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. Mon, 25 May 2015 20:38:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » general motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com NYT: GM’s Barra Declined Meeting with FCA’s Marchionne to Discuss Possible Merger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nyt-gms-barra-declined-meeting-with-fcas-marchionne-to-discuss-possible-merger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nyt-gms-barra-declined-meeting-with-fcas-marchionne-to-discuss-possible-merger/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 18:21:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075162 Sergio Marchionne sent Mary Barra a detailed email in the middle of March in an effort to start merger talks. Barra, CEO of General Motors, was uninterested in the offer and rebuffed Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It was the first time the two executives had ever spoken, but it wouldn’t be the last Barra […]

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sergio-marchionne

Sergio Marchionne sent Mary Barra a detailed email in the middle of March in an effort to start merger talks. Barra, CEO of General Motors, was uninterested in the offer and rebuffed Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

It was the first time the two executives had ever spoken, but it wouldn’t be the last Barra would hear of Marchionne’s merger desires.

That’s the story being told by the New York Times today, detailing the lengths to which Marchionne is going to trigger consolidation within the automotive industry.

During a routine analyst conference call on April 29, Marchionne brought his plea to other executives through the media with a 25-page PowerPoint presentation.

“I think it is absolutely clear that the amount of capital waste that’s going on in this industry is something that certainly requires remedy. A remedy in our view is through consolidation,” Marchionne said.

Marchionne’s overture of a merger with GM includes no less than 14 brands between North America and Europe, not including the many other brands each company markets in China and other emerging regions. But, to date, the overture has been played to an audience wearing earplugs.

Even with the vast number of brands, that isn’t what bothers Marchionne. Instead, it’s the amount of money poured into redundant R&D work that could be shared by multiple automakers.

“It’s fundamentally immoral to allow for that waste to continue unchecked,” he said.

[Source: New York Times]

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NHTSA Will Partially Continue GM Safety Oversight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:53:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072386 Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year. GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million […]

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year.

GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million civil penalty as part of the ignition switch saga in May 2014. The letter – dated May 14th, 2015 – says NHTSA is opting to extend some requirements from the agreement. NHTSA can extend the agreement up to May 2017.

The meetings have proven “to be a productive and effective tool to proactively and expeditiously address potential safety-related defects. I understand that GM shares that sentiment and has found the process to be a positive one in facilitating communication between GM and NHTSA,” stated NHTSA lawyer Timothy H. Goodman.

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told The Detroit News:

We have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

With the spotlight again on the NHTSA thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, the move to extend GM oversight may also be political, showing the government agency’s resolve in handling wide-scale safety matters.

Why the extension wasn’t made public when the letter was sent is unknown at this time.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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Ruling Frees General Motors Of $450M Obligation To UAW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ruling-frees-general-motors-of-450m-obligation-to-uaw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ruling-frees-general-motors-of-450m-obligation-to-uaw/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069154 The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday General Motors will not owe $450 million to the UAW for funding health care among Delphi retirees. The ruling affects a stipulation in the contract signed by “Old GM,” Delphi and the union in 2007, where the automaker would make a one-time contribution of $450 million, […]

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Delphi Audi Circa March 2015

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday General Motors will not owe $450 million to the UAW for funding health care among Delphi retirees.

The ruling affects a stipulation in the contract signed by “Old GM,” Delphi and the union in 2007, where the automaker would make a one-time contribution of $450 million, Detroit Free Press reports. Said stipulation remained in a revised 2008 agreement, but would not be included in a new contract when GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

However, the UAW sought to hold GM to its obligation, suing the company in April of 2010 after the “new” version of the company refused to pay the contribution.

While a spokesman for the automaker said it was “pleased with the outcome of the case,” the union remains silent as to whether it will appeal the ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Photo credit: Delphi/Facebook]

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General Motors Investing $1B Into Warren Tech Center, Adding 2,600 Jobs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-investing-1b-into-warren-tech-center-adding-2600-jobs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-investing-1b-into-warren-tech-center-adding-2600-jobs/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 18:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068602 General Motors announced Thursday it will invest $1 billion into its Warren Tech Center in Warren, Mich., adding 2,600 jobs through 2018. The investment will see renovations, expansions and new additions to the tech center, with work set to start this month, The Detroit News reports. Included in the investment are new design studios, an […]

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Renaissance Center Circa May 2009

General Motors announced Thursday it will invest $1 billion into its Warren Tech Center in Warren, Mich., adding 2,600 jobs through 2018.

The investment will see renovations, expansions and new additions to the tech center, with work set to start this month, The Detroit News reports.

Included in the investment are new design studios, an IT building, additional parking and testing facilities, and revamped R&D buildings, as well as “extensive office upgrades” and other interior remodeling through most of the buildings at the center.

The 2,600 new jobs coming into the campus are expected to be salaried positions in engineering, IT and design, though GM didn’t state whether any of the jobs were transfers from other locations, as well as when those jobs would begin appearing.

The announcement follows one made last month involving a $139.5-million investment into the Tech Center’s Pre-Production Operations facility, a part of GM’s overall $5.4-billion investment plan to modernize its plants through 2017.

[Photo credit: Robert Emperley/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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General Motors Set To Announce Major Investment For Warren Tech Center http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-set-to-announce-major-investment-for-warren-tech-center/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-set-to-announce-major-investment-for-warren-tech-center/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 16:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067370 General Motors is expected to announce Thursday its plans for the Warren Tech Center, including its proposed $1-billion investment into the facility. Both Warren, Mich. city officials and inside sources have stated GM could invest up to $1 billion throughout the entire campus, The Detroit News reports. The proposed investment would follow the $139.5-million investment […]

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GMTechCenter

General Motors is expected to announce Thursday its plans for the Warren Tech Center, including its proposed $1-billion investment into the facility.

Both Warren, Mich. city officials and inside sources have stated GM could invest up to $1 billion throughout the entire campus, The Detroit News reports. The proposed investment would follow the $139.5-million investment made to the Tech Center last month for a new body shop and improvements to the stamping plant at the facility’s Pre-Production Operations wing, part of the automaker’s overall $5.4-billion investment plan for its plants in the United States.

