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, 26 Jan 2015 14:20:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-012

When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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General Motors Developing CVT In-House For Global Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-developing-cvt-house-global-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-developing-cvt-house-global-lineup/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987842 Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup. Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark

Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup.

Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the automaker’s new line of three- and four-cylinder engines set to see production this year. The sources added that GM is taking bids from suppliers to build parts for the CVT.

Though the automaker uses CVTs already, including the 2015 Spark and Nissan NV-based City Express, it hasn’t had much luck with using units designed and assembled in-house. In the early 2000s, GM ran a program that saw such a product installed in the Saturn Vue and Ion, as well as the Opel Vectra, before production and drivability issues brought the program to a halt in 2004.

As for why go for it again, GM Powertrain representative Tom Read says the automaker has the capability to make its own CVTs, and will deliver when conditions — specifically those concerning fuel efficiency and emissions — are met:

GM has unmatched transmission expertise and development resources and is capable of delivering additional CVTs if and when they’re needed.

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Judge Asked To Make Treasury’s Role In 2009 GM Bailout Public http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/judge-asked-make-treasurys-role-2009-gm-bailout-public/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/judge-asked-make-treasurys-role-2009-gm-bailout-public/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987098 Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week, the Center for Auto Safety asked the judge to make public the U.S. Treasury’s role in the 2009 General Motors bailout. Bloomberg reports the consumer safety advocacy group asked the judge to force the United States federal government into disclosing a number of […]

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Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week, the Center for Auto Safety asked the judge to make public the U.S. Treasury’s role in the 2009 General Motors bailout.

Bloomberg reports the consumer safety advocacy group asked the judge to force the United States federal government into disclosing a number of documents linked to the Treasury’s role in the bailout, suggesting the department told GM to cast aside responsibility for any defects or accidents tied to said defects before receiving $49.5 billion in funding.

On the other side, the Treasury is asking the judge to dismiss president Clarence Ditlow’s 2011 lawsuit for the aforementioned information, warning that being forced to go public would harm the government’s chances to come to the aid of a company whose demise would greatly damage the overall economy.

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Toyota No. 1 Global Automaker In 2014, Volkswagen Close Behind http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-no-1-global-automaker-2014-volkswagen-close-behind/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-no-1-global-automaker-2014-volkswagen-close-behind/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987066 Once again, Toyota is the No. 1 largest automaker in the world, but Volkswagen is waiting close behind for the chance to take the crown. Automotive News reports Toyota sold 10.23 million units in 2014 with help from its Daihatsu and Hino partners, the first time the automaker sold over 10 million units in a […]

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WEC 6 Hours of Fuji

Once again, Toyota is the No. 1 largest automaker in the world, but Volkswagen is waiting close behind for the chance to take the crown.

Automotive News reports Toyota sold 10.23 million units in 2014 with help from its Daihatsu and Hino partners, the first time the automaker sold over 10 million units in a single year. Volkswagen took second on the podium with 10.14 million, and General Motors took third with 9.92 million.

2014 marks the second consecutive year Toyota has held the top spot, having regained it from GM in 2012 after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami greatly hindered production for the majority of that year. The automaker originally took the top spot from GM in 2008, the latter having dominated the podium for 80 years prior; Toyota also held the title in 2009 and 2010.

As for 2015, Toyota is forecasting deliveries of 10.15 million due to decreased demand at home and in emerging markets, as well as from falling oil prices and Japan’s increased national consumption tax. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is ahead of schedule as far as taking the crown goes, CEO Martin Winterkorn stating such a thing would occur by 2018 at the earliest before 2014’s results showed otherwise.

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NLPC: GM Buying PR, Awards For CEO Mary Barra http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nlpc-gm-buying-pr-awards-ceo-mary-barra/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nlpc-gm-buying-pr-awards-ceo-mary-barra/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986986 Since becoming General Motors CEO last January, Mary Barra has netted a few awards for herself, something the National Legal Policy Center sees troubling. According to Autoblog, the organization believes the numerous awards bestowed upon Barra are a sign that the automaker is buying positive publicity amid its long slog through 2014 after the recalls […]

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General Motors CEO Barra and Batey President of GM North America pose next to the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept car after it was unveiled during the first press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Since becoming General Motors CEO last January, Mary Barra has netted a few awards for herself, something the National Legal Policy Center sees troubling.

According to Autoblog, the organization believes the numerous awards bestowed upon Barra are a sign that the automaker is buying positive publicity amid its long slog through 2014 after the recalls began in February.

Of note are the awards where GM made a monetary contribution — either through underwriting or donations — to the organizations and events where such things were to occur, like the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s “The Appeal of Conscience” award bestowed upon Barra in 2014 for “encouraging a standard in which corporate America and global corporations accept responsibility.” There, GM paid $100,000 to underwrite the event, which occurred months after the automaker was taken to the woodshed over its handling of events that led to the February 2014 ignition recall crisis.

Should said contributions be linked to the awards won that year, the NLPC says both the automaker and the charities benefiting from GM’s contributions would find themselves in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Per president Peter Flaherty:

If the campaign is designed not only to enhance GM’s image with the public, but also to strengthen Ms. Barra’s position within the company, it is inappropriate because it is being conducted with corporate assets.

Flaherty hopes GM will disclose their charitable given voluntarily, but if not, he says his organization will file a shareholder resolution to force the issue during the automaker’s annual meeting in June.

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GM Compensation Fund Deems 49 Fatality Claims Eligible For Payout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/gm-compensation-fund-deems-49-fatality-claims-eligible-payout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/gm-compensation-fund-deems-49-fatality-claims-eligible-payout/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986650 Monday, the compensation fund created by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition recall announced that 49 deaths thus far would receive compensation. Reuters reports 108 claims were received during the previous week, increasing the total number of claims received between August 1 and Monday to 2,818. The number breaks down to […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Monday, the compensation fund created by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition recall announced that 49 deaths thus far would receive compensation.

Reuters reports 108 claims were received during the previous week, increasing the total number of claims received between August 1 and Monday to 2,818. The number breaks down to 2,300 claims for less-severe injuries, 207 for catastrophic injuries, and 311 for fatalities.

