The Truth About Cars » general motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:56:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (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 » general motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com “You Get A Car! You Get A Car! You Get A Car!” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/get-car-get-car-get-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/get-car-get-car-get-car/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:16:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911202 This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Oprah’s now infamous “Pontiac G6 Giveaway”, where all 276 members of her studio audience won a Pontiac G6. Greg Migliore of Autoblog took a look back at the event, and even managed to track down a few recipients of Oprah’s generosity to find out what happened to the cars. […]

The post “You Get A Car! You Get A Car! You Get A Car!” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Click here to view the embedded video.

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Oprah’s now infamous “Pontiac G6 Giveaway”, where all 276 members of her studio audience won a Pontiac G6. Greg Migliore of Autoblog took a look back at the event, and even managed to track down a few recipients of Oprah’s generosity to find out what happened to the cars.

One of the most interesting parts of the story focuses on the tax liability foisted upon studio guests. Even though the cars were “free”, some guests faced a 5 figure tax bill merely for winning the car.

“William Toebe attended the show with his wife, Jillaine, and he immediately thought of the tax implications, which stretched to $6,000 or more for some audience members. It was a tough reality for many in the audience that day, some of which had been selected based on their need for a new car.

“That responsible part of me stepped forward and wondered ‘where am I going to get the money to pay the taxes?’” he recalled. Two people meant two cars – and taxes to the tune of more than $12,000. The couple took the cars, then turned around and sold them immediately, paying the required taxes and using the rest to pay off bills.

From an automotive perspective, the G6 was supposed to herald a resurgent Pontiac, being followed by the Solstice, the G8 and eventually, an all-new G6 that was to be based on the same Alpha platform that underpinned the Cadillac ATS. Alas, it was not to be. A mere 5 years later, Pontiac was sent to the gallows as part of GM’s post-bankruptcy restructuring.

 

The post “You Get A Car! You Get A Car! You Get A Car!” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/get-car-get-car-get-car/feed/ 121
Cadillac ELR Outsells Chevrolet SS In August http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-elr-outsells-chevrolet-ss-august/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-elr-outsells-chevrolet-ss-august/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:33:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908737 The Cadillac ELR flopped. Not because there wasn’t any for you to buy, but because there weren’t any buyers. This is what we knew back in April, and again back in May. July volume, however, was double what General Motors managed in June, which was nearly double what the ELR managed one month before. Now […]

The post Cadillac ELR Outsells Chevrolet SS In August appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Chevrolet SSThe Cadillac ELR flopped. Not because there wasn’t any for you to buy, but because there weren’t any buyers. This is what we knew back in April, and again back in May.

July volume, however, was double what General Motors managed in June, which was nearly double what the ELR managed one month before.

Now get this: August sales increased yet again. (There are no year-over-year figures available yet, as the ELR only arrived in December 2013.) 196 Cadillac ELRs were sold in the United States in August 2014, more than the total number of ELRs sold in December, January, February, and March combined.

196 sounds like a lot, right? Well, it sounds like a lot if we’re comparing ELR volume to the sales totals achieved by the Chevrolet SS. 

Let’s not forget, GM had no expectations for the SS. Edmunds reported last year that Chevrolet’s John Fitzpatrick figured 1700-2000 annual SS sales would be a success. (2055 have been sold in the last eight months.)  Mark Reuss had hoped for 3000-5000 per year.

And with numbers like March’s, when 350 SS sedans were sold, that’s exactly what Chevrolet was going to do, around 4200 SS sales in 2014. Those are Porsche Boxster-like numbers, Honda CR-Z-like numbers, Audi Allroad-like numbers.

Yet after averaging 291 sales per month between January and May, the SS has averaged just 203 monthly SS sales over the summer. With only 152 sold in August, the SS fell to its lowest full-month total yet.

It takes a long time for the SS-carrying ship to cross the Pacific. Your local Chevrolet dealer does not have the kind of SS availability to which a repeat Camry buyer has become accustomed. And it’s not as though the SS’s most direct rivals – SRT versions of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, for example – are a dime a dozen.

Yet if you want to better understand just how rare the Chevrolet SS really is, take a moment to consider the fact that, for the first time, Cadillac sold more ELRs in August than Chevrolet sold SSs. (Say it with me, ess-esses.) Operating under the assumption that the ELR is becoming a popular car doesn’t alter this perception of SS rarity, of course, because the ELR is not becoming a popular car. Not by any standard.

Not by the standard of a really expensive Hyundai – Equus sales fell 42% to 253 units in August. Not by the standard of the most expensive SUV – Mercedes-Benz sold 248 G-Wagens last month. The defunct Acura TSX generated 240 sales. Mini sold 228 Pacemans, Scion sold 219 iQs, and Nissan sold 208 GT-Rs.

Here’s the thing, though: GM can sell expensive vehicles in very large numbers. Corvette volume more than quadrupled to 2679 units in August, and Corvette sales have totalled 23,483 units through eight months, more than twice the volume of the whole Jaguar brand.

Sales of the regular-wheelbase Escalade and long-wheelbase Escalade ESV are jointly up jumped 79% last month to 3534 units, more than the Mercedes-Benz GL and Lincoln Navigator lineups combined.

GM’s share of the volume-brand full-size SUV segment shot up to 83% in August as the company’s four nameplates grabbed the top four spots.

But Chevrolet sedans with base prices above $43,000 and Volt-based Cadillac coupes with $75,000 stickers? This is not how GM brings home the bacon.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

The post Cadillac ELR Outsells Chevrolet SS In August appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-elr-outsells-chevrolet-ss-august/feed/ 109
Cadillac To Introduce V2V, Semi-Autonomy In 2017 CTS, Flagship Sedans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908657 Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later. According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super […]

The post Cadillac To Introduce V2V, Semi-Autonomy In 2017 CTS, Flagship Sedans appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-009

Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later.

According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super Cruise — will be an option for “an all-new Cadillac that’s going to enter a segment where we don’t compete today,” possibly the recently green-lit flagship meant to take on the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series in the F-segment. The option, meant to take over driving and braking duties on the highway and during rush hour, will likely be as expensive as the $2,400 top-of-the-line safety package offered on all Cadillac sedans.

Meanwhile, the V2V system will be standard on the 2017 CTS, though it may only be able to talk to other CTSs so-equipped if no other manufacturer has V2V ready to go by then. By announcing the feature, however, Barra hopes to “start the conversation” on the technology:

The sooner the industry puts a critical mass of V2V-equipped vehicles on the road, the more accidents we’ll prevent.