According to GM’s tax abatement application to the Warren City Council, the automaker is considering putting $419.4 million into expansion and renovation of the Tech Center, including $180 million for the design studio, a total of $117.7 million for a yet-to-be-determined building and unidentified parking, and $20 million for renovation and expansion of the center’s Advanced Engineering Center lab. The overall project would retain 3,800 employees and add 2,600 more in engineering, IT, R&D and other categories over the years.

Though details surrounding the announcement are scant, representatives have stated the 50-percent tax abatement approval — meant to save GM $97 million in property taxes over the next decade and beyond — was key to getting the project off the ground.

[Photo credit: Local hero/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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GM to Suppliers: Open Your Factories, Books If You Want Long-Term Business http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-suppliers-open-factories-books-want-long-term-business/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-suppliers-open-factories-books-want-long-term-business/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 14:46:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065842 If you’re a parts supplier to General Motors, you have two choices: bid for business as it comes up or open your books and factories to skip the bidding process. According to Automotive News, the latter option is part of GM’s One Cost Model launched in 2013, allowing the automaker to analyse a supplier’s internal cost […]

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gm_hq

If you’re a parts supplier to General Motors, you have two choices: bid for business as it comes up or open your books and factories to skip the bidding process.

According to Automotive News, the latter option is part of GM’s One Cost Model launched in 2013, allowing the automaker to analyse a supplier’s internal cost data to identify cost-cutting opportunities. In exchange, suppliers can receive exclusive parts contracts that can last the lifecycle of a model and GM will not put that particular piece of business up for bid.

This all requires a significant amount of trust from suppliers, a commodity which has been lacking at GM since the ’90s.

Purchasing chief Steve Kiefer, formerly an executive at Delphi, told AN that GM won’t use the information to force suppliers to match or beat the company’s “China price”. In some contracts, annual price-downs, resulting in price cuts of 1 to 4 percent, will be skipped. Instead, GM will use the data to “identify waste and continuous improvement opportunities,” Kim Brycz, executive director of global product purchasing, told AN.

Bidding is effectively replaced with annual cost analyses. GM is also including suppliers earlier in vehicle programs with both parties reaping rewards: suppliers can optimize parts earlier on and GM can pay less for the same part.

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General Motors To Fall Short Of 2017 500K Electrified-Vehicle Milestone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-fall-short-2017-500k-electrified-vehicle-milestone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-fall-short-2017-500k-electrified-vehicle-milestone/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064210 General Motors announced Thursday it would fall short of its goal of having 500,000 electrified vehicles on the road by 2017. GM said 180,834 EVs, PHEVs, two-mode hybrids, and vehicles equipped with the automaker’s eAssist hit the road in 2014, up from 153,034 in 2013 and 39,843 in 2011, The Detroit News reports. The census […]

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2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – front ex

General Motors announced Thursday it would fall short of its goal of having 500,000 electrified vehicles on the road by 2017.

GM said 180,834 EVs, PHEVs, two-mode hybrids, and vehicles equipped with the automaker’s eAssist hit the road in 2014, up from 153,034 in 2013 and 39,843 in 2011, The Detroit News reports. The census counts vehicles from MY 2010 forward.

Regarding the future, GM said it would fall short of its 2017 goal alongside the industry as a whole as demand for electrified vehicles haven’t kept up with the automaker’s initial forecast. The automaker pointed to lower gas prices and increased demand for trucks, crossovers and SUVs as the cause behind the lukewarm progress.

Despite this, the automaker said it would continue with its electrification program, which includes the upcoming second-gen Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac’s new CT6 PHEV variant, and the Bolt EV aimed at Tesla’s Model 3, which GM expects to sell in all 50 states for $30,000 after federal tax rebates.

In the meantime, GM believes it can best handle both low fuel prices and ever-tightening fuel economy standards by improving upon the internal combustion engine and lightweighting.

The statement follows a similar instance from U.S. Department of Energy secretary Ernest Moniz made earlier this year, who stated the U.S. wouldn’t have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Arrival Of Buick Encore Twin Doesn’t Reduce Encore Demand – Encore Growth Continues Alongside Trax http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/arrival-buick-encore-twin-doesnt-reduce-encore-demand-encore-growth-continues-alongside-trax/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/arrival-buick-encore-twin-doesnt-reduce-encore-demand-encore-growth-continues-alongside-trax/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062226 U.S. sales of the Buick Encore have increased, on a year-over-year basis, in each of the last 16 months. That streak includes these last five months, a period in which a more affordable twin of the Encore, the Chevrolet Trax, has also been generating meaningful U.S. sales activity. Encore volume grew 31% in the five […]

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2015 Buick Encore

U.S. sales of the Buick Encore have increased, on a year-over-year basis, in each of the last 16 months. That streak includes these last five months, a period in which a more affordable twin of the Encore, the Chevrolet Trax, has also been generating meaningful U.S. sales activity.

Encore volume grew 31% in the five months preceding the Trax’s U.S. launch. Since the little Chevy’s arrival, not only has the Encore avoided a decline, the rate of its volume expansion has hardly slowed: Encore sales jumped 28% between the final month of 2014 and April 2015.

In fact, as General Motors attracted 7,477 sales with the less costly Trax in March and April, Buick reported the best month ever for the Encore in March and the second-best ever Encore performance in April, the latter being a slightly slower month for the overall auto industry.

5,650 Encore sales were reported by Buick in March; another 5,587 in April. Only once before – in March of last year – has Buick sold more than 5,000 Encores in a single month.

Encore Trax sales chartAs we reported back in March, the Encore, alone in its success at Buick, isn’t sufficiently powerful to overcome other losses at the brand. As Encore volume jumped 29% in April, for example, four other Buick nameplates combined for a 15% year-over-year decline. Encore included, Buick’s U.S. volume was still down 5% in April and 5% year-to-date. Even the Enclave, in a strong month for GM utilities and the Lambda platform (Traverse sales shot up 28%; Acadia sales jumped 40%), stumbled slightly with a 4% drop.