Total claims eligible for payout rose from 112 to 121, including 65 for less-severe injuries, seven for catastrophic injuries, and the aforementioned 49 death claims.

As far as the rest are concerned, 320 claims were found ineligible, 857 are under review — including 84 fatality claims — 757 lacked sufficient documentation, and 763 had no documentation at all.

The deadline for claim submission is January 31, a one-month extension from the original December 31, 2014 deadline.

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A Sordid History Of Unicorns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/sordid-history-unicorns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/sordid-history-unicorns/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 19:01:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984633 Please welcome Fil Cvetkovic to TTAC. Fil owns a manufacturing firm involved in automotive, aircraft and other industries – and has a long history with owning, repairing and giving up on obscure project cars. Fil will be reporting on used vehicle auctions, and likely picking up new projects for the ame time. Being the new […]

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Please welcome Fil Cvetkovic to TTAC. Fil owns a manufacturing firm involved in automotive, aircraft and other industries – and has a long history with owning, repairing and giving up on obscure project cars. Fil will be reporting on used vehicle auctions, and likely picking up new projects for the ame time.

Being the new kid on the block at TTAC, I figured an appropriate place to start would be introducing myself. My name is Filip Cvetkovic, but many know me as Fil or… “Phil with an F.” More importantly, I have more or less dedicated my entire life to the pursuit of unicorns. No, not the mythical creature, I’m talking about the cars that are made of unobtanium. As of this moment, at the ripe young age of 25, I’ve owned 96 cars. Many of which were never even available to Canadians.

I grew up in a family with a general interest in cars, but nothing like the insanity bordering on obsession that has enveloped my life. My mother has always kept an expansive library and at 3 years old, I found the only book about cars, and over the following days spent every moment possible glossing through it until she finally tired of all the drool and crayon markings, and put it on the highest shelf. Looking through the book over two decades later, it’s clear that I was most enamored with the “pagoda roof” Mercedes-Benz 280SL. That passion never faded.

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2006 was the year that I got my license, and with it, a Buick Grand National. Before anyone accuses me of being a spoiled brat, I should add that I inherited the car. My father passed away in 2001, and left the GN to me. He was the original owner, buying it new in November of 1986 and it had just a touch over 60,000 miles when I got it. I did my due diligence and had it towed in for a new battery and full service, then it was time for me to hit the roads.

The day I got it back from the mechanic, I picked up two friends and went for subs. Then went to an empty parking lot and did lots of donuts. Was it a good car for a 17 year old kid, filled with testosterone and bad ideas to get his hands on? Absolutely not. Did I wrap it around a pole? No, not yet at least.

By the end of that summer and 1000 miles of shenanigans later, it was time for me to find a sensible winter vehicle. With no intention of driving the GN into December, I acquired myself a print copy of Auto Trader and went on the hunt.

As any car guy does, I spent days leafing through the magazine obsessing over every last detail, until I found the car for me. This time, a metallic emerald green(a colour only available for the last year) ’92 Lincoln Mark VII with tan leather. It had 302 cubic inches of fox-body rear driven glory, in a mature-sensible shell. I went to see it that night, made a low ball offer that the owner accepted and left a deposit. When I called the owner the next day to arrange pick up, he told me somebody gave him his full asking price later that night and I could pick up my deposit at any time.

I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of car buying yet, a skill that I’ve managed to somewhat perfect over the last ninety something cars. With October almost over, I made a desperate call to our family mechanic and he told me he had a ’92 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Sight unseen, I agreed to buy it. All I knew at that point was that it was burgundy and wrong wheel drive. But when I came to pick it up a day later, I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was an “International Series”. For those not in the know about obscure early 90s General Motors trim levels, this was the cream of the crop. It had an oem CD player, sunroof and best of all, GMs famous 178 way adjustable leather seats. Not to mention silly globe badges everywhere.

The real surprise came under the hood. Where I expected an anaemic multi-port fuel injected 60 degree V6, there was an LQ1. We’re talking the high-revving, 215hp 3.4 Twin-Dual Cam motor that was hated by Goodwrench techs everywhere for it’s 13 hour timing-belt replacement and 4 hour alternator replacement. So the perfect car for me to learn how to wrench, right?

I fell in love with it immediately, and I know what you’re thinking, this was a result of it being my first car that I purchased with my own money. But I really don’t think it was that simple. Rather, it was the idiosyncratic nature of that black-magic powered, redheaded step-child of an engine combined with a trim package that consisted of gadgets that worked when they wanted… and lots of globe badges. Who knew a W-Body could have that much character? The car quickly asserted it’s dominance over me. It started when it pleased, idling perfectly when at shops, stalling at lights when not. It was an angry old misfit of a machine made from parts unknown.

Quickly I learned what appealed to me and this is where things got progressively worse. The only way I can describe the following several years is a bad case of mad-car disease. Scanning craigslist and Kijiji, soon I found another International Series which I used for parts to keep mine going. I slept on a friends couch the day I brought it home. Apparently normal people don’t buy cars to have spare parts for their own.

If that’s the case, I don’t want to be normal.

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From there, it was a 5 speed ’89 Cavalier Z24. Then a pearl ’98 Oldsmobile Aurora, with the rare Autobahn package. When that blew it’s head gasket, in typical Northstar fashion, the next logical progression was buying a ’99 Cadillac STS with a Northstar, right? Then my girlfriend at the time needed a car, so I bought a supercharged ’03 Grand Prix GTP. It incurred a few bumps and bruises over the years but she learned quickly and took excellent care of it. Although I didn’t always enjoy having to hear about the car acting funny.

The following summer, I bought a Dark Green Grey Metallic ’96 Impala SS, which I later traded for a white/grey ’92 GMC Typhoon #1805. After I sold the Typhoon, I bought a ’98 Regal GS and installed an aftermarket turbo kit. You’re probably thinking, didn’t the GS come factory supercharged? Correct, but with an NA intake manifold, turbo and front mount intercooler I managed to pull 310whp out of the car. I know I seem like a total GM fan boy, but in this time frame I also owned a ’96 Mystic Cobra and ’90 Taurus SHO for a few months respectively.

