you wouldn’t expect an automaker to weigh in on the matter, General Motors is accusing Venezuelan authorities of the illegal seizure of a plant in the industrial center of Valencia and has vowed to “take all legal actions” necessary to defend its rights. It’s also ceasing operations within the country.  (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

saic-motor-mg-crossover

SAIC Motor, China’s largest state-owned automotive manufacturer, is canceling its plans to export vehicles into North America. Likely fearful of the current administration’s trade proposals, SAIC is blaming President Donald Trump for its hesitation to enter the Western market.

Of course, the Chinese automaker isn’t ruling anything out entirely. Michael Yang, the executive director of SAIC’s international division, explained at the Shanghai motor show that the company might resume its plans for U.S. expansion once trade tensions ease between the two countries. As the Trump administration hasn’t exactly celebrated the idea of imported goods and foreign manufacturing, it could be a long wait. In the meantime, SAIC Motor will be focusing its efforts on the European market.  (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

2018 Buick Regal Sportback

Buick did a bad job hiding the fact that a brawny GS variant of its 2018 Regal Sportback is on the way. It accidentally teased the vehicle’s presence on its Canadian website earlier this month before attempting — and failing — to remove all traces of this nugget from the internet.

Well, thanks to the California Air Resources Board, we now have documented proof of the GS’s return. The go-fast Buick will bow as a 2018 model, perhaps concurrently with its liftback and wagon siblings, but don’t expect any drivetrain similarities to the outgoing model. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2017

lansing assemblyl

General Motors will be idling multiple North American plants for 10 weeks this year to allow for the factory retooling necessary to build upcoming models. It also provides a buffer for the overabundance of product it currently has. At the moment, GM has a 97-day supply of vehicles. That’s well above industry average and substantially higher than its domestic peers. As of April 1st, Ford Motor Co. had 80 day’s worth of product and FCA had 82.

“Our inventory is high because we’re going to take 10 weeks out in the back end of the year as we’re modifying our plants, particularly with pickup trucks,” Alan Batey, GM’s head of North America, explained to reporters after GM unveiled a redesigned Buick Enclave. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2017

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The second-generation Buick Enclave will be the first model in the brand’s lineup to gussy itself up in an Avenir cloak.

While Buick’s extra-lux sub-brand will soon attach itself to other models, the redesigned 2018 Enclave unveiled at this week’s New York International Auto Show serves as the vanguard of the automaker’s upselling ploy. If GMC can do it with Denali, Buick’s going to try its best to scoop up those extra bucks. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD – Image: © Timothy Cain

You’re about to read a review of the 2017 Buick Encore Premium AWD, and you’re quite possibly well aware of the criticism the Encore has endured here at The Truth About Cars.

“The Encore is one of the worst cars I’ve driven in a long time,” TTAC’s former managing editor wrote in 2015. “Is the Encore the worst Buick ever?” Corey Lewis asked late last year.

Meanwhile, the Encore has appeared on my personal list of the eight vehicles I don’t want to own for four consecutive years.

Building good small cars is hard. It turns out, building good small SUVs — we can call them subcompact crossovers — based on those small cars can be just as challenging. That doesn’t mean Buick got the Chevrolet Sonic-based Encore all wrong. Refreshed for 2017, the Buick Encore has some redeeming qualities.

Would I buy one? At $35,825, you can’t be serious. But I’m beginning to understand why your mother might want an Encore. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

2000 Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon

Our last couple of Rare Rides have been special limited edition vehicles. Last week we saw a GMC Spectre which, upon viewing, my friend declared, “That interior looks like an old Taco Bell!” Prior to that, a Nissan Desert Runner made all your Zima-beach-toting dreams come true, even with its sketchy and unclear history.

But today’s limited edition is more rare and more ugly than either of those two prior examples. It’s also newer, which makes its styling all the more egregious and offensive. By the year 2000, we were supposed to be beyond such gaudy nonsense. But the Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon Signature Series Commemorative Edition is as ridiculous as its name is long.

(Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

2017 Cadillac CT6 3.0TT - Image: © Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

Cadillac announced its autonomous driving system Super Cruise is ready and will be available this fall. The system, designed to compete directly with Tesla’s Autopilot, will first appear on the Cadillac CT6.

It doesn’t sound like GM has pulled any punches. Super Cruise is touting some serious features.

(Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

General Motors

Can we call it a hot hatch? The next-generation 2018 Buick Regal bowed earlier this week in Sportback and TourX wagon form, but one variant was missing from the spotlight: the go-fast GS model.

While the existing Regal GS makes do with a high-output turbocharged four, a source told us last year the new Regal would offer six-cylinder motivation. So far, the launch date and the TourX wagon variant claims have come to pass, though there’s still no V6 Regal in sight.

Actually, there is. And it happens to be in plain sight. (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

Unlike the new crop of sport-oriented crossovers bound from Europe, full-size, body-on-frame American SUVs usually fail to elicit much excitement among enthusiasts. General Motors hopes to change that.

Starting this fall, the General will begin handing over keys to a new variant of its venerable Tahoe and Suburban — one that promises to get junior soccer teams to the practice field with newfound vigor. While the RST (Rally Sport Truck) trim brings a host of performance upgrades, it also gives Tahoe buyers an opportunity to kick that 5.3-liter V8 to the curb. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

Opel Insignia Grand Sport

General Motors’ sale of Opel to France’s PSA Group sparked much debate on what the European division’s loss would mean for Buick, which holds strong product ties with the German manufacturer.

The new Buick Regal, which bowed today in liftback and wagon bodystyles, shares its architecture with Opel’s new-for-2017 Insignia. At the 2018 model’s Detroit-area launch, GM’s executives downplayed the impact on its Buick division, claiming there’s no disruption in sight for the brand. (Read More…)

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