How strong a month? “April was GM’s best-ever month for crossover sales,” the company said in its release last Friday. Industry-wide utility vehicle sales were up 15% in April. GM’s nine crossover nameplates – Enclave, Encore, SRX, Equinox, Traverse, Trax, Acadia, Terrain, and the discontinued fleet-only Captiva Sport – increased their volume by 24% to 77,780 units, equal to 29% of the company’s total U.S. volume. (GM also sold 20,962 full-size SUVs.)

2015 Chevrolet Trax

The Trax and Encore aren’t a huge part of that production in the United States. Much talked about though the subcompact crossover segment continues to be, none of the contenders are huge volume generators. Yet. The group is expanding, and with the expansion of the group (Renegade, CX-3, HR-V, 500X), volume expands rapidly, as well. The Trax and Encore accounted for 12% of GM’s crossover volume in the automaker’s best-ever month for U.S. crossover sales. The Chevrolet Equinox, on the other hand, America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle last month, generated 37% of GM’s crossover volume thanks to a 42% YOY improvement. The Equinox’s GMC Terrain twin was only barely outsold by the Trax and Encore combined.

Including delivery fees, the Encore has a base price of $24,990. The Trax starts at $20,995. All-wheel-drive adds $1500 to the price in both cases.

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

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NHTSA: No Decision Yet On Extending General Motors’ Oversight Decree http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062842 A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined. The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February […]

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2015 Cadillac ATS Near Capitol Hill Circa January 2015

A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined.

The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as requiring the automaker to disclose any potential and ongoing problems, and to meet with the agency monthly about safety issues, The Detroit News reports. The decree can also be extended for up to two years, a decision agency head Mark Rosekind is discussing at present.

Rosekind praised the automaker’s willingness to be forthcoming about safety issues and improvements during those meetings, while GM spokesman Jim Cain had this to say about cooperating with the government:

We have fully complied with the terms of the consent order. More importantly, we have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

No word was given as of this writing on when a decision to extend or rescind the decree would occur.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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2015 Buick LaCrosse Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/review-2015-buick-lacrosse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/review-2015-buick-lacrosse/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 14:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052529 My name is Satish Kondapavulur. I am what most baby boomers would call “a millennial.” I like Vampire Weekend, streaming movies on Netflix, and playing Gran Turismo. My plans this weekend involve driving to Berkeley, going to whatever eardrum-splitting concert my friends want to see, with my dinner plans probably being a burger and fries […]

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2015 Buick Lacrosse

My name is Satish Kondapavulur. I am what most baby boomers would call “a millennial.” I like Vampire Weekend, streaming movies on Netflix, and playing Gran Turismo. My plans this weekend involve driving to Berkeley, going to whatever eardrum-splitting concert my friends want to see, with my dinner plans probably being a burger and fries from In-N-Out picked up at midnight. My daily driver is a 2002 BMW 530i, one of the best BMWs ever made. My favorite movie is American Graffiti, a film which involves plenty of loud exhausts, racing on city streets, and a 30-year-old Harrison attempting to pass for a teenager. And I liked my Buick LaCrosse test car.

“He likes the Buick LaCrosse?!” you might think. “But he’s a millennial! He drives a BMW! He’s likely glued to his smartphone all day! He probably doesn’t know what DOS is! ” And I do have a few of those “millennial” characteristics. I don’t like wearing cardigans, playing golf nearly every afternoon, or eating dinner at 5:30 pm. I don’t drive 5-10 mph slower than everyone else. I don’t look forward to moving into a retirement community at any point in my life, though I am looking forward to the senior discounts at the movie theater, when renting a car, and at Ben and Jerry’s. (Those savings really add up. Like enough to buy another smartphone.)

2015 Buick Lacrosse

But I like the Buick LaCrosse. Yes. Really. I like it. I like the fact I don’t have to brace myself for upcoming bumps on California highways. [What? You have those? -Canada] I like that I’m not a target for any highway patrol officers. I like that the head-up display gives me all the necessary information without having to look at the screen in the center console. I like that it’s quiet enough on the highway so I can listen to “Unbelievers” on the 11-speaker Bose sound system without a pothole interrupting the high notes. I like that it has enough sensors to drastically minimize whatever chances I have of getting in a car accident. I like that OnStar can back me up if I get hopelessly lost and my phone can’t find a signal. I think it even looks good.

Now, the first thing I’ll discuss regarding my Buick LaCrosse test car is its price. It was more than you would expect. Try $45,955. Yes, it was about the same price as a Lincoln MKS, base-level Audi A6 2.0T, Lexus ES350, or a fairly loaded Hyundai Genesis V6. For that price, you would expect plenty of tech features crammed into the car, a powerful engine, large wheels, free maintenance, and a day of dunking lessons with Shaquille O’Neal. The LaCrosse had all of that, with a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 304 horsepower, 20-inch wheels, two years of free scheduled maintenance, and so many tech features I’d need an entire paragraph to list them. Sadly, dunking lessons with Shaq aren’t on the Monroney sticker, likely because customers might ask for free throw lessons, too.

2015 Buick Lacrosse - Engine

The options on my test car included a head-up display, a blind spot warning system, a lane departure warning system, HID lights, a rear cross traffic alert system (which works surprisingly well when backing out of a driveway), a sensor which indicates the distance between my car and the car in front, and a forward collision alert system. All of those features I just listed are part of the $2,125 “Driver Confidence Package #1.” There was also a “Driver Confidence Package #2” on my test car that provided adaptive cruise control and front automatic braking, the latter a perfect feature for the modern millennial distracted by his or her smartphone. Additionally, since my LaCrosse had the Premium II trim level, it came standard with a Bose sound system, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, a keyless entry and ignition system, XM radio, 6 months of full OnStar Coverage, and 5 years of the OnStar base coverage.