Then when I finished school it was time to buy something responsible. I bought an ’07 F150 XLT Crew Cab. The following summer, I installed a Magnusson twin-screw supercharger on it. It had a liquid-to-air intercooler and 44lb fuel injectors, and even with a dyno tune I was averaging 12mpg out of the already thirsty 5.4L 3V triton. And now I had to run premium gasoline. So much for responsible.

Being forced to find a more efficient daily driver, I found what became known to my friends and I as “beater GN.” It was a tired 87 GN with 180,000 miles, T-roofs were silicone shut, it had rust bubbles up the a-pillar and around both rear wheel wells but completely solid underneath and ran mint. With my other GN more or less a garage queen, it was an invigorating experience to get to drive one daily and despite it’s condition, still received compliments and thumbs up wherever I went.

Cruising down Ohio back roads returning from the Buick Performance Nationals in a Grand National was truly special. Telling my then girlfriend that the windows were down to feel the warm breeze, when truly I just didn’t have to listen to wind noise and rattling from the t-roofs that way. Being asked by the border officer to give it some gas when pulling away. Finally getting home at 1am and wishing I was still behind the wheel. There is something that unicorns bring to the table that “normal people cars” don’t.

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After that summer I sold the supercharged F150 and beater GN and bought a ’12 F150 XTR Crew Cab with the 5.0L, a decision I regret to this day. I’ve since gotten rid of it and vowed never to buy a normal car again. I understand the appeal to the most, but I just can’t drive normal. These days I daily a ’00 Volvo V70R and have an ’87 Mitsubishi Starion, ’97 Volvo 850 AWD turbo, ’96 Impala SS and my Grand National in the garage.

So from here on out I look forward to providing you with regular Craigslist/Kijiji and Auction car reviews, highlighting the most obtuse cars, that only weirdos like you and I will appreciate. And I’ll probably end up buying them.

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Barra: Oil Prices Have No Effect On Product Plans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/barra-oil-prices-no-effect-product-plans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/barra-oil-prices-no-effect-product-plans/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984297 Despite the ongoing drop in oil prices, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said her company would stay the course as far as fuel efficiency is concerned. Per The Detroit Bureau, Barra was interviewed onstage by Automotive News editor-in-chief Keith Crane about her time as GM’s CEO thus far during the 2015 Automotive News World Congress […]

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Mary Barra and Chevrolet Volt at NAIAS 2015

Despite the ongoing drop in oil prices, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said her company would stay the course as far as fuel efficiency is concerned.

Per The Detroit Bureau, Barra was interviewed onstage by Automotive News editor-in-chief Keith Crane about her time as GM’s CEO thus far during the 2015 Automotive News World Congress held during this year’s Detroit Auto Show. While she said falling prices weren’t going to alter product plans, she didn’t know what the end result of the situation would end up being.

Barra also addressed the recall parade that took up the majority of 2014, proclaiming that GM has learned its lessons from the recalls, and vowing that “this sort of thing” will never occur in the future. She maintains, however, that she, senior management and top engineers had no clue about the ignition problems that kicked off the parade until it came to light via pre-trial testimony.

As far as GM being a large corporation weighed down by bureaucracy is concerned, Barra said such a view is inaccurate today, from how it conducts conferences, to how it evaluates employees and listens to its customer base.

Finally, she said she keeps an eye on the various subsidiaries GM has around the world, praising the strength of Opel in particular.

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Capsule Review: 2015 GMC Yukon Denali http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-gmc-yukon-denali/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-gmc-yukon-denali/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975233 Over the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014. Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six […]

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2015 GMC Yukon DenaliOver the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014.

Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six full-size SUV nameplates in 2014, up from 7.7% in 2013. At this point, they’re not vehicles built exclusively for the rich and famous, the Secret Service, owners of big boats and RVs, and families with five children.


• USD Base Price: $67,965
• Horsepower: 420 @ 5600 rpm
• Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
• Observed Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg


How well would one version fare when GM Canada sent a CAD $84,695 copy for a one-week stay to a family with one child, no security team, no Jayco, no riches, and no fame? Quite well. But the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali did a better job of making the case for another GM vehicle than it did for itself.

I AM JUST A POOR BOY
In Canada, the regular-wheelbase 4WD Yukon Denali starts at $75,290, an $18,345 jump from the cost of a base 4WD Yukon. Our Yukon Denali included a $5000 touring package: sunroof, rear seat DVD, head-up display, enhanced security package, and 20-inch chrome wheels. Those wheels were swapped out for $545 22-inch alloys. Power retractable running boards added $1920; adaptive cruise control rang in at $1780.

In the U.S., 4WD Yukon Denalis start at $67,965, a $16,780 jump from the base Yukon SLE. Equipped like the one pictured here, the U.S. price would rise to around $77,000.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali frontI SEEM TO LEAN ON OLD FAMILIAR WAYS
The Denali’s heated steering wheel and three-stage heated seats (which can warm both buns and backs or buns only) were more than a little appreciated, as was the remote start, as our winter kicked into high gear after Christmas. The two front seats are also cooled, a feature I did not dare test when the windchill fell below 0°F. Warmed or cooled or not, front seat comfort is where full-size SUVs excel. Space is abundant, storage is plentiful, an ideal seating position is easy to find, there’s a significant amount of bolstering for broader folk, and no control requires a long reach.

But let’s face it, this interior doesn’t scream money. As the guy who didn’t pay big bucks to actually own this Yukon, it wasn’t hard for me to enjoy the simplicity of GMC’s IntelliLink (certainly not after a week with Acura’s convoluted system) and the vehicle’s high feature load. Still, any time I was left waiting in the Denali, I remembered other interiors at this price point and was left balancing the lower-class ambience of the Denali’s interior with, “But I can tow 8100 pounds and the Audi A8 can’t!

