The Truth About Cars » GM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:00:32 +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 » GM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com GM to Develop Global Car with China-based SAIC Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126489 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 […]

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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.

GM said the new global architecture would replace several existing models, but didn’t specify what those outgoing models would be. The vehicles would be manufactured in China, Brazil, Mexico and India and exported to other countries. GM said they expect to source many of the car’s components from local suppliers.

“With a significant majority of anticipated automotive industry growth in 2015 to 2030 outside of mature markets, Chevrolet is taking steps to capitalize on that growth,” General Motors President Dan Ammann said in the statement . “Strengthening Chevrolet’s position through this major investment is consistent with our global strategy to ensure long-term profitable growth in the markets where we operate.”

In February, SAIC and General Motors (through its Shanghai General Motors Wuling joint venture business) opened a plant in Indonesia to build SAIC-branded cars. SAIC also owns British car company MG.

The GM-SAIC partnership has an interesting history, especially in India.

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Feds Investigating General Motors Over ‘Certified’ Used Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/feds-investigating-general-motors-certified-used-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/feds-investigating-general-motors-certified-used-cars/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 20:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124233 General Motors disclosed in its quarterly Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the automaker for selling used cars under recall, the Detroit News is reporting. According to the automaker, the FTC notified GM that it was investigating “certified pre-owned vehicle advertising where dealers had certified vehicles allegedly needing recall repairs.” […]

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

General Motors disclosed in its quarterly Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the automaker for selling used cars under recall, the Detroit News is reporting.

According to the automaker, the FTC notified GM that it was investigating “certified pre-owned vehicle advertising where dealers had certified vehicles allegedly needing recall repairs.”

The filing acknowledges the investigation is connected with the 2014 recall of 2.59 million cars with faulty ignition switches that could turn the car off while driving, disabling its airbags. So far, 124 deaths have been linked to the defect.

The investigation is significant partially because a bill winding through Congress would significantly change penalties associated with defective cars. This week, a Senate committee shot down a proposal that would have forced used car dealers to complete recall repairs on vehicles for sale. A similar measure compelling rental car companies to fix defective cars in their fleets survived.

GM is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as attorneys general in every state for issues related to the faulty ignition switches. GM could be fined and face criminal penalties from the Justice Department.

“We continue to investigate these matters and believe we are cooperating fully with all requests for information in ongoing investigations. Such investigations could in the future result in the imposition of material damages, fines, civil consent orders, civil and criminal penalties or other remedies,” GM wrote in their filing.

 

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GM Patents Cloud-based Driver Settings Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-patents-cloud-based-driver-settings-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-patents-cloud-based-driver-settings-service/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123969 General Motors may store seat position, radio presets, contacts and Internet browsing history in a cloud-based system to serve to drivers regardless of the car they’re in, a patent discovered by Autoblog shows. The patent, which was filed July 14, said separate drivers would be required to authenticate their identities via RFID chip, text input, voice […]

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Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 8.37.13 AMGeneral Motors may store seat position, radio presets, contacts and Internet browsing history in a cloud-based system to serve to drivers regardless of the car they’re in, a patent discovered by Autoblog shows.

The patent, which was filed July 14, said separate drivers would be required to authenticate their identities via RFID chip, text input, voice identification or fingerprint reader. The information would be downloaded to the car via telematics.

The patent filing includes several mentions of security measures the automaker would take to protect sensitive information, which would include phone contacts, voicemails, Internet browsing history and Paula Abdul song alerts.

Information would be encoded in the car and sent to the cloud, and personal information would be removed from the car when it’s no longer needed, according to the patent.

The technology could be useful for frequent rental car drivers and car-sharing services.

Like the Ram ramps, Ford lights and others, it’s unclear if the technology will ever see the light of day.

 

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Instead of Mid-engined ‘Vette, Expect a New Malibu in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123513 Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department. The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department.

The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that may or may not happen in or around the year 2020.

In case you’re wondering, we don’t know either.

The timeline includes tantalizing details that GMC may be looking at adapting the Chevrolet Trax — which could be called the “GMC Granite” — and that the Colorado/Canyon may finally get an off-road ZR2 edition next year.