One feature that Buick and General Motors advertise heavily is OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi connectivity included with all 2015 LaCrosses. It can connect to up to seven devices as long as they are within 50 feet of the car, like phones, tablets, laptops, refrigerators, coffee makers, GoPro cameras, microwaves, etc. Buick offers a 3 month or 3 GB data trial of the OnStar 4G LTE service, after which customers must sign up for a data plan ranging from $5 to $50 a month for 200 MB to 5 GB, similar to those for phones. According to OnStar’s website, AT&T customers can add the car to their wireless share plan for an extra $10 a month. The Onstar 4G LTE ended up being one of the many features I didn’t sample, since I had a smartphone with a data plan and streaming American Graffiti perhaps would’ve used up the data allocation.

The LaCrosse drove surprisingly well. Since my prior experience with Buick involved a 1990s LeSabre that exhibited tire squeal and an extraordinary amount of body roll during “spirited” driving, I wasn’t prepared for how well the LaCrosse could stick to the road in corners and power out of them. If I needed power, the V6 provided enough pull and it was immediate. The car had a sport mode (I only used it once; it detracts from the driving experience) that adjusted the shift points and allowed the transmission to stay in a gear until it hit a higher rpm. Furthermore, the car had real-time damping and Hi-Per Strut suspension which I’m sure helped the ride and handling dramatically despite the 20-inch wheels. During my week with the car, I drove it down the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Big Sur and had no complaints.

2015 Buick Lacrosse - Interior

Inside, the Buick was a very quiet and pleasant place. The controls were very easy to use, especially when operating the climate control or tuning the radio. I liked that I could rest my arm on the gear selector knob when reaching to tune the radio. The head-up display was very sharp, especially at night, but it wasn’t as good as BMW’s head-up display where one can easily scroll through radio stations and whose display is much more readable when facing directly into the sun. In the back, there was plenty of legroom and access to a 120 volt outlet, presumably for charging laptops to use the onboard 4G connection. An aspect of the interior I didn’t like were the thick A-pillars, which affect visibility and take some getting used to. Additionally, the LaCrosse was difficult to parallel park without the help of the rear camera, hearing the warning of the sensors, the feeling the vibration of the seats if you were getting too close. (The seats also vibrated if there were cars passing by when backing out of my driveway.)

When I had the Buick, thanks to a lot of highway driving, I managed to get around 24.5 miles per gallon during. However, fuel economy in the city, thanks to the 3.6-liter V6, wasn’t very good, especially once I hit stoplights where the indicated fuel economy would go down a few tenths. If fuel economy is a major concern for you, there is the option of a 2.4-liter inline-four with eAssist (a mild hybrid system fitted to the powertrain) which enables the LaCrosse to get an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Jack Baruth had the eAssist-ed LaCrosse last year and managed over 31 mpg with the car while describing the powertrain as “satisfactory.” (He drove it around New Jersey Motorsports Park too, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Buick has for a while been my favorite out of all of the General Motors brands. In the past, people drove Buicks rather than Cadillacs when they didn’t want to come across as having plenty of money or as being ostentatious. After a week with the LaCrosse, I feel the same. While your neighbors will be attempting to one up each other with the latest from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Lexus, you can have the Buick LaCrosse in the driveway and feel absolutely satisfied. With the Buick, you’ll have something comfortable, simple to use, and much less expensive with the same toys as cars commanding $10,000 to $20,000 more. When your coworkers rave about the blind spot warning, head-up display, and active cruise control systems in their cars, you’ll be fine knowing your car has the same systems.

And above all, you won’t be a target for law enforcement, you won’t have to complain of discomfort after long trips, and you will get away with wearing the cardigan you’ve always wanted.

Buick provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas for the road test.

Satish Kondapavulur is a writer for Clunkerture, where about a fifth of the articles are about old cars and where his one-time LeMons racing dreams came to an end once he realized it was impossible to run a Ferrari Mondial. He’s currently taking golf lessons in between attempting to qualify for GT Academy.

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GM Gives Away 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Invests $174 Million In Kansas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-gives-away-2016-chevrolet-malibu-invests-174-million-kansas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-gives-away-2016-chevrolet-malibu-invests-174-million-kansas/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 18:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060954 In celebration of a key milestone, General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave away a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Monday, a feat that could never happen with the old Malibu, even with Oprah’s help. The Malibu was given to retired U.S. Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Trent Brining, who received his medal when a rocket-propelled grenade […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

In celebration of a key milestone, General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave away a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Monday, a feat that could never happen with the old Malibu, even with Oprah’s help.

The Malibu was given to retired U.S. Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Trent Brining, who received his medal when a rocket-propelled grenade delivered severe injuries to his arms and legs while on patrol in Baghdad in 2005. Brining is currently a financial advisor for a local credit union near Overland Park, Kansas, 30 minutes south of where his new Malibu will be assembled later this year in nearby Fairfax.

Over the next two days, GM will select four other individuals to receive a new vehicle built in the region where they reside. The giveaways are in celebration of the automaker’s 500-millionth vehicle to leave the assembly line. Barra added her company expects to sell “more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day” during 2015, a figure that would deliver an estimated 10 million units in volume by the end of the year.

Speaking of Fairfax Assembly, Chevrolet global president Alan Batey announced the plant would receive a $174-million investment for new equipment and technology to help assemble the 2016 Malibu. The investment is part of GM’s overall $5.4-billion investment scheme to help improve its standing for years to come. Monday’s announcement follows the first one made last week in Michigan, where three facilities will split $783.5 million for similar improvements.

[Image credit: Chevrolet]

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GM Hints At Aluminum Bodies During $5.4B Investment Announcement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-hints-aluminum-bodies-5-4b-investment-announcement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-hints-aluminum-bodies-5-4b-investment-announcement/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058530 During its announcement of a $5.4-billion investment into its facilities, General Motors hinted at possibly making the switch to aluminum bodies. Part of the investment would go into the Warren Technical Center in Warren, Mich., where a revamp of its prototype plant would accommodate aluminum, steel, and blended steel/aluminum bodies, The Detroit Bureau reports. Currently, […]

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General Motors RenCen Signage Circa August 2006

During its announcement of a $5.4-billion investment into its facilities, General Motors hinted at possibly making the switch to aluminum bodies.