2015 GMC Yukon Denali interiorMaking matters worse, standard-wheelbase models just aren’t that roomy in the back. Second row passengers have far less knee room than you’d expect in a vehicle that’s 17-feet long. (Key dimensions: 204 inches long; 80 inches wide; and 74 inches tall on a 116-inch wheelbase.) Third row space would be decent if not for a floor so high that it jacks up knees to chin height. Standard-wheelbase, full-size SUVs continue to have an issue with cargo space behind the third row, as well. 15.3 cubic feet is the official figure, but making the most of that space requires artful placement of very slim luggage. The 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row is box-shaped, but the load height has been elevated to make a flat floor possible. This reduces overall space and makes life a pain for dogs who don’t have extensive agility training.

SLOW DOWN, YOU MOVE TOO FAST
Criticism that’s been levied against lesser versions of GM’s latest K2XX SUV platform is dismissed by the Denali’s magnetic ride control. Not only does the Yukon Denali ignore the worst pavement, its cabin is also very quiet. Pair that smooth silence with a monstrous V8 and speed is generated with great haste. Fortunately, confidence-inspiring brakes, good visibility, and composed handling cause the speeds produced by the 6.2L V8 to seem far more normal than they should for a vehicle which weighs, according to GM, 5784 pounds.

Sure, there’s a truck-like momentary lapse in the steering on and just off centre, but modern pickup trucks (and offshoots such as this Yukon) continue to impress with deftness that belies their size. Car & Driver says the Yukon Denali accelerates to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, a shocking figure which will likely be reduced by a smarter 8-speed automatic. This outgoing 6-speed never shifts poorly, but it doesn’t manifest the intelligence of newer automatics.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali column shifterOfficially, the Yukon Denali’s forthcoming 8-speed doesn’t make a huge fuel economy difference, increasing the 6.2L’s city number from 14 to 15 mpg and leaving the 21 mpg highway figure unchanged. (The real-world gains are surely more meaningful.) In our 6-speed tester, we saw 12.7 mpg, a figure exacerbated by winter rolling stock (285/45R22 Bridgestone Blizzaks), cold weather, excessive idling, and city driving. The 4WD system was left in auto mode for the duration of its stay, save for a handful of RWD moments at the end of our cul-de-sac after a light snowfall. You can imagine why.

GOING TO THE CANDIDATES’ DEBATE
At this price point, there are countless ways to spend your money, not just in the wide-ranging automotive spectrum but in the SUV world and even the GM portfolio.

The Escalade’s CUE will improve upon the Denali’s interior style quotient, if not its usability. There are smaller vehicles which do a better job of squeezing in seven occupants. Although the Yukon Denali handles well for what it is, there are genuine track-capable utility vehicles in existence. I couldn’t help but value the vehicle’s surplus all-around capability, however, and the GMC’s knack for coming across as a pleasant vehicle to live with despite being built to do rugged things conventional crossovers can’t.

2015 GMC Yukon Denali seatsAs a three-row vehicle, it comes up short. As a luxury contender, I’m not sure it lives up to its MSRP. Nevertheless, the Yukon Denali convinces me that GM is at its best when GM is building their most profitable vehicles. It also convinces me that I’d prefer to pay less for more vehicle. Thankfully, that vehicle exists. It’s called the Chevrolet Suburban.

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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De Nysschen Back Tracks As Cadillac CTS Gets $3,000 Price Cut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-back-tracks-cadillac-cts-gets-3000-price-cut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/de-nysschen-back-tracks-cadillac-cts-gets-3000-price-cut/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 20:43:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973321 “That’s not going to happen…Either you have to bring your volume aspirations into alignment with reality and accept that you will sell fewer cars. Or you have to drop the price and continue to transact at the prices where you were historically. I think the logical conclusion is that it’s better to build off a […]

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“That’s not going to happen…Either you have to bring your volume aspirations into alignment with reality and accept that you will sell fewer cars. Or you have to drop the price and continue to transact at the prices where you were historically. I think the logical conclusion is that it’s better to build off a very solid base in terms of [product] credibility, charge a fair price for the car and realize you have to wait until the volume comes.”

That quote was from Cadillac boss John De Nysschen in response to questions about cutting the prices of Cadillac models, which some dealers complained has risen too quickly. How quickly that’s changed.

Automotive News reports that the 2015 Cadillac CTS models with a V6 engine will get a $3,000 price cut. Select models equipped with a 4-cylinder engine will get a $2,000 cut. The base price of $46,340 remains unchanged, while the top trim V-Sport with a twin turbo V6 engine will stay at $71,880.

A Cadillac memo described the move as “a more compelling price point for our returning CTS loyalists when moving up into a new, more sophisticated 2015 CTS.” Inventories of the CTS remained bloated through much of the year, with many Cadillac dealers complaining that prices of the CTS had risen sharply, alienating existing customers. Despite a brand new model, CTS sales were down 4 percent year over year in 2014.

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GM Banking On Dynamic Cylinder Deactivation For Improved Fuel Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/gm-banking-dynamic-cylinder-deactivation-improved-fuel-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/gm-banking-dynamic-cylinder-deactivation-improved-fuel-economy/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972833 General Motors has played with cylinder deactivation technology since the days of Carter, sometimes successful, sometimes with more disastrous results. With Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire, GM is banking on the former. The technology — a result of the automaker’s 2012 equity investment in the startup via GM Ventures — uses “advanced digital signal processing […]

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GM Ventures Sees Potential in Fuel Saving Technology

General Motors has played with cylinder deactivation technology since the days of Carter, sometimes successful, sometimes with more disastrous results.

With Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire, GM is banking on the former.

The technology — a result of the automaker’s 2012 equity investment in the startup via GM Ventures — uses “advanced digital signal processing with sophisticated powertrain controls to create a software-based approach to variable displacement engines.” This allows for a dynamic approach for cylinder management, with individual cylinders to be activated or deactivated on a case-by-case basis while maintaining proper torque at all speeds/loads and avoiding vibration issues.

GM believes employment of DSF could improve fuel economy among its various models by as much as 15 percent compared to other cylinder-deactivation methods, such as its Active Fuel Management system used by the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, among others.

As for when DSF might appear, Tula CEO R. Scott Bailey couldn’t say much about the timeline, but that his investor views the technology as “production worthy,” per an interview with Autoblog. Other investors in Tula include Sequoia Capital, Sigma Partners and Khosla Ventures.