The story also summarizes their earlier claim that GM will be shrinking the Equinox and offering a new, mid-size crossover based on the current Traverse. Cadillac wasn’t included in their analysis, but the automotive publication spelled the death for the Chevrolet SS. We can’t have nice things.

A redesigned Malibu will see the light of day next year, and the curtain may fall on the Spark EV.

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Super Duty Buoys Flagging F-150 Sales for Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buoyed-heavy-duty-ford-still-leading-pickup-sales-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/buoyed-heavy-duty-ford-still-leading-pickup-sales-us/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123137 The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting. All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s […]

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting.

All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s perennial half-ton leader back.

The website, which used data from Cars.com to determine sales by segment, said that Ford’s Super Duty trucks led Ram and General Motor’s heavy-duty offerings by a large margin. Roughly 120,000 three-quarter and full-ton Ford pickups have been purchased this year, compared to around 80,000 and 75,000 heavy-duty trucks for Ram and General Motors, respectively.

Earlier this month, Ford offered a series of incentives totaling $11,000 on its F-150 in specific areas for specific models. A spokesman for Ford said that dealer stocks of the full-size F-150 pickups were unusually low, and that normal inventories would be restored by the end of September.

According to our own Timothy Cain, truck sales represent around 14 percent of overall vehicle sales in the United States, up one percentage point from last year. And the average price paid for a truck is $42,429 so far this year.

So who’s ready for a $100,000 pickup?

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Group Says They Won’t Protest Kid Rock, GM For Now http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/group-says-wont-protest-kid-rock-gm-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/group-says-wont-protest-kid-rock-gm-now/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 19:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118873 The Detroit chapter of the National Action Network says after meeting with officials from General Motors on Thursday they won’t protest the automaker for not cutting ties with singer Kid Rock, the Associated Press is reporting. The group has criticized Kid Rock’s past use of the Confederate battle flag at his concerts and said the singer should publicly condemn […]

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado

The Detroit chapter of the National Action Network says after meeting with officials from General Motors on Thursday they won’t protest the automaker for not cutting ties with singer Kid Rock, the Associated Press is reporting.

The group has criticized Kid Rock’s past use of the Confederate battle flag at his concerts and said the singer should publicly condemn the flag now. According to the singer’s publicist, the country singer hasn’t appeared on stage with the flag since 2011, when the entertainer was honored by the NAACP.

“They’re protesting something he’s not even doing,” Kid Rock’s publicist Nick Stern told the Detroit Free Press.

GM said it would continue to sponsor the summer tour and that the only flag on stage would be the American flag.

Chevrolet has used Kid Rock extensively in advertisements and marketing.

Kid Rock has said in the past that the Confederate flag was a symbol of Southern rock and rebellion. Earlier this month, Kid Rock in an emailed statement to Fox News told protesters to “kiss my (ass).”

“We’re not going to let off of this,” the NAN’s Rev. Charles Williams told the Free Press.

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Fiat Chrysler Tops Annual ‘Total Quality’ Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-tops-annual-total-quality-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-tops-annual-total-quality-survey/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118545 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality. Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors. FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, […]

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FCA US HQ

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality.

Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors.

FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, including the Fiat 500 and 500e; Dodge Charger, Challenger and Durango; and, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

While FCA took the top spot this year, General Motors and Volkswagen followed closely behind, tying for second place, one point behind FCA on a 1,000-point scale.

According to Strategic Vision, 46,000 consumer responses were used for the study, which rated consumer satisfaction along with problems in each vehicle. The Mini Cooper Roadster earned the highest score among new cars. Land Rover was tops among luxury automakers, Ram was first among non-luxury automakers.

BMW had six segment winners including the i3, 3-Series Wagon, X4 and X5; Mini Cooper Roadster and Countryman.

According to the Detroit News, the Total Quality Index study comes out less than a week before the annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout survey that last year ranked all FCA brands below industry average.

Of course, TTAC has never really been a big fan of the report anyway.

 

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General Motors Investing $1.4B into Texas SUV Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116713 General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs. The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades. Construction will take three years and plant […]

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GM Arlington Plant

General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs.

The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades.