GM is currently involved in a partnership with Ford, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation to augment 120 miles of Detroit Metro highways with cameras and sensors to provide data to V2V-equipped vehicles, with the goal of reducing accidents in mind.

The post Cadillac To Introduce V2V, Semi-Autonomy In 2017 CTS, Flagship Sedans appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/feed/ 12
GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908633 The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard. Autoblog reports General Motors and the […]

The post GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2003 Saturn Vue

The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard.

Autoblog reports General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held three meetings with each other from mid-June through late July regarding 152 reports of the Vue’s ignition key being easily removable despite the switch not being turned to the “off” position. The reports were first discovered in April by the automaker.

In addition to the meetings, GM’s own Open Issue Review panel looked over the data near the end of July, with the go-ahead for recall given by the Safety Field Action Decision Authority July 31, as noted in a memo sent to the NHTSA the day prior to the issuance of the recall.

On August 8, 215,243 2002-2004 Vues around the globe — 202,155 in the United States — were brought aboard the recall train as part of six recalls issued that day, affecting a total of 312,280 units worldwide.

The post GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/feed/ 16
GM Mid-Size Twins Best Similarly Equipped Full-Size Pickups In Fuel Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906401 As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road. Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg […]

The post GM Mid-Size Twins Best Similarly Equipped Full-Size Pickups In Fuel Economy appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Chevrolet Colorado + GMC Canyon

As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road.

Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway in two-wheel drive models equipped with a six-speed auto mated to the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injection V6. For comparison, a Ram 1500 4×2 with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 sending power to the back through an eight-speed auto offers a rating of 17/20/25; the outgoing Ford F-150 4×2 with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and six-speed auto delivers 16/18/22 mpg; and the Chevrolet Silverado C15 4×2 brings 18/20/24 mpg through its larger 4.3-liter V6 and six-speed auto.

Those wanting all four wheels to do the climbing up that hill will find the Colorado’s and Canyon’s ratings falling to 17/20/24 mpg, though they still best the Silverado K15 4×4 (17/20/22), Ford F-150 4×4 (15/17/21) and Ram 1500 4×4 (16/19/23).

As for trucks closer in size to the duo, Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah says the two-wheel drive models are more than able to throw down against the Nissan Frontier 4×2 (16/18/22 mpg) and Toyota Tacoma 4×2 (17/19/21 mpg).

GM adds that a 2.8-liter Duramax is in the offing for 2016, with figures ready for perusing closer to launch time.

The post GM Mid-Size Twins Best Similarly Equipped Full-Size Pickups In Fuel Economy appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/feed/ 146
General Motors Looks To Cameras To Solve Distracted Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906361 Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind. Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 […]

The post General Motors Looks To Cameras To Solve Distracted Driving appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Distracted Driving Canadian Style

Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind.

Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 cameras in its line of vehicles within a three- to five-year period. The cameras will track eye and head movements to determine if a driver is paying attention to the road or to the office BlackBerry, then alerting them so as to not miss the stop sign or other hazards.

Seeing Machine CEO Ken Kroeger says there could be other uses to the cameras, citing safety’s lack of sexiness. Such future uses could include anti-theft systems, ignition interlocks programmed to prevent a young driver from taking the car out past curfew, or apps that can trigger an action inside the vehicle while driving.

The post General Motors Looks To Cameras To Solve Distracted Driving appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/feed/ 25
Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904801 Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles. Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, […]

The post Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Cadillac in Japan

Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles.

Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, Ide — whose Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships number at 13, down from a peak 114 — says if the automaker would consider building more RHD vehicles suited for the Japanese market, especially Cadillacs, sales of 5,000 units annually would be “not so difficult.”

He has hope that a few moves affecting Cadillac, such as the hiring of former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen, would make the change “GM’s original people” from Detroit haven’t been able to undergo to bring success to the automaker’s premium brand. It’s also the reason why Ide hasn’t let go of his remaining GM dealerships despite also being the nation’s No. 1 Mercedes dealer, as well as one of its top sellers of Audi and BMW vehicles.

As for external issues affecting GM, Ide says policy is not among them — Japan imposes no tariffs on imported vehicles — and is just an excuse for the United States government to maintain its tariffs, including the infamous Chicken Tax.

That said, hope may be fading as it is. The sales forecast for 2014 remains flat at 1,200 units for GM’s efforts in Japan, higher than its nadir of 700 for all of 2009, yet lower than its zenith of 47,000 units in 1996. Additionally, while Mercedes moved 31,291 vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo through July 2014, Cadillac saw its sales fall 27 percent to 425 units compared to the same period in 2013.

The post Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/feed/ 75
Another Bad Sign For Oshawa As GM Moves Chevrolet Equinox To Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:38:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903322 News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it […]

The post Another Bad Sign For Oshawa As GM Moves Chevrolet Equinox To Mexico appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
1024px-2011_Chevrolet_Equinox_LTZ_--_03-09-2011

News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it spells another blow for the future of GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant.

The Equinox (and its GMC Terrain twin) is primarily built at GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Currently overflow production is handled by Oshawa and Spring Hill. For the next generation, Ingersoll and Ramos Arizpe were in direct competition for the new crossovers, with Ingersoll eventually winning out.

The Theta crossovers (as the Equinox and Terrain are known internally) have been a big success for GM, necessitating the overflow production at two sites. But with the move to Mexico, it’s merely another bad sign for Oshawa, which has had a succession of product moving away from the plant, and absolutely nothing in the way of investment announcements or product commitments.

At this rate, Oshawa’s closing in 2016 (when GM’s bailout-related obligations to the Canadian government expire) is almost a certainty.

The post Another Bad Sign For Oshawa As GM Moves Chevrolet Equinox To Mexico appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/feed/ 61
GM Moving Cadillac SRX Production To Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-moving-cadillac-srx-production-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-moving-cadillac-srx-production-tennessee/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:11:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901666 GM will shift production of the Cadillac SRX crossover from a facility in Mexico to the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The move will bring $185 million in investment and 390 jobs to the plant. In addition to the SRX, another unnamed “midsize” vehicle and a new series of small-displacement Ecotec engines will be […]

The post GM Moving Cadillac SRX Production To Tennessee appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
1280px-2010_Cadillac_SRX--DC

GM will shift production of the Cadillac SRX crossover from a facility in Mexico to the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The move will bring $185 million in investment and 390 jobs to the plant.