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US Treasury: Over $9B Lost In Auto Industry Bailout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/us-treasury-9b-lost-auto-industry-bailout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/us-treasury-9b-lost-auto-industry-bailout/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969969 The final tally is in: American taxpayers lost $9.26 billion from the Bush II/Obama-led rescue of the U.S. auto industry. The Detroit News reports the loss comes out of a total investment by the U.S. Treasury of $79.69 billion used to bail-out General Motors, Chrysler Group, Ally Financial and Chrysler Financial. The department recovered $70.43 […]

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The final tally is in: American taxpayers lost $9.26 billion from the Bush II/Obama-led rescue of the U.S. auto industry.

The Detroit News reports the loss comes out of a total investment by the U.S. Treasury of $79.69 billion used to bail-out General Motors, Chrysler Group, Ally Financial and Chrysler Financial. The department recovered $70.43 billion in profit through share sales, loan repayments, dividends and interest.

The reported final figure comes on the heels of the Treasury’s sale of its last 11.4 percent stake in Ally, the automotive lender and bank-holding company formerly known as GMAC Financial. Accounting rules, however, state the government — and thus, the taxpayers — lost $16.56 billion on the bailout, as interest and dividends paid by those rescued were not applied to the principal owed.

The $9.26 billion lost was much lower than the $44 billion projected early in 2009, as well as the $30 billion predicted later that year. Per the Center for Automotive Research and others who supported the bailout, the loss was much preferable over the total collapse of GM and Chrysler, with the former stripping the industry of 1.2 million U.S. jobs, $17 billion lost in Social Security and income taxes for 2009, and $79.5 billion in personal income tossed into the fireplace.

While the government is now out of the automotive business, it still has a small presence in the finance industry: out of 700 institutions who were accepted into the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program in the early days of the Great Recession, 35 are still in the program today. $426.4 billion was invested overall, with the government recovering $441.7 billion; accounting rules, however, state the Treasury has taken $35 billion in losses.

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GM Files For ‘Crossvolt’ Name For Possible Volt-Based CUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-files-crossvolt-name-possible-volt-based-cuv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-files-crossvolt-name-possible-volt-based-cuv/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=969225 Over four years ago, Chevrolet introduced a Volt-based crossover concept that hinted at the style the brand would have crossed someday, had not the resources been diverted to the Cadillac ELR. That day might now be sooner than never. Fox News reports General Motors made a new filing for the trademark Crossvolt in August of […]

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Over four years ago, Chevrolet introduced a Volt-based crossover concept that hinted at the style the brand would have crossed someday, had not the resources been diverted to the Cadillac ELR.

That day might now be sooner than never.

Fox News reports General Motors made a new filing for the trademark Crossvolt in August of this year, abandoning a previous filing made in 2011 that the current application — published for opposition just before Christmas — duplicates.

As for the Volt-based crossover that could end up wearing the nameplate, a mule based on the Orlando was spotted last year among a handful of Volts undergoing testing, a hint that a second model based on the upcoming Volt set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show is in the works.

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GM Compensation Fund Adds 104 Claims For Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-compensation-fund-adds-104-claims-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-compensation-fund-adds-104-claims-review/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964466 Another 104 claims have been added to the pile for examination by Kenneth Feinberg and his staff, who are overseeing the victim compensation fund established by General Motors as a result of the February 2014 ignition switch recall. Reuters reports total claims number 2,430, which include 260 for deaths linked to the recall, 172 for […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

Another 104 claims have been added to the pile for examination by Kenneth Feinberg and his staff, who are overseeing the victim compensation fund established by General Motors as a result of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Reuters reports total claims number 2,430, which include 260 for deaths linked to the recall, 172 for catastrophic injuries, and 1,998 for less-severe injuries.

Claims eligible for payout remain unchanged, totalling 100: 42 fatality, seven catastrophic, 51 less-severe.

Three hundred six claims were found ineligible for payout per Feinberg’s office, while 692 were under review, 568 lacked sufficient documentation, and 764 were submitted with no documentation.

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100 Fatality, Injury Claims Approved For GM Compensation Fund Payments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/100-fatality-injury-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund-payments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/100-fatality-injury-claims-approved-gm-compensation-fund-payments/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962842 It’s been a while since the TTAC Zaibatsu checked in on the victim compensation fund created by General Motors and overseen by the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg. How have things gone since the last time? One hundred fatality and injury claims have been approved. The Washington Post reports the milestone was announced Monday, when […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

It’s been a while since the TTAC Zaibatsu checked in on the victim compensation fund created by General Motors and overseen by the office of attorney Kenneth Feinberg. How have things gone since the last time?

One hundred fatality and injury claims have been approved.

The Washington Post reports the milestone was announced Monday, when four new fatality and seven injury claims linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall were approved. The new total to-date comes to 42 fatalities and 58 injuries approved for payment.

Overall, Feinberg’s staff has received 2,326 claims since the window for acceptance opened August 1 of this year, 306 of which were rejected, 568 deemed deficient in information, 907 were missing verification documents, and 445 — including 46 linked to wrongful death — are under review at this moment.

As for the 100 approved claims, 57 have received and accepted settlement offers, 22 of which have been paid thus far. The window for filing, originally set to close in the final days of 2014, will do so at the end of January 2015.

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OEMs Suspend Vehicle Sales In Russia Amid Volatile Currency Situation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/oems-suspend-vehicle-sales-in-russia-amid-volatile-currency-swings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/oems-suspend-vehicle-sales-in-russia-amid-volatile-currency-swings/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:02:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962674 With the Russian ruble experiencing a near collapse in value, multiple OEMs have decided to suspend sales of its vehicles in Russia. According to a statement sent to Just-Auto, GM’s Russian arm said “In view of the volatility of [the] rouble exchange rate and with the aim to manage its business risk, GM Russia has decided […]

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With the Russian ruble experiencing a near collapse in value, multiple OEMs have decided to suspend sales of its vehicles in Russia.