Part of the investment would go into the Warren Technical Center in Warren, Mich., where a revamp of its prototype plant would accommodate aluminum, steel, and blended steel/aluminum bodies, The Detroit Bureau reports.

Currently, aluminum has been used on some components and panels for a number of models as the automaker continues its experiments in lightweighting that began with the first Corvette. This is set to change with the upcoming Cadillac CT6, which uses the alloy throughout the majority of the body, while the firewall and floor pan are stamped from steel.

With ever-stringent fuel economy standards looming on the horizon — including the 54.5 mpg fleet fuel economy average set for 2025 — GM may apply aluminum to more of its vehicles to help meet the mandate, as the metal is easier to use than other lightweight materials such as carbon fiber.

However, aluminum is more expensive than steel, which may prompt the automaker to use it on luxury vehicles or on trucks and SUVs, following Ford’s extensive use of aluminum on the new F-150.

Steel, meanwhile, won’t be going away. The steel industry has made gains in developing lighter, stronger alloys, while automakers like GM are using blended sandwich-style body panels to reduce noise.

[Photo credit: Joseph Novak/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Oshawa Camaro Production Ceases November 20, Reduced To Three Shifts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:50:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057122 First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012. Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three […]

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2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at the Oshawa Assembly Plant

First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012.

Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three between the “Flex” and “Consolidated” lines. Currently, the “Flex” line is on three shifts while the smaller line is on one shift. GM Canada will “begin a voluntary retirement canvass” to reduce worker head count before implementing any layoffs. GM Canada President, Stephen K. Carlisle, stated “60 percent of our hourly workforce are nearing retirement” age and the company will offer incentives to eligible employees looking to retire early.

Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS production will continue on the “Flex” line for now. Regal production is scheduled to move to Germany by 2017 while the XTS will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019. Both the XTS and Impala are also produced in Michigan. The “Consolidated” line currently builds the Impala Limited – a previous-generation W-body sedan – and the Chevrolet Equinox, the latter which is also produced in Ingersoll, Ontario.

GM Canada and Unifor are working together to “examine a range of longer-term opportunities and competitiveness enhancements for Oshawa Assembly,” stated the release today. The future of Oshawa will be announced after Unifor national bargaining next year.

On the same day, GM also announced $5.4b in investments aimed at the company’s Pontiac, Lansing, and Warren, Michigan facilities.

The announcement comes after GM Canada committed $800m to Ingersoll and another 100 jobs toward expanding connected car and green technology development at GM Canada’s Oshawa Engineering Centre.

 

 

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Cadillac ATS Sales Down, Down, Down, Down Some More? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/cadillac-ats-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/cadillac-ats-sales/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056202 The Cadillac ATS’s launch in the fourth-quarter of 2012 was the most important for the Cadillac brand since whatever Cadillac’s previous most important launch was. But very early on, Cadillac simply wasn’t selling as many as they wanted to. Sales weren’t terribly low – Cadillac averaged 3,200 U.S. ATS sales in calendar year 2013, but […]

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2015 Cadillac ATS

The Cadillac ATS’s launch in the fourth-quarter of 2012 was the most important for the Cadillac brand since whatever Cadillac’s previous most important launch was.

But very early on, Cadillac simply wasn’t selling as many as they wanted to. Sales weren’t terribly low – Cadillac averaged 3,200 U.S. ATS sales in calendar year 2013, but incentivization kicked in early. After peaking at 3,887 units in December 2013, sales have decreased on a year-over-year basis in 14 of 15 months, including in each of the last eleven months.

Only a two-unit, 0.07% uptick in April 2014 interrupted what would otherwise be a streak of decreases stretching back to the beginning of last year.

So here’s the question: with April sales results set to be released tomorrow, will the Cadillac ATS’s sales stats display a full year of year-over-year monthly declines?

Here’s what needs to happen for Cadillac to avoid that outcome: Cadillac sold 2737 ATS sedans in April 2014 and therefore needs to top that figure in April 2015.

Cadillac has only topped that figure once since last April, and only barely, with 2,804 August sales.

Moreover, sales in March totalled just 2,039 units, and the market for new vehicles is likely to be somewhat smaller in April than it was in March.

The ATS’s year-over-year declines have been particularly harsh of late: 34% in November, 37% in December, 8% in January, 16% in February, and 32% in March. Year-to-date, ATS sales are down 20%, a loss of 1,494 units. Joining the ATS in the Cadillac slowdown is the CTS, sales of which tumbled 39.5% in the first-quarter.

U.S. best-selling premium cars 2015 Q1

Granted, the U.S. passenger car market isn’t in rude health. Sales of cars are slightly south of flat over the last three months and expanded less than 2% in 2014, a year in which the overall industry made 6% gains. ATS sales fell 22% in 2014, the nameplate’s second full year.

Yet despite negative growth in the car market, BMW car volume is up 28% (3-Series/4-Series sales are up 27%); car sales at Mercedes-Benz are up 2% (C-Class sales are up 23%). Acura, Audi, Infiniti, and Lexus have posted 6%, 8%, 10%, and 4% improvements, respectively.

Coupes and V models will expand the appeal of the ATS range, but they don’t cure the ATS’s key faults. The small rear seat and CUE system continue.

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

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City Officials Ready To Approve Incentives For Arlington Assembly Expansion Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/city-officials-ready-approve-incentives-arlington-assembly-expansion-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/city-officials-ready-approve-incentives-arlington-assembly-expansion-plan/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055641 City officials in Arlington, Texas will vote Tuesday evening to approve incentives for General Motors’ $1.2-billion expansion of Arlington Assembly. Mayor Robert Cluck says the incentive package – including a reduction of real estate and business taxes by 80 percent over 10 years and waived construction and development permits – is in exchange for an […]

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2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

City officials in Arlington, Texas will vote Tuesday evening to approve incentives for General Motors’ $1.2-billion expansion of Arlington Assembly.