In addition to the SRX, another unnamed “midsize” vehicle and a new series of small-displacement Ecotec engines will be built at Spring Hill. Reports claim that the GMC Acadia will move to the plant in 2016, which would suggest future commonalities between the two vehicles, which are currently built on separate platforms.

Spring Hill was once the production site for GM’s Saturn vehicles, and was an overflow site from the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and the Chevrolet Traverse.

The post GM Moving Cadillac SRX Production To Tennessee appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-moving-cadillac-srx-production-tennessee/feed/ 41
Crapwagon Outtake: It Doesn’t Get Much Cheaper Than This http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:52:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899362 I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI […]

The post Crapwagon Outtake: It Doesn’t Get Much Cheaper Than This appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
$_20 (1)

I have an unnatural aversion to two-door cars. Jack’s Accord V6 Coupe would, in my eyes, be perfect if it were only a sedan. Give me an Audi S4 or a BMW M3 over their coupe siblings, no matter how attractive the lines. Ok, maybe I’d take an S5. I’d much prefer a 4-door GTI to the three door variant, and I’m glad that our Fiesta ST has a set of rear entry ports. Most people didn’t feel that way when it came to the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.

Even six years on, no front-drive car has been able to touch the Cobalt SS for outright, front-drive performance. Today’s Focus ST, making 250 horsepower is considered brawny for its class. The Cobalt SS was besting those numbers in 2008, making 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

A GM-sanctioned Stage 1 power kit can boost output to 290 horsepower and 340 lb-ft for a mere $500. Every review, from magazine journalists to friends who have owned them, is full of praise for their outright speed and front-drive dynamics. It steers, stops and goes brilliantly.

But the rest of the car is still a pre-bankruptcy GM, and the interior is as unpleasant as the car is fast. The example shown above has 131,000 miles on it, and costs $5370 (USD). From a pure horsepower per dollar standpoint, that is absolutely unbeatable. I wish it had fewer miles on it, but with a one year production run of about 500 units, finding any sedan is going to be tough. Even so, I don’t think I’d pull the trigger. Maybe if I were 17 and looking for the absolute fastest car I could afford with the meager earnings from my summer job. But those days, like the days of high-performance compact Chevys, are long gone.

The post Crapwagon Outtake: It Doesn’t Get Much Cheaper Than This appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/crapwagon-outtake-doesnt-get-much-cheaper/feed/ 49
There’s a Reason Why Sloan-Kettering Hospital is in Manhattan and Not Detroit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/theres-reason-sloan-kettering-hospital-manhattan-detroit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/theres-reason-sloan-kettering-hospital-manhattan-detroit/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=898010 There is news, at least partially confirmed by General Motors, that the Cadillac brand may expand its operations in New York City, moving some business functions from the RenCen in Detroit. It’s thought that moving some marketing, advertising and strategy functions to the Big Apple will add luster to GM’s luxury brand by separating it […]

The post There’s a Reason Why Sloan-Kettering Hospital is in Manhattan and Not Detroit appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
1101450924_400

There is news, at least partially confirmed by General Motors, that the Cadillac brand may expand its operations in New York City, moving some business functions from the RenCen in Detroit. It’s thought that moving some marketing, advertising and strategy functions to the Big Apple will add luster to GM’s luxury brand by separating it from the city of Detroit’s tarnished image, as well as make it easier to attract talent to those positions. Some people apparently have the notion that “Detroit” is this incredibly provincial and insular place and that the only way to thrive in the highly competitive  global automobile industry is to leave the Motor City behind, both figuratively and literally. That attitude, though, is nothing new, either outside Detroit or in the region. Also, the idea that the domestic car companies have been operated in Detroit by Detroiters, insulated from the rest of the country (and world) is contrary to the historical record.

lab_large_resh

You’ve probably heard of Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City, one of the world’s best cancer treatment centers. This is car site so some of you may recognize those two names as being associated with a business headquartered not in New York but rather in Detroit. That firm is General Motors. Sloan was Alfred P. Sloan, who ran GM from 1923 to 1956 and Kettering was Charles Kettering, the prolific inventor who was GM’s first chief engineer. As with the copper boom in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, more than a little bit of the money made by Detroit automakers made its way back east.

Alfred Sloan 3

During GM’s heyday, it’s true that the individual divisions, what we today call GM’s brands, were operated in many ways as completely different companies and most of the decisions of those companies were made somewhere near Detroit, but many of the overarching corporate decisions were made about 600 miles east of the Motor City.

681shp_AlfredSloan_01091933_lg

Alfred Sloan was no stranger to New York. Though born in Connecticut and educated at MIT near Boston (MIT’s school of business management was endowed by Sloan), he was raised in Brooklyn and he died in New York City at the age of 90. The financial community of New York and east coast investors had a major role in the way the GM was managed for much of the 20th century. GM is sort of notorious among car enthusiasts for giving the “bean counters”, the accountants and financial folks supremacy over the product people, the engineers and designers. Where do you think those bean counters work and live? It’s not southeastern Michigan. General Motors Treasurer’s Office has long been located in New York City and it’s long been recognized as holding a lot of power within the company.

Alfred Sloan 6

GM’s ties to major east coast investors goes back to Billy Durant’s days of putting the company together, and then losing control to bankers. Starting up Chevrolet to compete with GM, Durant eventually got the backing of Pierre S. DuPont to retake control of GM. One of Durant’s acquisitions for GM was the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company of New Jersey, whose president was a 26 year old Alfred Sloan. By 1918, Sloan was a GM vice president and member of the executive committee and when DuPont forced Durant out of GM for the final time, under the Delaware millionaire’s influence Sloan became first operating vice president and then CEO. Sloan took Durant’s haphazard corporation and reorganized it’s structure and corporate governance along the lines of the then more than century old source of his patron’s wealth, E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co.

A-Rare-Genius

In the young General Motors, Pierre DuPont saw a great opportunity to make money at least a couple of ways: dividends on GM stock and profits from selling the automaker DuPont products.

duco2

After World War One, the DuPont company, which had started out making gunpowder on the banks of the Brandywine River in 1802, had large amounts of capacity for cellulose chemistry because of the manufacture of guncotton, nitrocellulose. Working with Kettering’s team at GM, DuPont chemists developed Duco brand nitrocellulose lacquer, a quick drying paint available in a variety of colors.

$_35

Slow drying enamel paint that needed to be rubbed out because of all the dirt that collected as it dried, was a bottleneck in automobile production. Pierre DuPont had also moved the DuPont company into the young plastics industry through acquisitions and growing the company’s own research team. DuPont Fabrikoid Rayntite brand synthetic leather was used for roofs in an era when few cars had full steel bodies.