According to a statement sent to Just-Auto, GM’s Russian arm said

“In view of the volatility of [the] rouble exchange rate and with the aim to manage its business risk, GM Russia has decided to temporarily suspend wholesaling of vehicles to its dealers in Russia as of 16 December, 2014,” said a GM Europe statement emailed to just-auto. At the same time we confirm all Cadillac, Opel and Chevrolet vehicles already purchased by customers will be delivered on the agreed price. We are monitoring the situation.”

Bloomberg is reporting that Audi and Jaguar Land Rover have also suspended sales amid uncertainty in foreign exchange markets. Toyota, Volkswagen are set to adjust their prices in the near future to reflect the new exchange rates.

Russian auto sales have spiked in recent weeks as consumers sought to buy up hard assets to protect against a falling ruble. But the erosion on value of the Russian currency have left several OEMs exposed to currency risks. According to Bloomberg’s report, BMW could stand to lose as much as $135 million dollars due to the recent drop in the ruble.

 

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Two-Tier Wage System Targeted For 2015 UAW Negotiations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961777 2015 is only 15 days away, which means new contract negotiations between the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers are coming, the main focus being the elimination the two-tier wage system implemented in 2007. The Detroit News reports the UAW’s hourly members are calling for the abolition of the system, which has done nothing […]

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Dennis Williams

2015 is only 15 days away, which means new contract negotiations between the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers are coming, the main focus being the elimination the two-tier wage system implemented in 2007.

The Detroit News reports the UAW’s hourly members are calling for the abolition of the system, which has done nothing but “cause a divide” up and down the roll “on both sides of the aisle,” per Local 2209 president Brian Hartman.

There may be trouble within, however, as Tier 2 employees receive bonuses and profit-sharing checks in lieu of being on parity with Tier 1 workers. The former may not be so willing to see lowered or disappeared bonuses just to level up to those making more, while the latter would like to not only see the system die, but to gain a raise in pay — including the restoration of holiday and cost-of-living adjustment payments — in so doing.

Other issues on the table for 2015 include securing overtime pay after eight hours per day — instead of overtime after 40 hours per week — ensuring all employees receive a defined pension scheme, and hiring temporary employees for permanent positions after 90 days.

The environment for the negotiations will be different compared to those held since 2007: UAW workers at General Motors and Chrysler Group will be able to strike for the first time since 2011, while non-union employees now have the right to remain as such via Michigan’s right-to-work law. UAW president Dennis Williams hasn’t focused too much on the right-to-work situation, believing that if one does their job in representing those under their care, the people would give their undying support to the leadership.

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GM Investing $5B To Modernize, Double Mexican Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-investing-5b-modernize-double-mexican-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-investing-5b-modernize-double-mexican-production/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959265 General Motors will invest $5 billion through 2018 into its Mexican facilities to help double production capacity. Reuters reports $1.4 billion of the $5 billion has spent, according to GM Mexico president Ernesto Hernandez, with the rest coming over the remaining three years. The investment will add 5,600 jobs, and help modernize the subsidiary’s facilities […]

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General Motors will invest $5 billion through 2018 into its Mexican facilities to help double production capacity.

Reuters reports $1.4 billion of the $5 billion has spent, according to GM Mexico president Ernesto Hernandez, with the rest coming over the remaining three years. The investment will add 5,600 jobs, and help modernize the subsidiary’s facilities in Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, Mexico State and Guanajuato.

The investment raises the total figure invested into the nation’s booming auto industry in the first two years of Pena Nieto’s presidency, now at $19 billion. Mexico is currently the seventh largest producer in the world, up from eighth place in 2013.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-cadillac-xts-vsport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-review-2015-cadillac-xts-vsport/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:30:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957466 GM delivered the Epsilon II platform to the company’s most upmarket division to produce a car with, among other things, more flamboyant styling. Later on, Cadillac added all-wheel-drive, threw in enough equipment to call it a Platinum edition, and by replacing the 3.6L V6 with a twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6, yielded enough straight-line performance to justify […]

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2015 Cadillac XTS VsportGM delivered the Epsilon II platform to the company’s most upmarket division to produce a car with, among other things, more flamboyant styling. Later on, Cadillac added all-wheel-drive, threw in enough equipment to call it a Platinum edition, and by replacing the 3.6L V6 with a twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6, yielded enough straight-line performance to justify the Vsport label.

This all-wheel-drive Cadillac XTS is not an outright Cadillac V car, not like the XLR-V, the STS-V, and what will soon be the third-generation CTS-V. Instead, the Vsport tag, first seen on the third-gen CTS, is a midway point. Except in the XTS’s case, there will be no V, presumably because upping the ante would just be silly, given that the 410-horsepower XTS Vsport already manifests torque steer despite its AWD configuration.

This, therefore, is Maximum XTS, the latest, flashiest, fastest car in a long line of big Cadillacs stretching back to your grandfather’s Fleetwood Brougham and his boss’s post-war Sixty Special.

In the United States, a base front-wheel-drive XTS starts at $45,655, destination fees included. $51,995 is the starting point for the all-wheel-drive XTS. The Vsport model begins at $63,730, but the Vsport Platinum ($70,780) can be optioned up beyond $72,000 with rear seat DVD. The XTS Vsport is rated by the EPA at 16 mpg in the city; 24 on the highway. Our XTS Vsport Platinum, supplied for the week by GM Canada, averaged 16 mpg over the course of the week and was priced at (CAD) $77,565 with fees and options, including $1295 for the lustrous crystal red tintcoat.

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport rearThe sense of high quality is deeper than the paint. Moving inside, the XTS’s headliner and pillars are slathered in alcantara. There’s real wood sourced from real trees. Four of the 14 Bose speakers are perched just above the front occupants’ shoulders for impressive surround sound audio. CUE, though sluggish and frustrating when in use, makes for a stylishly minimalistic flip-up centre panel. The XTS Vsport’s gauge cluster is light years beyond the setup so often decried in the ATS.

