By on February 24, 2017

GM: Barra at 2016 GM Annual Stockholders Meeting

For now, legislation restricting the use of those pesky self-driving cars is mainly up to individual states. Because no one wants an experimental, untested car piloting their local roadways, states have erected legislative safety barriers that, for the most part, restrict pilot projects in certain areas, or on certain roads.

As everyone waits for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make up its mind and put blanket regulations in place, an angry chorus of complaints from Silicon Valley startups is growing louder, accusing state lawmakers of favoring the old guard when it comes to fostering automotive technology.

Only naturally, concerns about corporate money influencing government decisions arose. One automaker’s political action fund seems more active than others (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2017

Opel Ampera-e

Peugeot Citroën’s planned purchase of Opel and its operations from General Motors is believed to be largely a done deal, with only minor details remaining.

According to Bildthe details will be announced on the first of March. It’s thought that both GM and PSA want to sign the papers before the Geneva International Autosalon, where Opel will introduce the new Insignia sedan and PSA plans to show the new DS7 mid-size crossover. The deal does not include Australia’s once-glorious-but-now-gutted Holden brand. (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback LT Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t long ago that the Detroit Three were fending off the Japanese on home soil as the Land of the Rising Sun cranked out reliable car after reliable car for the American masses. Then came the Koreans — Kia and Hyundai — who brought over cheap metal to win market share but quickly turned around their quality and reliability woes and produced some of the best products in the industry.

So why is it that, after 108 years of building automobiles, General Motors still manufactures abysmal garbage?

(Read More…)

By on February 22, 2017

Opel Insignia Sport Tourer

Opel autoworkers and executives worried that a French takeover will see their pretzels and bratwurst replaced by baguettes and brie can rest easy, or so the automaker looking to buy their company claims.

France’s PSA Group, which could submit a bid to buy Opel and sister division Vauxhall this week, would give the German automaker the autonomy it desperately craves, the company’s CEO told labor reps and Germany’s chancellor.

That elongated “Z” won’t become a fleur-de-lis. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2017

2017 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD

In the dark days of the recession, as General Motors was frantically attempting to save itself from the abyss, many thought it odd that the automaker’s GMC division was saved while a storied brand like Pontiac met its executioner. As for Saturn and Hummer, well, let’s just say far fewer tears were spilled over those deaths.

Clearly, GM saw long-term profitability in its carless brand — a prediction that has since panned out. From a low point in 2009, GMC sales doubled to 558,697 units by 2015. However, it isn’t the number of vehicles sold that’s the sweet spot for the automaker — it’s the number of GMCs sold in top-end Denali trim.

At GM’s utility brand, luxury versions of non-luxury vehicles are proving increasingly popular. (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

opel-cascada-4

What’s the selling price for a huge automaker’s entire European operations? $2 billion, apparently — one billion in cash and another billion in gained liabilities.

That’s the valuation that General Motors and PSA Group are discussing as the American automaker attempts to unload its Opel and Vauxhall divisions, Bloomberg reports. (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

GMC Unveils Terrain and Terrain Denali

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal may have killed that company’s diesel presence in North America, but it didn’t kill demand for diesel engines in general — especially ones that don’t pollute like Chernobyl and end up in the trash heap.

At least, that’s General Motors’ take on it. The automaker hopes to fill the void created by VW’s oil-burning absence and, in doing so, score some points with the EPA. With diesel engines now available in five vehicles you won’t see on a worksite (and five more that you would), GM has high hopes it can erase memories of its 1980s diesel woes. (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2017

General Motors #AMERICA

Before the end of the 1980s, disenchanted drivers were voting with their wallets in ever greater numbers. Family sedan buyers, burned by the quality control issues of the late 1970s, turned their attention to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, while German automakers increasingly carved off a larger slice of the premium segment pie.

In many cases, the buyers who turned their backs on domestic vehicles stayed in their new camp for years, buying another, and then another Japanese or German car. Luring them back remains a difficult task, as stigma often fades at a slower rate than quality improves.