00paint

While the DuPont family and company didn’t own outright controlling interest in GM, for much of the automaker’s early history DuPont interests owned about 40% of GM stock, enough for effective control of the automaker. The fact that those interests were making money owning GM stock and selling GM paint and plastics eventually caught the attention of the anti-trust division of Pres. Harry Truman’s Dept. of Justice. After more than a decade of litigation, DuPont finally divested it’s GM stock in the early 1960s.

p_sloan

The two companies, though, remained close. DuPont not long ago sold off it’s automotive paint operations (now known as Axalta) because the profitable unit wasn’t making quite enough profits, but until then DuPont was still supplying GM with hundreds of millions of dollars a year worth of top coats, the color and clear coatings that give modern cars their sheen. While they no longer sell paint to GM, DuPont is still a tier one, tier two and tier three supplier because of the polymers the company manufactures.

vxjbplen706q1q

GM isn’t the only “Detroit” automaker to have been, if not managed, influenced heavily by the financial industry centered in New York City. After Horace and John Dodge died within months of each other, their widows, Anna and Matilda, sold their stock in Dodge Brothers to New York bankers, making them perhaps the richest widows in the world. Control of the Dodge car company would eventually return to Detroit when Walter Chrysler bought it in 1928 as he put together the Chrysler Corp. Chrysler himself was also no stranger to New York and its financial industry, using some clever procedures to take control of Maxwell before he actually owned the company. Walter Chrysler, it should be noted, built the Chrysler Building, one of the more distinctive skyscrapers in New York City.

Chrysler_Building_by_David_Shankbone_Retouched

The influence of the Ford family has meant that Ford Motor Company has been run from Detroit (well, Dearborn) for its entire history. However, I’ll note in passing that when FoMoCo managers mortgaged the entire company down to the blue oval logo to borrow the $23.5 billion or so they realized they’d need to both get past the upcoming rough times and revamp their product lines, they went to the New York financial community to borrow that money, not Les Gold’s pawnshop near Eight Mile Road.

513x370xSeth-Gold-Hardcore-Pawn.jpg.pagespeed.ic.C9XISN03ky

Besides the fact that at least GM and Chrysler have had pretty strong ties to New York City (and Wall Street held some serious paper on Ford as well recently), the idea that a car company has to break out of Detroit to get the pulse of the market is not exactly a new idea either. Not only does just about every car company in the world have some kind of design facility in southern California (that was once explained to me by a high ranking designer as “the talent likes to go to the beach and hang out with pretty girls too”), in 1998 Ford Motor Company made a big deal about the fact that the Lincoln brand was going to be headquartered near Los Angeles. The following year Lincoln was indeed moved out to southern California and made part of Ford’s ill-fated Premier Automotive Group, headed by Wolfgang Reitzle, formerly of BMW. Mark Fields, FoMoCo’s new CEO, was named head of PAG in 2002 and one of his first moves then was to shutter Lincoln’s California “headquarters” and move those operations back to Dearborn.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

The post There’s a Reason Why Sloan-Kettering Hospital is in Manhattan and Not Detroit appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/theres-reason-sloan-kettering-hospital-manhattan-detroit/feed/ 72
The Chevrolet Impala’s Decline Isn’t Recent http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/897346/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/897346/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:55:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897346 We knew the Chevrolet Impala was going to suffer, volume-wise, with the introduction of the tenth-generation model. No matter how positive its review was in Consumer Reports, no matter how attractive its front end, GM insisted they weren’t going to chase fleet sales. Moreover, the car’s more upmarket positioning and the slow death of its […]

The post The Chevrolet Impala’s Decline Isn’t Recent appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Chevrolet ImpalaWe knew the Chevrolet Impala was going to suffer, volume-wise, with the introduction of the tenth-generation model.

No matter how positive its review was in Consumer Reports, no matter how attractive its front end, GM insisted they weren’t going to chase fleet sales. Moreover, the car’s more upmarket positioning and the slow death of its category weren’t going to produce improved sales.

Perhaps what some didn’t realize, however, was that the Impala’s decline was long since underway.

In 2007, when the U.S. auto market was last clicking along at the rate it is now, General Motors sold more than 300,000 Impalas. As the market crashed two years later, falling 35% compared with 2007, 2009 sales of the Impala had fallen 47%. A slight improvement in 2010 was followed up by consecutive declines in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

After averaging more than 278,000 annual U.S. Impala sales between 2003 and 2007, the Impala has averaged fewer than 165,000 annual U.S. sales (including an estimate for 151,000 sales in 2014) since 2010.

We’re quick to point to the loss of numerous brands to help explain much of GM’s lost market share over the last decade. 27.5% of the new vehicles sold in 2004 were GM products; GM’s market share through the first seven months of 2014 is down to 17.8%. (GM’s four current brands owned 22.9% of the U.S. market in 2004.)

16.8% of the GM vehicles sold in 2004 were Hummers, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Saturns, and Saabs. Of the 3.78 million vehicles sold by GM in 2004 by brands that still exist today, 7.7% were Impalas.

Only 5.1% of the new vehicles sold by GM this year have been Impalas. Is the loss of nearly 783,000 Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Saab sales meaningful? Undoubtedly, that loss is significant, at least from a strictly volume perspective, if not a profit-centric one.

Also significant: the loss of 140,000 Impala sales.

Yet what can GM do when they build a vastly improved car and send that car into a gauntlet that’s choking off the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, and Toyota Avalon, all of which have seen their sales decline on a year-over-year basis in 2014?

Chrysler sold more than 120,000 300s in 2007 and will struggle to crest the 50K barrier in 2014. Taurus sales climbed to a seven-year high in 2013, but 70,000 total sales is about the max for 2014. Hyundai won’t likely sell much more than 9000 Azeras in 2014, having sold 21,948 in pre-Genesis 2007. Toyota averaged nearly 86,000 annual Avalon sales in the three-year period ending in 2007 but the Avalon isn’t likely to top 70,000 in 2014.

The Impala is suffering from a contagious disease, one that’s long been making its way through the whole category. In 2012 PR parlance, it’s gone viral. Consumers want their upmarket cars to wear upmarket badges. They may also not want their upmarket cars to actually be cars.