Mayor Robert Cluck says the incentive package – including a reduction of real estate and business taxes by 80 percent over 10 years and waived construction and development permits – is in exchange for an expansion that would add 589 jobs to the factory, Detroit Free Press reports. Cluck added that his city “had a beautiful relationship with General Motors,” and sees no issue with the package being passed.

In addition to the new jobs, the plan would add 1.2 million square feet and approximately $1 billion in equipment to the factory floor, with $300 million going toward building improvements for the 60-year-old facility that assembles Chevrolet’s Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, as well as GMC’s Yukon and Yukon XL models, and Cadillac’s Escalade. A spokeswoman for GM declined to offer anything more specific about the plans, claiming that the automaker had “nothing to announce at this time.”

The expansion comes as demand for the aforementioned SUVs have climbed 51 percent in Q1 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014. The demand has the 4.4 million-square-foot factory operating on three shifts six to seven days per week just to keep pace.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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GM Canada Hiring Over 100 Software, Control Engineers For Connected-Vehicle Mandate in Oshawa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gm-canada-hiring-100-software-control-engineers-connected-vehicle-mandate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gm-canada-hiring-100-software-control-engineers-connected-vehicle-mandate/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055689 Following a new connected-vehicle and green tech mandate, GM Canada’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ontario is hiring 100 engineers to support the mandate. The 100 software and control engineers will be responsible for working on connected-vehicle, environmental and mobility solutions, according to GM Canada. Said work includes “development of new software and active controls […]

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GM Canada

Following a new connected-vehicle and green tech mandate, GM Canada’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ontario is hiring 100 engineers to support the mandate.

The 100 software and control engineers will be responsible for working on connected-vehicle, environmental and mobility solutions, according to GM Canada. Said work includes “development of new software and active controls that allow customers to take advantage of high-speed data links between automobiles and mobile networks,” lightweighting, and alternative fuels.

GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle stated that the new hires would give his subsidiary the opportunity “to take advantage of a wealth of talent in mobile technologies, software and advanced automotive engineering available in Canada’s leading universities and other partner organizations.” GM global sales chief Mark Reuss added that development of those technologies go a long way toward delivering new models with the features his company’s consumers desire, and praised the new initiative.

GM Canada also plans to use social media to connect with all Canadians as the center’s team goes to work on those technologies.

[Photo credit: GM Canada]

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Ninety Total Death Claims Approved By GM Compensation Fund http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ninety-total-death-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ninety-total-death-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 20:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055457 Three new death claims linked to the General Motors ignition recall have been approved by the compensation fund managed by attorney Kenneth Feinberg. The new claims bring the total of all death claims approved since the window for acceptance opened last August to 90, AutoGuide says. Another 46 are under review as of this time. […]

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2009 Saturn Sky

Three new death claims linked to the General Motors ignition recall have been approved by the compensation fund managed by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

The new claims bring the total of all death claims approved since the window for acceptance opened last August to 90, AutoGuide says. Another 46 are under review as of this time.

Regarding injury claims, six more were approved by the fund, bringing the total to 163. Eleven of those claims were linked to severe injuries, including permanent brain damage, quadriplegia, and double amputation. Another 951 injury claims are being reviewed.

Total claims received between August 1, 2014 and the January 31, 2015 deadline came to 4,342. Of those remaining, 1,420 were ruled ineligible for payout, while 491 were submitted without proper documentation.

As for compensation, 167 offers were made thus far, with 113 accepting the deals, five rejecting the settlements, and 81 receiving payouts. The settlements begin at a minimum of $1 million per GM’s request, with total payout projected to hit $550 million once the last offer is accepted.

[Photo credit: fortfan/Flickr]

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Wall Street Journal v. GM: A Public Battle For Editorial Independence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/wall-street-journal-v-gm-public-battle-editorial-independence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/wall-street-journal-v-gm-public-battle-editorial-independence/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053417 Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal faced off against General Motors over editorial independence, and won. According to ProPublica president Richard Tofel, who wrote an entire chapter about the story for his book, “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism,” the conflict between the two giants […]

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Renaissance Center

Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal faced off against General Motors over editorial independence, and won.

According to ProPublica president Richard Tofel, who wrote an entire chapter about the story for his book, “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism,” the conflict between the two giants began over 60 years ago this May.

The story goes that GM CEO Harlow “Red” Curtice happened upon a report in the WSJ about the tactic of selling excess inventory through smaller independent dealers at cut-rate prices – bootlegging – a tactic used by his company and his competitors in Detroit. The report also covered the editorial policies of the newspaper’s local competitors – which had banned advertising of non-franchise dealers involved in bootlegging – citing the Detroit Three’s influence in advertising departments had begun to creep into the newsroom.

As a result, Ward’s Automotive Reports had cut the WSJ off from its weekly newsletter subscription. However, an exclusive published in late May – styling renders of the 1955 models from the Detroit Three – was the straw that broke Curtice’s back.

Fearing that sales of 1954 models would crash as a result of the exclusive, GM cancelled all of its advertising with the newspaper that day and barred access to its weekly production figures; the Associated Press was also barred when GM learned the Journal had tried to go through the media organization to get the figures. Editor Barney Kilgore later told Time magazine his paper declined to attend the “off-the-record” new-model briefing that year, citing the Detroit Three’s tendency to go “off the record” nearly all the time as the reason for not playing the game.

What followed was two months of editorials defending its stance on the two stories, letters to the editor from readers who either weren’t happy with Kilgore’s decision or stood behind the newspaper, and a number of other publications, such as Ad Age and Tide magazine (an advertising trade journal, not to be confused with Time), calling out GM and Curtice’s behavior in the matter.