Construction will take three years and plant operations won’t be impacted, GM said.

GM received tax incentives from Arlington for the plant expansion in April. According to minutes from the Arlington City Council, the plant will add 589 new jobs as a result of the expansion.

The announced $1.4 billion for the Arlington plant comes ahead of GM’s negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which will focus on pay raises for “second-tier” workers hired after the recession.

GM said it will invest $5.4 billion in U.S. manufacturing over the next three years. GM says it has identified $4.5 billion in improvements so far.

 

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Covering GM-UAW Event Today? Better Drive an American Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/covering-gm-uaw-event-today-better-drive-american-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/covering-gm-uaw-event-today-better-drive-american-car/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:23:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114697 According to Automotive News reporter Krishna Anatharaman, members of the media who aren’t driving American-branded cars won’t be able to park in the building deck of today’s UAW-GM handshake event. Before you say, “What the Toyota Camry?” keep in mind: Most of the automakers make you park in hinterlands if you don’t drive what they […]

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UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

According to Automotive News reporter Krishna Anatharaman, members of the media who aren’t driving American-branded cars won’t be able to park in the building deck of today’s UAW-GM handshake event.

Before you say, “What the Toyota Camry?” keep in mind: Most of the automakers make you park in hinterlands if you don’t drive what they like.

Today’s event at GM signals the beginning of negotiations between the Big Three automakers and United Auto Workers union. Negotiations are expected to focus on bringing “second-tier” workers’ pay more in line with veteran workers who were hired before the recession.

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Ferrari Filing ‘Days Away’ Says FCA Boss Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-filing-days-away-says-fiat-chrysler-boss-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-filing-days-away-says-fiat-chrysler-boss-marchionne/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113401 Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobile chief Sergio Marchionne said the official filing to spin off Ferrari could happen within the next few days. “We are days away from filing the prospectus,” Marchionne said, according to the Detroit News. The future standalone supercar maker will make available 10 percent of the company through […]

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sergio-marchionne

Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobile chief Sergio Marchionne said the official filing to spin off Ferrari could happen within the next few days.

“We are days away from filing the prospectus,” Marchionne said, according to the Detroit News.

The future standalone supercar maker will make available 10 percent of the company through its initial public offering, which is widely expected in October. The remainder of the company will be held by Fiat investors and Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi Ferrari, who is vice chairman of the company.

The move to spin off Ferrari is part of a larger plan to reinvest $61 billion back into FCA to fund future development for its range of vehicles.

Last week, Marchionne said Ferrari could be worth about $11 billion, or around 60 percent of FCA’s current market cap value. Analysts predicted the Maranello-based car maker would be worth roughly half Marchionne’s estimate. Despite building around 7,000 cars a year, Ferrari generates considerable profits for parent-company FCA.

Marchionne also denied that FCA would make a hostile bid to takeover General Motors in an effort to consolidate costs and boost profits. Marchionne has been looking for a partner — particularly GM — to offset rising investment costs.

“There are other, less optimal combinations,” he said.

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Chevrolet Adds Cell Phone Cooling Mat, Welcome To The Beginning of the End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chevrolet-adds-cell-phone-cooling-mat-welcome-future/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/chevrolet-adds-cell-phone-cooling-mat-welcome-future/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106249 So, the world is coming to an end. Smartphone users who just can’t handle the thought of their iDroidberrys shutting off because they get a little overheated, GM has a solution for you. The automaker announced a feature in upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas that will cool the phone while charging on the wireless mat before […]

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Engineers added a cold air vent to certain Chevrolets for the 2016 model year to help keep smart phones wirelessly charging in the car from overheating.  The industry-first feature will be available in 2016 Chevrolet Impala, Malibu, Volt and Cruze models equipped with wireless charging and Chevrolet MyLink. The Active Phone Cooling feature works when the car’s heating, ventilation and cooling system is on.

So, the world is coming to an end.

Smartphone users who just can’t handle the thought of their iDroidberrys shutting off because they get a little overheated, GM has a solution for you. The automaker announced a feature in upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas that will cool the phone while charging on the wireless mat before it turns itself into a hot brick of glass, plastic and metal.

Finally, engineers at GM got my letter.