So does GM’s car division look to the Malibu for solace? In some ways, yes. Chevrolet has sold more than 200,000 Malibus in each of the last three years, having not previously done so since 2005. Malibu volume is down 5% in 2014.

In 2013, Chevrolet compact car volume (248,224 Cruzes) climbed to the highest level since 2003, when 256,550 Cavaliers were sold. Cruze sales are up 4.5% in 2014, although they’ve tumbled in each of the last two months after surging in May. Never were more than 68,085 Aveos sold in a single calendar year, but Chevrolet sold 85,646 Sonics in 2013. Sonic sales are up 11.5% in 2014 in a subcompact category that’s risen less than 3%.

GM would presumably prefer to sell 300,000 Impalas with or without a Sonic increase. But those days are gone.

The post The Chevrolet Impala’s Decline Isn’t Recent appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/897346/feed/ 90
Reuss: Cadillac F-Segment Flagship Is A Go http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/reuss-cadillac-f-segment-flagship-go/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/reuss-cadillac-f-segment-flagship-go/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897282 General Motors global product development chief Mark Reuss revealed Tuesday that Cadillac will press ahead with an F-segment sedan built upon a new platform. The Detroit News reports the new Cadillac will slot above the full-size XTS, and will throw down against the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series. Reuss adds that the flagship sedan […]

The post Reuss: Cadillac F-Segment Flagship Is A Go appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
elmiraj

General Motors global product development chief Mark Reuss revealed Tuesday that Cadillac will press ahead with an F-segment sedan built upon a new platform.

The Detroit News reports the new Cadillac will slot above the full-size XTS, and will throw down against the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series.

Reuss adds that the flagship sedan is important for the brand “if it is to compete as a serious luxury carmaker” in the top luxury segment:

What we do there has got to be a symbol of excellence… This is a car that Cadillac needs that will define this brand in terms of innovation and excellence.

The flagship Cadillac is expected to go into production near the end of 2015, and will likely be joined by a compact slotted below the ATS for the lower end of the luxury segment.

The post Reuss: Cadillac F-Segment Flagship Is A Go appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/reuss-cadillac-f-segment-flagship-go/feed/ 179
General Motors Expands Ignition Website To Cover 20 Affected Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896762 Once reporting information on the group of vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall, General Motors’ website on the matter recently expanded to cover all 20 vehicles affected by the original and subsequent recalls over ignition problems. Reuters reports gmignitionupdate.com now has information available for the 15 million owners of 20 affected vehicles — from […]

The post General Motors Expands Ignition Website To Cover 20 Affected Models appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
GM Ignition Recall Safety Information

Once reporting information on the group of vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall, General Motors’ website on the matter recently expanded to cover all 20 vehicles affected by the original and subsequent recalls over ignition problems.

Reuters reports gmignitionupdate.com now has information available for the 15 million owners of 20 affected vehicles — from the Chevrolet Cobalt to the Camaro and Impala — with ignition switch issues. The site came online in April of this year, focusing upon the handful of 2003 through 2007 GM models caught up in the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million units.

In addition, CEO Mary Barra penned a letter to 1.9 million customers from the original group, pushing them to take their vehicles in for repair work. The majority of the letters focused on those who had yet to order the parts needed to fix their vehicles, with the remaining 875,000 reminding owners who had placed their parts orders to bring their vehicles to dealers for repairs to begin.

Speaking of repairs, GM said around 800,000 of the original 2.6 million recalled had been repaired. Representative Alan Adler stated, on average, 80 percent of GM owners affected by a recall bring their vehicles in for repair work within a year of notice, and 85 percent by year two. He added that both the website expansion and the letter campaign were efforts by the automaker to have all vehicles with defective ignitions to come in for repairs.

The post General Motors Expands Ignition Website To Cover 20 Affected Models appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/feed/ 2
Detroit Three Operations Hindered By Flooding http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/detroit-three-operations-hindered-flooding/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/detroit-three-operations-hindered-flooding/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889722 Nearly 4.6 inches of rain fell over Detroit Monday, flooding several areas throughout the city and grinding operations to a halt for the Detroit Three. Automotive News reports General Motors closed its Technical Center Tuesday due to flooded highways and power outages. According to representative Katie McBride, the closure affected 19,000. She added that some […]

The post Detroit Three Operations Hindered By Flooding appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
detroit flood of 2014

Nearly 4.6 inches of rain fell over Detroit Monday, flooding several areas throughout the city and grinding operations to a halt for the Detroit Three.

Automotive News reports General Motors closed its Technical Center Tuesday due to flooded highways and power outages. According to representative Katie McBride, the closure affected 19,000. She added that some employees returned later in the day to work second-shift, and that other parts of the center will reopen dependent on repairs needed. No other GM facility closed due to the weather.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles representative Jodi Tinson reported that four of the automaker’s Detroit plants — Jefferson North Assembly, Sterling Heights Assembly, Sterling Stamping and Warren Stamping — were all severely affected by flooding and road closures. In addition, a car carrier loaded with Chrysler 200s was stranded when flood waters reached its position on Mound Road near I-696 in Warren.

Ford representative Kristina Adamski said production was slowed Monday evening in five of its plants in the area, with supplier delays affecting the automaker’s plants in Chicago and Louisville, Ky. She added that production returned to normal Tuesday.

The post Detroit Three Operations Hindered By Flooding appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/detroit-three-operations-hindered-flooding/feed/ 37
GM Will Set Base Curb Weight For Its Truck Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888617 The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload. Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb […]

The post GM Will Set Base Curb Weight For Its Truck Lineup appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 long box

The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload.

Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb weight for its Silverado/Sierra and Colorado/Canyon twins after a number of complaints regarding its and Ford’s practice of removing items — spare tires, radios, jacks, center consoles — to lower curb weight for a boost in maximum payload capacity. Representative Tom Wilkinson says the move will bring curb weight on par with other truck makers for easier comparisons when consumers go truck shopping. Heavy-duty trucks will also have a base weight, though those numbers have yet to be finalized.

However, GM and everyone else says the truck’s Tire and Load Label should be consulted over curb weight ratings when it comes to maximum payload capacity. Meanwhile, Ford will continue use its temporary decontenting methods to determine curb weight.

The post GM Will Set Base Curb Weight For Its Truck Lineup appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/feed/ 5
Bloated Inventories Lead GM To Idle Cadillac Plants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:45:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888081   Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t […]

The post Bloated Inventories Lead GM To Idle Cadillac Plants appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

2015 Cadillac CTS sedan

Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t gotten much better.