Moreover, if “premium” and “luxury” and “upscale” still go hand in hand with acreage, the XTS is a winner regardless of equipment levels and material quality. It’s 19.2 inches longer than the ATS, 6.5 inches longer than the CTS, with a cabin that’s 7.4% larger than the CTS’s. If you want bigger luxury, long-wheelbase Germans are the way to go. The Audi A8L is 5.4 inches longer with 2.9 inches of extra rear legroom and a cabin that’s 17% larger. But the A8L, like most cars, can’t beat the XTS’s 18 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

(Compared with the final version of its DTS successor, the XTS is 5.6 inches shorter and nearly two inches narrower with marginally less rear legroom and 2.4 fewer inches of rear hiproom. The trunk and the overall cabin size are both slightly smaller than they were a generation ago, as well.)

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport frontFortunately, once on the move the XTS doesn’t feel as immense as its dimensions suggest. Visibility is far better than in the smaller CTS and the XTS’s steering is more than light enough to ease slow-speed maneuvering. Naturally, there’s a lot of weight (4215 pounds) to toss around a corner. That avoirdupois, combined with slow and feathery steering and braking response that’s not up to the standards of modern performance cars, discourages the truly aggressive driving which the CTS Vsport constantly invites. Yet at the same time, the XTS performs the trick of driving like a somewhat (and only somewhat) smaller car, which becomes its most encouraging dynamic trait.

Still, the general lack of any feeling or connection causes you to question the legitimacy of the V badge on the XTS’s trunklid, if you haven’t already. But the road will open up, and when it does, you’ll be taken aback by the instant-on torque (369 lb-ft at just 1900 rpm) and the seemingly endless wave of power. As the speedometer’s readout climbs higher and you anticipate an ocean’s worth of disconcerting float, Magnetic Ride Control keeps body motions in check. The XTS Vsport’s ride quality isolates road imperfections to the extent that passengers were never aware of the imperfections. And though wind noise, more noticeable because of the otherwise hushed interior, barely creeps in around the A-pillars, passengers are not aware of the actual rate of speed.

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport interiorRemembering the potency of this engine, you didn’t reach such speeds quite as quickly as you expected. The 3.6L twin-turbo makes 10 more horsepower and 61 more lb-ft of torque when placed under the hood of the CTS Vsport, which weighs less than 4000 pounds and sends power to the rear wheels with an 8-speed automatic. By the standards of that car’s transmission, the XTS Vsport’s 6-speed automatic is sluggish, but its all-around smoothness will be appreciated by the XTS’s dwindling clientele.

U.S. XTS sales are down 26% to just 22,059 units through the first eleven months of 2014. Thus, it may not have mattered if the XTS Vsport was equipped with a Hellcat-like V8 and ZF’s famed 8-speed automatic, as this still wouldn’t be a vehicle in which the typical car buyer of today has any interest. (And does the typical buyer of yesterday have any interest in battling the Cadillac User Interface on a daily basis?) Though relatively fleet-friendly, the XTS sells less often than the far pricier and recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class; more often than the Audi A6, Buick Regal, and Lexus GS. Cadillac sold more than 80,000 Devilles as recently as 2003, a year in which Lincoln sold more than 56,000 Town Cars.

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport frontThe market has moved away from traditional full-size sedans and is moving away from Cadillac’s car division, too. The brand’s passenger cars are down 15% to 79,139 units with one month remaining in 2014 as Cadillac reportedly pursues a premium image not in keeping with price cuts.

Indeed, ever since the as-tested price was mentioned, you’ve been wanting to pipe in with the names of countless other cars available at a similar price point: BMW 550i xDrive, Lexus LS460, Audi A7 TDI, and Jaguar XJ, cars with reputations for athleticism, refinement, technological prowess, and panache which Cadillac can’t match. That might be missing the point. The XTS Vsport won’t be the car you buy because of how well it stacks up against the competition. It’s the XTS you buy because you were going to buy an XTS anyway, and this is the maximized XTS.

Of course, I wasn’t going to buy a regular 304-horsepower XTS. Sales figures suggest you weren’t going to either. But I won’t deny that for the prospective XTS buyer, this Vsport provides the kind of accelerative experience that makes the conventional XTS feel dreadfully pedestrian.

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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November 2014: The Worst Sales Month For The Chevrolet SS Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/november-2014-worst-sales-month-chevrolet-ss-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/november-2014-worst-sales-month-chevrolet-ss-ever/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:41:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958489 November 2014 U.S. sales of the Chevrolet SS fell to the lowest full-month total in the model’s 13-month history with General Motors reporting just 105 units. SS volume peaked at 350 units in March of this year. Last November, in the SS’s first full month, 178 were sold. Year-over-year, SS sales slid 41% twelve months later. […]

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2015 Chevrolet SS redNovember 2014 U.S. sales of the Chevrolet SS fell to the lowest full-month total in the model’s 13-month history with General Motors reporting just 105 units.

SS volume peaked at 350 units in March of this year. Last November, in the SS’s first full month, 178 were sold. Year-over-year, SS sales slid 41% twelve months later.

We knew the SS would be a rare car as it’s basically a competitor for the lower-volume V8-engined versions of Chrysler Group’s two big cars, the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. (Sales for those cars aren’t reported by specific trim lines. Cars.com’s inventory shows 13,349 Chargers in stock at dealers now. 4711 of those Chargers are fitted with V8 engines. A smaller percentage of those V8 cars are SRT models.)

Chevrolet SS sales chartBut it wasn’t supposed to be this rare. According to Automotive News, GM dealers had around 800 SS sedans in stock at the beginning of November.

By the standards of rare cars, the SS is frighteningly exclusive. It was outsold in November by cars like the Honda CR-Z, Mercedes-Benz’s electric B-Class, Nissan Cube, Volvo S80, BMW i8, Nissan GT-R, Volkswagen e-Golf, and the Cadillac ELR.

Yes, even by the standards of rare GM products, the SS is dangerously approaching near nonexistence. The ELR has outsold the SS in three of the last four months; tying the Chevy with 111 sales in September. Speaking of the SS nomenclature, the SSR convertible/truck/thing, in its best years, generated 9648, 8107, and 3803 sales. Chevrolet will struggle to top 2500 sales with the SS in 2014.

Nevertheless, this isn’t just a failure by General Motors to keep the (admittedly tepid) enthusiasm alive after a first half in which 1662 SSs were sold. It’s also a sign that American car buyers may have moved on.