According to GM, the vent will only operate when the vehicle’s heating or cooling system is on. The system works by placing an air vent on the mat, because that makes the most sense.

The feature will also be installed in Chevrolet Cruze and Volt models equipped with the wireless charging mat. For those of us who don’t spring for the wireless charging feature — or don’t plan on buying a Chevrolet soon — we’ll have to continue living in the Mesozoic Era with our nuclear-hot iPhone 6 Pluses.

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Marchionne Planning Shotgun Wedding For FCA With General Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/marchionne-planning-shotgun-wedding-for-fca-with-general-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/marchionne-planning-shotgun-wedding-for-fca-with-general-motors/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088273 How desperate has FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne become about marrying off his company? He’s asking activist investors to prod General Motors to the chapel. Marchionne recently began reaching out to hedge funds and other activist investors to help bring FCA and GM (or a European automaker) together to consolidate resources, Wall Street Journal reports. The […]

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Fiat Coupe Getting Ready To Be Married

How desperate has FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne become about marrying off his company? He’s asking activist investors to prod General Motors to the chapel.

Marchionne recently began reaching out to hedge funds and other activist investors to help bring FCA and GM (or a European automaker) together to consolidate resources, Wall Street Journal reports.

The search, which is coming up blank thus far, is the latest in the CEO’s attempt to find a happy ending for his increasingly desperate romantic tragicomedy film, fearing excess production and duplicate costs in engineering, R&D et al threaten future profitability of the overall industry.

For now, though, FCA’s low profit margins do not make for a good partner with stronger players, while Marchionne’s dealings with GM leave much to be desired. In 2005, he convinced the Detroit automaker to pay $2 billion to not buy Fiat — in hospice care by then — a move which also dissolved a five-year-old partnership to produce engines and transmissions together.

More recently, Marchionne attempted to woo GM back with an email to CEO Mary Barra suggesting as much. The automaker is transitioning its lineup to global architectures and can build said lineup on a broader scale than FCA. GM is also undergoing an internal consolidation to further boost profits, a plan Barra and others in management won’t allow to be derailed by outside distractions like Marchionne holding up a boombox in front of the RenCen playing Peter Gabriel, hoping GM will say anything but no.

However, Barra’s recent dealings with activist investors over a share buyback of $8 billion — resulting in a $5 billion buyback with no further issues regarding board seats — has given Marchionne hope for his own cause, which could become more aggressive with every breath GM takes.

[Photo credit: hamster!/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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NHTSA Facing The Music Over Role In 2014 GM Ignition Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087617 A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest. According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found […]

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GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest.

According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found in certain GM models from being repaired for over a decade, says The New York Times.

While the reports did lay the majority of the blame on GM, the blunt assessment of the NHTSA’s part of the story is now leading to improvements and revisions with the agency’s methodology into potential safety problems. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed as much during a conference call with reporters following the release of the reports, acknowledging “deficits” in the methodology, and admitting there was “room for self-improvement.”

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind added he had not disciplined or dismissed any officials involved in the GM recall, but did note the improper handling of the situation “changed the culture” at the agency to the point where questioning the information received and assumptions pursued were encouraged.

The changes planned for the agency including putting automakers “on notice” without the need for gathering more evidence beforehand if a potential problem comes up, adopting a so-called “risk control” program to better align its departments and foster sharing of safety information, and instituting a formal process to contact lawyers representing affected litigants.

Finally, the NHTSA will be monitored by a team of experts over the next year, including those formerly of NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as a professor of medicine and engineering from the University of Michigan.

The two reports are only the first to give the agency the once-over; the Transportation Department inspector general will give their assessment later in June.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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While You Were Sleeping: Phaeton Axed in UK, Porsche 911 GT With A Stick and GM Is Down in China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/while-you-were-sleeping-phaeton-axed-in-uk-porsche-911-gt-with-a-stick-and-gm-is-down-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/while-you-were-sleeping-phaeton-axed-in-uk-porsche-911-gt-with-a-stick-and-gm-is-down-in-china/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084185 The Volkswagen Phaeton, the pride of former chairman Piëch, has been discontinued in the UK. Don’t worry, though, if you’re one of those people who enjoy such understated luxury. Volkswagen is still planning a next-generation version of the car. Here’s what happened overnight. Volkswagen Phaeton axed in the UK (Autocar) The current-generation VW Phaeton has […]

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2011 VW Phaeton

The Volkswagen Phaeton, the pride of former chairman Piëch, has been discontinued in the UK. Don’t worry, though, if you’re one of those people who enjoy such understated luxury. Volkswagen is still planning a next-generation version of the car.