Automotive News is reporting that GM’s Lansing, Michigan factory will sit idle for three weeks, starting next Monday. While the inventory woes of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid have been well publicized, inventories of key models like the ATS and CTS are rather high. Currently, there’s a 152-day supply of the ATS, in line with when we last checked in during May, but the CTS has a 215-day supply, up from 138 days in May, and an astonishingly high number by industry standards.  The XTS large sedan and the ELR have 152 and 194 days worth of supply respectively.

AN paints a bleak picture of Cadillac’s commercial performance, writing

Cadillac’s car inventory stood at 44,700 units on Aug. 1. That’s equal to a 172-day supply — about triple the level that is considered healthy. By comparison, Lincoln’s car inventory was 87 days on Aug. 1. Audi’s was 45 and BMW’s was 42. Overall, Cadillac’s U.S. sales have slipped 2 percent to 97,358 this year through July, in a luxury market that has expanded 6 percent.

From a nameplate perspective, the massive inventories of the CTS are an ominous sign. The CTS was widely praised in the motoring press, besting major German rivals in comparison tests, and heralded as proof that Cadillac had finally mustered up the product needed to compete with Tier 1 luxury brands. But none of that has converted into sales, despite numerous lease specials and cash incentives. As AutoPacific’s Dave Sullivan told TTAC

The last generation CTS presented a tremendous value – almost a 5-Series sized sedan that was priced like a 3-Series. The new CTS is a bit of a turn off when it comes time to replace your CTS lease. The ATS is too small and people feel like they are getting less car for more money. It’s going to take time for people to readjust since Cadillac has basically resegmented the CTS.

The post Bloated Inventories Lead GM To Idle Cadillac Plants appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/feed/ 91
Chart Of The Day: Why Colorado Sales Expectations Are Low http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-colorado-sales-expectations-low/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-colorado-sales-expectations-low/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 12:50:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884561 It’s difficult to possess anything other than low U.S. sales expectations for GM’s new pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, even before you know the exact prices, or the prices people actually pay for new Silverados. Toyota Tacoma volume, prior to this year, was perking up, but not nearly to the level it […]

The post Chart Of The Day: Why Colorado Sales Expectations Are Low appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Small and midsize pickup truck sales chart
It’s difficult to possess anything other than low U.S. sales expectations for GM’s new pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, even before you know the exact prices, or the prices people actually pay for new Silverados.

Toyota Tacoma volume, prior to this year, was perking up, but not nearly to the level it was at in 2006. Similar statements can be made regarding the Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline. Numerous other pickup trucks have disappeared, and remaining competitors haven’t been able to take advantage of those disappearances.

The post Chart Of The Day: Why Colorado Sales Expectations Are Low appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chart-day-colorado-sales-expectations-low/feed/ 181
GM’s July 2014 SUV Strength http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gms-july-2014-suv-strength/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gms-july-2014-suv-strength/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:37:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883394 U.S. sales of General Motors passenger cars slid 3.8% in July 2014. This 3348-unit loss was created in large part by the Chevrolet Cruze’s 4521-unit decline and the Impala’s 3279-unit slide, decreases which were not completely offset by smaller gains from the Malibu, Sonic, Camaro, Corvette, and Buick’s LaCrosse. Despite a 5.5% boost in July […]

The post GM’s July 2014 SUV Strength appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Chevrolet Tahoe silverU.S. sales of General Motors passenger cars slid 3.8% in July 2014. This 3348-unit loss was created in large part by the Chevrolet Cruze’s 4521-unit decline and the Impala’s 3279-unit slide, decreases which were not completely offset by smaller gains from the Malibu, Sonic, Camaro, Corvette, and Buick’s LaCrosse.

Despite a 5.5% boost in July volume from the GMC Sierra, GM pickup truck sales slid 1.6% as Silverado volume remained level and the company lost 1907 pickup sales from nameplates which are either defunct or have not yet returned.

Yet overall GM sales grew at pace with the market’s fast 9% clip in July. How?

Commercial vans, that’s how.

Yes, really.

But only in part.

Combined sales of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana reportedly rose 64.5% to 11,466 units, or 4.5% of GM’s volume. The Express and Savana owned 34.9% of America’s commercial van category in July 2014, up from 29.4% a year ago. (Ford is currently in a transition phase as the E-Series gets set to depart and the Transit slowly takes over.)

In truth, GM’s SUVs and crossovers played the starring role in July. Total sales from GM’s 14 utility vehicle nameplates rose 28% to 100,122 units, or 39.1% of GM’s total July volume, up from 33.4% in July 2013.

GM SUV sales chart July 2014The Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, and fleet-friendly Chevrolet Captiva Sport generated four out of every ten GM SUV/crossover sales. The Lambda-platform trio – Acadia, Enclave, Traverse – brought in another 23%. The truck-based group of six full-size SUVs produced 28% of the SUV/crossover tally, leaving another 9% for the Buick Encore and Cadillac SRX. Among these 14 nameplates, only the SRX (down 7% in July but up 16% year-to-date) and the Chevrolet Suburban (down 16% in July but up 3% YTD) recorded year-over-year declines.

Thanks to its Jeep brand, Chrysler Group/FCA is another big SUV seller. Five Jeeps, plus the Dodge Durango and Journey, generated 71,553 July sales, up 33% from a pre-Cherokee July 2013.

Ford and Lincoln combined for a 17% increase to 64,951 SUV/crossover units.

Toyota, with 11,861 Lexus LX and GX and RX sales included, reported a 61,807-unit utility vehicle July, 25% jump. American Honda sold 49,277 utility vehicles. Nissan and Infiniti, Juke included, reported 36,751 utility vehicle sales.

GM SUV car truck sales chart July 2014What of history? In July 2004, General Motors sold 136,263 SUVs from eight different brands. At that time, however, this equalled 30% of GM’s July 2004 volume. Also at that time, GM’s full-size SUVs, including the Hummer H1 and H2, accounted for 43% of the company’s overall utility vehicle sales tally.

In calendar year 2004, the second, third, and tenth-best-selling SUVs in America were GM products, TrailBlazer, Tahoe, and Envoy, respectively. Through the first seven months of 2014, GM has claimed the third (Equinox), 14th (Traverse), 15th (Terrain), and 20th (Tahoe) positions.