“Buy American” campaigns are nothing new, but President Donald Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office has spurred a newfound focus on the health of the Detroit Three automakers. In a bid to bolster that health, the United Auto Workers union is on the verge of telling you to drive past all those import dealers.

Come home to America. (Read More…)

By on February 16, 2017

Hindustan Ambassador Nova (1990)

Peugeot seems to be on a roll. PSA Group, formerly known as PSA Peugeot Citroën, announced a new five-year strategy last year after its bailout by the French government. This week we’ve seen some big movement on a potential purchase of Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors. The news was upsetting at Opel’s headquarters in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and the rumblings were loud enough to warrant a personal visit from GM CEO Mary Barra.

In lesser reported news, however, Peugeot’s net has already been cast over a storied Indian nameplate — the Hindustan Ambassador.

(Read More…)

By on February 15, 2017

Opel-Astra-295903

After yesterday’s shocking news of a potential takeover of GM-owned Opel and Vauxhall by France’s PSA Group, General Motors CEO Mary Barra hopped on a plane to the Fatherland.

Given the sudden uncertainty surrounding a major employer, Opel’s works council, labor union and the German government staged a collective panic attack. Soothing words were needed, stat. Britain, home of Opel’s Vauxhall sister division, would also like to hear a few assurances of its own. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

Charles de Gaulle in a Citroen DS (Image: Gnotype/Flickr)

Maybe it’s leftover regional rivalry from generations past, or perhaps Germany just doesn’t want anything to affect its status as Europe’s financial powerhouse. Whatever the deep-seated reason, the residents of Deutschland are none too pleased about a possible French takeover of the Opel brand.

Earlier today, PSA Group, maker of Citroën and Peugeot vehicles, was revealed to be in serious talks to acquire the General Motors-owned automaker (as well as its Vauxhall sister company). Politicians and the head of Opel’s workers union apparently didn’t see this coming.

On the other side of the Maginot Line, the French seem just fine with the idea. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

Oldsmobile Intrigue 442

Last week, we kicked off this Rare Rides series with a shockingly wedge-y Ghia Probe, but that feels a little international, a bit foreign.

Let’s see a familiar brand from the good old USA that’s never pretended to be international. It wears an Oldsmobile badge and stripes tinted with that familiar shade of Hurst gold.

Behold, the 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue 442.

(Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

2008 Pontiac Solstice, Image: General Motors

General Motors has issued an airbag recall for the long-gone Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. The recall relates to the passenger presence sensor (PPS), which may become damaged and cause the passenger airbag to not deploy during a crash.

We initially covered this issue in 2015 after noticing that complaints were piling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and that the PPS design was similar to other models already recalled by GM. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

opel-insignia-grand-sport-304401

Multiple media sources are reporting that an acquisition of General Motors’ European divisions by France’s PSA Group could occur within a matter of days.

Talks between GM and PSA, maker of the Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands, are reportedly at an “advanced stage.” If finalized, the deal would see GM shed the money-losing divisions it has owned for nearly a century. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2017

MAVEN APP

While Ford is currently the domestic automaker making the biggest push into in mobility services — which seem to entail practically anything outside of traditional manufacturing and distribution — it isn’t the only company preparing itself for an era of declining vehicle ownership. FCA has partnered with Waymo to develop a fleet of self-driving Pacificas and General Motors has a personal mobility brand, called Maven, that acts as a car-sharing service.

While it isn’t quite so technologically advanced as autonomous vehicles or automotive A.I., Maven provides additional revenue immediately and furnishes GM with a unique opportunity to cope with some of the ownership problems of tomorrow. Car-sharing is good way for GM to profit from people who don’t own cars, but it’s also a clever method of getting young urban drivers to spend money on becoming more familiar with their product — especially on the coasts where import brands tend to outsell their domestic counterparts. (Read More…)

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