Speaking of the letters, Kilgore chose one from a reader to pass along with one of his own – calling for a way to settle the issue reasonably – to Curtice. The letter, by Roy Brenholts of Columbus, Ohio, stated that Brenholts would trade one of his two Cadillacs for a Ford instead of trading the Ford he owned for a Chevrolet, adding that he would avoid Cadillac until GM stopped their “Hitlerite attitude” toward the newspaper.

The meeting between Curtice and Kilgore led to two letters being published back-to-back in early July. Curtice wrote that breaking off relations with the WSJ was better than suing – though he wouldn’t hesitate to consider the latter next time – but that he never intended to interfere with editorial. Kilgore, in return, noted that the flow of information – weekly sales figures, news releases et al – had come back to normal, his paper had the right to publish news from authorized and unauthorized sources, and he, not the advertisers, would be the final arbiter in what was published in the first place. This established the WSJ as a newspaper with unflappable independence and integrity before the public in so doing.

[Photo credit: Robert Emperley/Flickr]

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Chevrolet Sonic’s U.S. Subcompact Market Share Is Plunging – Started Near The Top Now It’s Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-sonics-u-s-subcompact-market-share-plunging-started-near-top-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-sonics-u-s-subcompact-market-share-plunging-started-near-top-now/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053129 GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year. As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly […]

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Chevrolet Sonic sales chart

GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year.

As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly 13,000 units over the last three months.

The Sonic ranked as the second-best-selling subcompact in the United States through the first three months of 2014, a position it held at this stage of 2013 and in each of the last three calendar years.

But through the first three months of 2015, the Sonic is America’s fifth-best-selling subcompact, 25,683 sales back of the top-selling Nissan Versa, a vehicle it trailed by fewer than 11,000 units at this stage in 2014.

In 2014’s first-quarter, the Sonic’s market share climbed to 19% thanks to a 4124-unit improvement year-over-year. A market share drop of nearly ten percentage points just one year later is a shock to GM’s small car system.

2015 Chevrolet Sonic lineup

Chevrolet Spark sales are down 5% this year. Chevrolet Cruze volume is off by 7%. Overall Chevrolet car sales are down 17%. Likewise, General Motors car volume in the U.S. is down 17%, a 45,487-unit deficit (year-over-year) that’s been erased by a 21% surge in light trucks, including a 48,046-unit increase among pickup trucks.

GM has known for quite some time that demand for the Sonic was way below previous expectations. Automotive News reported three months ago that Sonic production at the Orion plant in Michigan would be suspended to clear out a Sonic glut.

But it’s taking a while. At the beginning of this month, GM had a 160-day supply of Sonics. That’s well down from the 258-day supply one month earlier, but still well in excess of the 59-day average across the industry.

Meanwhile, the Sonic isn’t the only subcompact suffering from a downturn. The aging Ford Fiesta is down 22% this year. Kia Rio volume has plunged 37%. The Mazda 2, in a replacement phase, is down 94%. But none of those holes are as large as the one left by the dramatically less popular Sonic, without which the subcompact category would be up 1% in early 2015.

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

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Marchionne Isn’t Finding Any Potential Dates For Marriage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/marchionne-isnt-finding-potential-dates-marriage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/marchionne-isnt-finding-potential-dates-marriage/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:09:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052385 Though FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is still looking to merge his company with another automaker, no one is all that willing to tie the knot. Despite Marchionne’s quest to consolidate the industry by leading by example, he’s managed to strike out in some way with Ford, General Motors, Peugeot, Renault-Nissan and Volkswagen. Regarding GM, CEO Mary […]

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2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

Though FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is still looking to merge his company with another automaker, no one is all that willing to tie the knot.

Despite Marchionne’s quest to consolidate the industry by leading by example, he’s managed to strike out in some way with Ford, General Motors, Peugeot, Renault-Nissan and Volkswagen.

Regarding GM, CEO Mary Barra stated Thursday that her company already had plans of its own and that it wasn’t interested in consolidation with another automaker, according to Detroit Free Press:

We laid out a comprehensive plan that takes us through the early part of next decade. We’re already in that top tier. We have a well-articulated plan and we are not going to entertain anything that would distract us from achieving that plan.

Meanwhile, a proposed tie-up with Volkswagen came to naught, though Marchionne stated such a thing was never in the cards in the first place, despite claims by VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch of having met with FCA officials to discuss buying a part or all of FCA.

Though there are still other smaller automakers Marchionne could pursue in the spirit of consolidation, like Mazda and Tata, there’s the issue of his own company’s performance as of late. Already stuck with large debts, Forbes states profitability is a major issue among shareholders regarding the automaker. In the U.S. alone, the issue stems from its pursuit of sales volume over profit via aggressive incentivizing. As a result, margins remain at 4 percent and pre-tax earnings have climbed a mere $2.7 billion, even with revenues doubling by $40 billion since the start of the new decade. Thus, no company would likely consider consolidating with FCA.

As for why Marchionne is banging the drum of consolidation, especially as far as his company is concerned, it comes down to survival in the face of competition from outsiders like Google and Apple. The arrival of non-traditional companies like the two tech giants could force automakers to keep up with the pace of change such companies would set the further the latter group digs into the former.

For now, though, the FCA CEO laments the difficulty in finding a partner, going as far as to provide Bloomberg with a metaphor about the search earlier this month:

One of the most difficult things to do is to get the turkey to invite himself to Thanksgiving dinner.

[Photo credit: FCA]

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Chart Of The Day: The Chevrolet Volt’s Long And Harsh Decline http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-chevrolet-volts-long-harsh-decline/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-chevrolet-volts-long-harsh-decline/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:07:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046514 The first three months of 2015 marked the lowest-volume quarter of U.S. Chevrolet Volt sales since the summer of 2011, when Volt production was just ramping up. Volt volume in January of this year, more specifically, fell to the lowest level since August 2011. With only 542 sales in the first month of 2015, Volt […]

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

The first three months of 2015 marked the lowest-volume quarter of U.S. Chevrolet Volt sales since the summer of 2011, when Volt production was just ramping up.