The post GM’s July 2014 SUV Strength appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gms-july-2014-suv-strength/feed/ 21
GM Compensation Fund Receives Nearly 100 Claim Submissions Thus Far http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-compensation-fund-receives-nearly-100-claim-submissions-thus-far/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-compensation-fund-receives-nearly-100-claim-submissions-thus-far/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883633 Last Friday was the first day claims linked to accidents and fatalities related to the ignition switch that kicked-off the 2014 General Motors recall parade could be submitted to the compensation fund set up by GM and Kenneth Feinberg. Thus far, 93 such claims have been submitted. The Detroit News reports around 50 of those […]

The post GM Compensation Fund Receives Nearly 100 Claim Submissions Thus Far appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
GM RenCen Blue Night

Last Friday was the first day claims linked to accidents and fatalities related to the ignition switch that kicked-off the 2014 General Motors recall parade could be submitted to the compensation fund set up by GM and Kenneth Feinberg. Thus far, 93 such claims have been submitted.

The Detroit News reports around 50 of those claims were submitted on the first day. Deputy administrator Camille S. Biros said most of the claims lacked supporting documents, though she expects the lawyers to submit them soon enough. The majority of the claims were submitted electronically en masse by attorneys representing clients who may have been affected in some way as a result of the defective ignition switch.

Upon being found “substantially complete,” the claims will be decided within 90 to 180 days, depending on complexity (or lack there of) of each claim. GM set aside $400 million for the payouts, though the total payout could be as high as $600 million, with Feinberg repeatedly stressing that there will be no cap on total claims.

The post GM Compensation Fund Receives Nearly 100 Claim Submissions Thus Far appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-compensation-fund-receives-nearly-100-claim-submissions-thus-far/feed/ 3
Did Obama Administration Help Delphi Evade U.S. Taxes? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/obama-administration-help-delphi-evade-u-s-taxes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/obama-administration-help-delphi-evade-u-s-taxes/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 23:01:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883441 From Bloomberg’s Zachary Mider comes a new allegation regarding the restructuring of (formerly) American parts maker Delphi: the Treasury Department under Obama helped the company re-incorporate in England as part of a tax avoidance strategy. If that’s true, it’s an embarrassing revelation for a President who recently condemned American companies that incorporate abroad as “corporate […]

The post Did Obama Administration Help Delphi Evade U.S. Taxes? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Delphi-Logo

From Bloomberg’s Zachary Mider comes a new allegation regarding the restructuring of (formerly) American parts maker Delphi: the Treasury Department under Obama helped the company re-incorporate in England as part of a tax avoidance strategy. If that’s true, it’s an embarrassing revelation for a President who recently condemned American companies that incorporate abroad as “corporate deserters.” Like many things in the financial world, however, appearances are often deceiving.

As Mider explains, Delphi was spun off from GM in 1999 in an attempt to diversify the part’s division’s clientele and make it more globally competitive. The move didn’t pan out; by 2005 Delphi was in bankruptcy court, where it scraped along until the 2009 financial crisis. The Great Recession made Delphi’s situation acute; if GM collapsed, the parts company had no hope of surviving. Conversely, GM needed the company to keep supplying it with crucial parts. After the bailout package for GM was approved in the waning days of the Bush Administration, Treasury officials understood that Delphi would need to be recapitalized as well. Steven Rattner, the Wall Streeter appointed by President Obama to oversee the bailout of GM, helped broker a deal to “fix” Delphi by getting the company out of bankruptcy court.

Initially, the hedge fund Platinum Equity LLC of Los Angeles agreed to divvy up Delphi’s assets with GM, with the newly Treasury-backed carmaker providing the majority of the financing (Treasury money) for the deal. However, the agreement with Platinum fell through when another one of Delphi’s creditors, the hedge fund Elliot Management, objected to the terms of the deal. Elliot and the firm Silver Point Capital partnered to put together their own bid for Delphi, which GM agreed to. GM invested $1.7 billion into Delphi’s equity, and bought out its steering parts business and a few factories for a further $1.1 billion. All of this money came from an escrow account filled with $16 billion in bailout money set up after GM emerged from bankruptcy, and all the spending required Treasury Department approval before it could go forward. There was one small catch in the fine print of the deal: GM and the hedge funds would reincorporate Delphi in some foreign country, ostensibly to obtain a better tax position. Mider explains that this practice, known as “inversion,” is becoming increasingly common amongst U.S.-based companies seeking a more favorable tax climate. Delphi was incorporated in England for that purpose, and the money was disbursed from the Treasury escrow account after the reincorporation was complete. The original agreement with Platinum didn’t contain language about foreign reincorporation, although it later emerged that the fund’s lawyers had set up two paper companies in Luxembourg for that purpose.

The deal between Elliot, Silver Point, and GM to rescue Delphi turned out to be a great investment for all parties involved. After Delphi went public again in 2011, the stock price surged. GM sold its stake back to Delphi for a $1.6 billion profit, and Elliot Management booked $1.3 billion on an initial investment of $300 million. At this point, GM was under no obligation to pay the Treasury anything. The terms of the bankruptcy meant that all of the Treasury’s debt had been swapped for equity in the “new” carmaker. The U.S. Government wouldn’t see a dime of GM’s profits from the Delphi deal, besides any increase in the market value of its equity stake. And it had been cut out of a large chunk of the tax revenue from Delphi, which was now headquartered in England under more favorable rules.

The question becomes who knew what, when, and how much leverage the Treasury had to exert on the terms of the deal with Elliot and Silver Point. The time window for the agreement is key. GM’s bankruptcy proceedings concluded on July 10, 2009. Steven Rattner and the rest of the bailout task force stepped aside, believing their jobs were finished. But the collapse of the Platinum deal happened soon afterwards, because some of Delphi’s creditors weren’t satisfied with the terms. The deal between Elliot, Silver Point, and GM was inked on July 26. When interviewed by Bloomberg, Rattner claimed to have no knowledge of any plan to incorporate Delphi in a foreign locale at the time of the original negotiations. Even if he had, it’s not likely that he would have been able to stop it. Because the Treasury never technically held a direct stake in Delphi (unlike its assumption of equity in GM’s case), it was only an indirect party to the final settlement of Delphi’s bankruptcy proceedings. Rattner had denied a $150 million cash infusion from GM to Delphi previously, when it became clear that transfer wouldn’t end Delphi’s bankruptcy proceedings. The Treasury could have rejected disbursement of funds for GM’s investment in the parts maker after the reincorporation of Delphi in England. But that would have iced the deal and put Delphi’s future in jeopardy, which in turn would have been counterproductive to the purpose of the bailout in the first place. Even so, it’s not a proud moment in the management of the bailout by any stretch of the imagination.