Surely this $45,000 sedan could have performed better in a different time, in an era when $50,000 didn’t buy a Porsche SUV, when $33,000 didn’t buy a Mustang with more horsepower, when the 38,433 buyers who wanted a rear-wheel-drive Holden sedan hadn’t already bought their Pontiac G8. Surely it would have. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps?

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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GM Laying Off 100 More From Lansing Grand River This January http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-laying-off-100-lansing-grand-river-january/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-laying-off-100-lansing-grand-river-january/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957362 General Motors will lay off 100 more employees from its Lansing Grand River facility next month, joining the 350 already scheduled for said action. Detroit Free Press reports the layoffs are the result of the second shift at Lansing Grand River being cut due to low sales of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, both of […]

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General Motors will lay off 100 more employees from its Lansing Grand River facility next month, joining the 350 already scheduled for said action.

Detroit Free Press reports the layoffs are the result of the second shift at Lansing Grand River being cut due to low sales of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, both of which are assembled at the plant. Most of those being laid off are new hires.

GM plans to move 200 of the workers to the nearby Lansing Delta Township plant, where the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia are assembled, with the remainder to be transferred elsewhere.

The layoffs are expected to be temporary, with employees brought back to Lansing Grand River when production of the next-gen Chevrolet Camaro begins sometime around the fall of 2015 at the earliest. GM could lay off more or fewer employees still, however, as the automaker is still working out the final total.

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Editorial: It’s Too Late For Oshawa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-late-oshawa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-late-oshawa/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:56:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956938 Not long ago, Canada was, according to ex-GM CEO Dan Akerson, the most expensive place in the world to build a car. A strong Canadian dollar meant that the cars and crossovers built at GM’s plants in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ontario, weren’t as profitable as those built in the US or Mexico, where labor costs […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Not long ago, Canada was, according to ex-GM CEO Dan Akerson, the most expensive place in the world to build a car. A strong Canadian dollar meant that the cars and crossovers built at GM’s plants in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ontario, weren’t as profitable as those built in the US or Mexico, where labor costs were significantly lower.

But  even a newly weakened Canadian dollar isn’t going to save Oshawa.

TTAC has been predicting the end of Oshawa for nearly two years, The Globe and Mail (Canada’s newspaper of record), has come around to this notion, citing similar logic as our previous reports – namely, that all of Oshawa’s product can be built at other factories, or is being moved away from Oshawa entirely.

While some products, like the Chevrolet Camaro, are being moved due to a change in architecture (the next-gen Camaro will be built in the same factory as its platform-mate, the Cadillac ATS), others are being moved due to labor costs (the popular Theta crossovers will be produced in Mexico and Tennessee) or contractual obligations (the next-generation Buick Regal is almost certainly being built at an under-utilized Opel factory in Germany). In the case of the W-Body Chevrolet Impala (sold as a fleet only vehicle) its lifespan is coming to an end, and with it, a dedicated assembly plant, the ancient Oshawa Consolidated Line, which has already been given one stay of execution.

The Oshawa Flex Line, on the other hand, is a modern assembly plant that can build everything from the Camaro to the new Impala to the Equinox CUV all on one line. But even that won’t be enough to save it from closing, not when every single product can be made cheaper in Mexico, in the Southern United States or at the UAW’s lower, two-tier wage scale. If it were not for the Vitality Commitment signed by GM, (which promised to maintain 16 percent of vehicle production in Canada in exchange for bailout funds), the plant would probably be closed by now.

Instead, the earliest GM can depart is 2016, and the plant’s closure will be a devastating blow to a town that is as invested in General Motors as Green Bay is the Packers. According to The Globe and Mail, 3,600 jobs would be lost from the Oshawa plants- good, full-time jobs that are badly needed in a region that is economically limping along after years of a rout in manufacturing.

But discussion of a moribund auto industry for Ontario is a bit of a stretch. Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Toyota have all made significant commitments to Canadian manufacturing in the same window of time that GM has continuously cut product from Oshawa. The weaker Canadian dollar and strong auto sales both in Canada and the United States will only help.

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GM Replacing Keys In 2014-15 Trucks, SUVs Due To Ignition Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956898 Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys. Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys.

Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have the keys replaced. Per the bulletin issued by General Motors:

Some customers may comment that if the tilt steering column is in the full-up position and the shift lever is moved between gears, the shift lever contacts the head of the ignition key. Some contact force may rotate the ignition key and shut the engine off. When this condition occurs, the brake pedal was applied.

The keys are already available, as the automaker made the fix in February of this year. The bulletin requires dealers to issue the new key to customers who bought their vehicles prior to the change, and complain of the issue as noted.

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Vauxhall Viva Is Our Next Chevrolet Spark http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/vauxhall-viva-next-chevrolet-spark/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/vauxhall-viva-next-chevrolet-spark/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 16:52:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955169 Take a look at the Vauxhall Viva – or Opel Karl in the rest of Europe. The South Korean-built minicar is very likely to be our next Chevrolet Spark. With a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine making 75 horsepower, five seats and integration for iOs and Android mobile devices, the Viva is designed to capture former Spark […]

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Take a look at the Vauxhall Viva – or Opel Karl in the rest of Europe. The South Korean-built minicar is very likely to be our next Chevrolet Spark.

With a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine making 75 horsepower, five seats and integration for iOs and Android mobile devices, the Viva is designed to capture former Spark customers (Chevrolet has been axed from Europe) as well those flocking towards the Volkswagen Up! and other A-segment cars. Vauxhall is touting the fact that the Viva will have proper windows that roll up and down, not just pop out, a sign of just how stingy some entrants are in their quest to offer ultra-cheap motoring.

 

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NHTSA: GM Has Enough Parts To Repair All Affected By February 2014 Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955009 Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience. AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of […]

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Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience.

AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of the 2.66 million vehicles covered by the recall, and is urging owners to bring their vehicles in as soon as possible. GM added that it will help owners schedule repairs after work and on weekends, with the procedure to take 90 minutes.

Presently, approximately 1 million units still need to come in, with the automaker proclaiming 60 percent of all vehicles under the original recall have been fixed. The vehicles in question are the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, and 2007-2011 Saturn Sky.

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