Volt volume in January of this year, more specifically, fell to the lowest level since August 2011. With only 542 sales in the first month of 2015, Volt sales were down 41%.

February sales then tumbled 43%. Most recently, March 2015 volume slid below 1000 units for the third time in three months, tumbling 57% to just 639 units, just the fourth time in 38 months that GM has sold fewer than 1000 Volts in the span of a month. 

Are fuel prices to blame, or the fact that the next, improved Volt has already been revealed? Both may be contributing factors in the most recent months, but a straightforward drop in demand, from low to lower, is the more appropriate response. Volt volume was in decline long before the latest fuel price decline.

Chevrolet Volt sales chart quarterlyVolt sales peaked during the car’s second full year on the market, 2012, before beginning a steady decline that saw monthly volume decrease on a year-over-year basis in 18 of 25 months, including each of the last eight months. Initial expectations called for approximately 40,000 annual Volt sales in the United States. GM hasn’t yet come within 16,000 units of matching that goal.

One thing is certain: there are Volts to be had. The drop to only 1874 first-quarter sales in 2015 occurred despite the fact that GM had, according to Automotive News, a 56-day supply at the beginning of January, a 192-day supply at the start of February, and a 159-day supply when March began.

The Volt was America’s 67th-best-selling car in 2012 but fell to the 70th position in 2013, before falling to 78th in calendar year 2014. Through the first-quarter of 2015, the Volt is now America’s 99th-best-selling car.

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

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1990-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1990-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043970 The Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find! The Z24 got the DOHC Quad 4 engine later […]

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04 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find!
07 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Z24 got the DOHC Quad 4 engine later on (as we see in this ’98 Cavalier Z24 Junkyard Find), but in 1990 the most potent Z24 engine was the 135-horsepower 3.1 liter V6.
01 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though cannabis is now legal in Colorado (where I found this car), decor like this tends to raise the suspicions of members of the law enforcement community.
13 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThere are certain signs that let you know a car is on its final owner. Like, for example, these dashboard stickers.
10 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ’90 Cavalier Z24 listed at $11,505 (the out-the-door price tended to be lower, of course). The Acura Integra RS hatchback was a mere $445 more, however, and GM cannibalized a few Z24 sales with the $11,650 Geo Storm GSi.


Check out the headlight covers in the Mexican version of the ’94 Z24!

01 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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General Motors Saved From Pre-Bankruptcy Ignition Lawsuits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-saved-pre-bankruptcy-ignition-lawsuits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-saved-pre-bankruptcy-ignition-lawsuits/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045274 Per a bankruptcy court ruling Wednesday, General Motors won’t be on the hook for pre-bankruptcy claims linked to the February 2014 ignition recall. Reuters reports U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages from GM involving claims made prior to the automaker’s 2009 exit from bankruptcy would have to sue “Old GM” […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

Per a bankruptcy court ruling Wednesday, General Motors won’t be on the hook for pre-bankruptcy claims linked to the February 2014 ignition recall.

Reuters reports U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages from GM involving claims made prior to the automaker’s 2009 exit from bankruptcy would have to sue “Old GM” for said damages. Though the claims come to $32 billion, Old GM’s assets in October 2014 totaled around $9.25 billion, a recovery of 29 cents on the dollar.

Gerber added that economic-loss plaintiffs could bring their claims against “New GM” based on the automaker’s behavior since leaving bankruptcy, and would certify the case for direct review by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He also said there were due process failures involved in GM’s exit, but that those failures weren’t enough to become violation-level issues due to lack of evidence by plaintiffs demonstrating that they were denied their day in court because they did not receive notice in time.

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General Motors Looking Toward Arlington Assembly Expansion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-looking-toward-arlington-assembly-expansion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-looking-toward-arlington-assembly-expansion/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041745 General Motors is looking to expand its factory in Arlington, Texas to help boost production of its SUVs. Reuters reports the expansion would cost $1.3 billion, and would add 1.2 million square feet and 589 jobs in so doing. The additional jobs would also raise the city’s minimum employment requirement at Arlington Assembly to 3,179; […]

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2015-chevrolet-suburban-ltz-photo-576439-s-1280x782

General Motors is looking to expand its factory in Arlington, Texas to help boost production of its SUVs.

Reuters reports the expansion would cost $1.3 billion, and would add 1.2 million square feet and 589 jobs in so doing. The additional jobs would also raise the city’s minimum employment requirement at Arlington Assembly to 3,179; the plant currently employs 4,125, nearly 1,000 employees above the requirement.

The city council is proposing an 80-percent tax reduction over the next 10 years on the plant and its equipment, as well as waive building permit and development fees. The council will vote on approving a reinvestment zone at Arlington Assembly next Tuesday, with the vote on incentives to come April 28 should the zone be approved.

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Quote Of The Day: Chevrolet Volt, One Generation On http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/quote-day-chevrolet-volt-one-generation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/quote-day-chevrolet-volt-one-generation/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 18:21:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041593 “When someone thinks of an electric vehicle, they don’t think of Chevrolet; they think Toyota or Tesla.” -Jamaal McCoy, general manager of Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas, quoted by the Wall Street Journal. When the Chevrolet Volt launched at the start of the decade, the plan was to sell 70,000 units annually, with talk of […]

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A Volt from the blue...

“When someone thinks of an electric vehicle, they don’t think of Chevrolet; they think Toyota or Tesla.”

-Jamaal McCoy, general manager of Findlay Chevrolet in Las Vegas, quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

When the Chevrolet Volt launched at the start of the decade, the plan was to sell 70,000 units annually, with talk of selling as many as 120,000 units in later years. Now, the Volt is ending product of its first generation with roughly 70,000 units total finding their way off the showroom lots.

The next Volt will be a more advanced car, with a better drivetrain and seating for 5. From a qualitative perspective, the Volt is now better positioned to suceed in the marketplace. Unfortunately, it is being introduced in the midst of record low energy prices, and a market that is heavily favoring trucks and SUVs – the kind of vehicles that the Volt was intended to displace in America’s auto market.

 

 

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