The other factor to consider is that Rattner and the bailout task force may have believed that Delphi’s reincorporation wouldn’t affect its tax position after all. Mider reports that in September of 2009, the IRS notified Delphi that it was still considered a U.S. company and would be subject to U.S. corporate income tax rates. As a justification, the IRS cited a 2004 law meant to prevent exactly what Delphi had done: the creation of paper “surrogate foreign corporations” for the purposes of evading taxes. The IRS dispute with Delphi in this case is ongoing. If the company loses its appeal, it would owe about 20 percent more a year in taxes than it pays now (as well as any assessments for back taxes). If that’s the case, then the “inversion” of Delphi will be a moot point.

The broader takeaway from the whole saga is that any intervention by government in the spaces normally served by private equity is bound to have some unpleasant side effects. Simultaneously trying to manage, regulate, and tax a business is bound to produce more than a few conflicts of interest. At the very least, the Delphi deal embarrasses an Administration which has recently sought to turn up the heat on companies moving their headquarters abroad. It’s unlikely to change many minds about the wisdom of the bailout; those lines were drawn firmly some time ago. But the curious case of Delphi’s “inversion” will undoubtedly be cited in future debates about corporate tax reform in America, from both a left and a right-wing perspective.

The post Did Obama Administration Help Delphi Evade U.S. Taxes? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/obama-administration-help-delphi-evade-u-s-taxes/feed/ 17
General Motors Prepares To Enter Diesel Car, Light-Duty Pickup Games http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883258 General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get. Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at […]

The post General Motors Prepares To Enter Diesel Car, Light-Duty Pickup Games appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-front-three-quarters

General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get.

Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., proclaiming the current Chevrolet Cruze “will be the first of many diesel-powered passenger cars General Motors will offer in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the Duramax V8 offered in GM’s heavy-duty pickups will soon be joined by a 2.8-liter four-pot under the bonnets of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups. Beyond this, Kiefer hints that torque will be the driving factor on where more diesels will go. Thus, light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra may receive diesel engines to compete against the likes of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the upcoming Ford F-150 SFE.

Kiefer concludes by stating GM will introduce more diesel power into the market “as appropriate and as the market accepts them.”

The post General Motors Prepares To Enter Diesel Car, Light-Duty Pickup Games appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/feed/ 38
GM Financial Subpoenaed By DOJ In Subprime Lending Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-financial-subpoenaed-doj-subprime-lending-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-financial-subpoenaed-doj-subprime-lending-review/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882002 While the parent company goes through the federal ringer over product safety, GM Financial is under the gun after receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding potential deceptive practices in subprime lending. The Detroit News reports the subpoena is part of a review “to determine if banks were misled into buying some […]

The post GM Financial Subpoenaed By DOJ In Subprime Lending Review appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
GM Financial AmeriCredit

While the parent company goes through the federal ringer over product safety, GM Financial is under the gun after receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding potential deceptive practices in subprime lending.

The Detroit News reports the subpoena is part of a review “to determine if banks were misled into buying some auto loans,” according to General Motors. The subpoena was served July 28, requesting documents linked to the lending arm’s and affiliates’ subprime originations and securitizations going back to 2007.

The review in question is the DOJ’s investigation into potential violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, particularly around the underwriting criteria of said originations and “the representations and warranties relating to those underwriting criteria that were made in connection with the securitization of the automobile loan contracts.” The findings of the review could open the door to civil suits.

For GM Financial’s part, executive vice president and treasurer Susan Sheffield claimed the subpoena only focused on subprime lending issues in general, and not on the lender specifically. GM Financial represents 30 percent of all subprime lending to the parent company’s dealership network, and holds the title of second-largest subprime lender with $2 billion issued to-date in 2014.

Representatives for Chrysler Capital and Ford Credit both said their employers have not received a subpoena thus far.

The post GM Financial Subpoenaed By DOJ In Subprime Lending Review appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-financial-subpoenaed-doj-subprime-lending-review/feed/ 12
Cadillac ELR Sales Double After Price Drop http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-elr-sales-double-price-drop/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-elr-sales-double-price-drop/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:04:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881106 How do you help move the Cadillac ELR? Simple: drop the price down to one that the market will bear. GM’s generous incentives – which have lead to ELR’s being listed as low as $52,000 – appear to have helped spur sales of Cadillac’s plug-in hybrid. In June, GM sold just 97 units of the […]

The post Cadillac ELR Sales Double After Price Drop appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
01

How do you help move the Cadillac ELR? Simple: drop the price down to one that the market will bear.

GM’s generous incentiveswhich have lead to ELR’s being listed as low as $52,000 – appear to have helped spur sales of Cadillac’s plug-in hybrid.

In June, GM sold just 97 units of the ELR.  In July, sales nearly doubled, with 188 units sold. With 1,600 units in inventory right now, Automotive News estimates that as of July 1, there is a 396 day supply, down from 883 days.

With a Tesla-rivaling $76,000 MSRP, the ELR’s prospects seemed bleak from the outset. The ELR may be positioned as Cadillac’s green flagship, but the brand simply isn’t strong enough to sell a car that competes with the Tesla Model S, while offering less prestige and a similar sticker price. At the $50,000 mark? Now they might be getting somewhere.

The post Cadillac ELR Sales Double After Price Drop appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-elr-sales-double-price-drop/feed/ 117
General Motors Recall Website Posted Incorrect Information For Some http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-recall-website-posted-incorrect-information/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-recall-website-posted-incorrect-information/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 11:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881002 The recall parade led by General Motors since February of this year may need to make room for another float, as the automaker’s own recall website provided incorrect information to some affected consumers. Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that when consumers entered their VINs to determine if their vehicles were […]

The post General Motors Recall Website Posted Incorrect Information For Some appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
GM Recall Information Website

The recall parade led by General Motors since February of this year may need to make room for another float, as the automaker’s own recall website provided incorrect information to some affected consumers.

Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that when consumers entered their VINs to determine if their vehicles were under recall, some owners were told no when their vehicles actually were affected. The error, linked to vehicles and parts availability, was corrected Friday evening, according to the agency.

However, the website itself will need a reboot to meet new NHTSA requirements later this month, which mandates automakers make available online information on whether any recalls have been completed alongside the VIN search tool. The agency adds said information can be found by going to its own SafeCar.gov site.

The post General Motors Recall Website Posted Incorrect Information For Some appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-recall-website-posted-incorrect-information/feed/ 3