General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process.
The switches were part of a 2014 recall that involved 2.6 million cars, including the Chevrolet HHR and Cobalt, Saturn Sky and Ion, and Pontiac Solstice and G5. The reported number of dead people was revised as part of a year-long investigation after GM initially acknowledged only 13 fatalities.
The settlement may cost GM up to $625 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In all, 124 fatalities and 274 injuries have filed claims against the automaker. In addition to federal lawsuits, the automaker faces investigations by 50 state attorneys general.
Chevrolet announced Tuesday that its new 2016 Volt would extend its all-electric range from 38 miles to 53 miles, which is a 40-percent improvement and would satisfy more than 90 percent of normal drives.
The feat itself would put the Volt on par with many all-electric commuters, whose normal range is anywhere from 60 to 90 miles. Of course, the Volt packs with it a 1.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder that bumps that range up to more than 400 miles, but that’s neither here nor there.
Let’s talk about the batteries.
General Motors will spend $877 million to upgrade its Flint, Michigan pickup plant, the automaker announced Tuesday.
The assembly plant, which is the oldest GM factory in North America, will get a new body shop as part of the investment along with general improvements.
The plant makes full-size trucks for GM, including heavy duty versions.
A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting.
The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside $313.6 million next year for research and development of hybrid technology, battery development and alternative fuels such as natural gas. Funding would increase by 4 percent every year up to 2020.
Nearly all major U.S. automotive lobbies representing manufacturers supported the proposal. (Read More…)
Not content with scaring the bejesus out of Chrysler owners, Wired has uncovered a hacker who says he can open a GM car with OnStar, start it or track it remotely. The only thing he can’t do is put the car in gear or steer it, which still requires a key.
Hacker Samy Kamkar says his $100 device can seriously annoy — or seriously rob — a GM car owner if he wanted it to. GM promptly responded by saying it fixed the flaw in a way that owners won’t have update their cars.
Kamkar said his exploit wasn’t mean to cause mayhem, but rather to show how modern, technological cars can be vulnerable to hackers.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may have only one new model built in North America over the next 18 months after executives pushed back development of others due to brisk sales of current models, Reuters is reporting.
The redesigned Chrysler Town and Country minivan may be the only new car built stateside that FCA plans to launch in the next 18 months, sources told Reuters. The company is planning to bring to the United States three Italian cars — the Fiat Spider, Maserati’s crossover and the Alfa Romeo Giulia — in the same timeframe.
This is the part where we would like to mention that a new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are seriously overdue.
Since 2010 — when America’s auto industry was in tatters but also in recovery — General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Toyota USA, and American Honda have lost 5.5 percentage points of market share.
Through the first half of 2015, those four automobile manufacturers produced 56.1 percent of all new vehicle sales in the United States, down from 61.6 percent in calendar year 2010. (Read More…)
Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting.
Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent for Toyota and VW respectively.
GM was the third-largest automaker with 4.86 million vehicles.
General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.
The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.
The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.
Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province.
According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded by Standard & Poor’s bond index. The broad public spending plan also extends to other sectors, despite high unemployment numbers and slumping manufacturing jobs.
Automakers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have called on the provincial government to cut back on public programs and reduce costs on utilities in an effort to keep car building in the province profitable. This year, Chevrolet will shift production of its Camaro to Michigan. On the whole, Oshawa GM production has a dark cloud lingering overhead until the company decides what to do with the facility in 2016.