Here’s what happened overnight.

2011 VW PhaetonVolkswagen Phaeton axed in the UK (Autocar)
The current-generation VW Phaeton has been removed from the company’s UK lineup due to engines not meeting Euro 6 emissions.

opensesameThis Hacked Kid’s Toy Opens Garage Doors in Seconds (WIRED)
Using the pictures Mattel IM-ME kid’s texting toy, security researcher Samy Kamkar has developed a way to open garage doors relying on an insecure “fixed code” system.

Chevy-Cruze-SalesChevy has Sold 3.5 Million Cruzes Globally (AutoGuide)
“Globally, the bow-tie brand has sold more than 3.5 million copies of its Cruze compact car, making this nameplate their best-selling automobile in the world.”

lesabreWatching This 1990s Buick LeSabre Get Thrown Around Off-Road Makes Us Wonder If Grandma Regrets Loaning Out Her Car (BlipShift)
Rally LeSabre? Okay.

Maruti-Suzuki-Celerio-diesel-0Suzuki Builds Its First Diesel Engine, A 0.8L 2-Cylinder Rated At 47 HP (CarScoops)
But it does has a whopping 92 (!!!) pound-feet of torque.

Formula 1 Testing, JerezF1 refuelling decision imminent (Motorsport.com)
Teams are discussing the possibility in efforts to liven “the show”.

img_4613Unique vintage Alfa Romeo took $2-million to restore (Driving.ca)
“Timelessly elegant Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Speciale was a complete basketcase, but the story behind it makes the car truly unique.”

B99276667Z.1_20150604082658_000_GQBH60D4.1-0GM China sales drop 4% in May (The Detroit News)
Drop blamed on “vehicle model changeovers and phasing out of older vehicles.”

porsche-911-spy-nov-2014-194_0‘Pure’ Porsche 911 GT planned (Autocar)
New GT model will get a manual transmission and be distinct from other 911’s with GT badging.

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While You Were Sleeping: Cadillac Minuses V8 ATS-V+, Volkswagen Picks Boring Font and Ford Releases Patents into the Wild http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-cadillac-minuses-v8-ats-v-volkswagen-picks-boring-font-and-ford-releases-patents-into-the-wild/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-cadillac-minuses-v8-ats-v-volkswagen-picks-boring-font-and-ford-releases-patents-into-the-wild/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 10:25:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077130 The ATS-V+ rumored by Motor Trend is definitely not happening according to Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell. The proposed new model would encroach too much into CTS-V territory for comfort. Here’s what happened overnight. No V-8-Powered ATS-V Plus In The Pipeline, Says Cadillac (Motor Authority) A big, emphatic “no” was uttered by Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell […]

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Cadillac ATS-V

The ATS-V+ rumored by Motor Trend is definitely not happening according to Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell. The proposed new model would encroach too much into CTS-V territory for comfort.

Here’s what happened overnight.

Cadillac ATS-VNo V-8-Powered ATS-V Plus In The Pipeline, Says Cadillac (Motor Authority)
A big, emphatic “no” was uttered by Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell when speaking to Motor Authority about the possibility of a V8-powered ATS-V+.

Johnnie Walker sponsor wallTodt says F1 will not ban alcohol sponsorship (Motorsport.com)
Despite a report from the European Alcohol Policy Alliance suggesting F1 fans were exposed to alcohol brands to an excessive degree, FIA head honcho Jean Todt has said the sponsorships will continue unabated.

BSK Elise K20An Unquestionably-Japanese Lotus (Speedhunters)
Fluffy leopard upholstery, RAYS’ Volk Racing TE27 wheels, and a Honda K20 to give it motivation, this Elise is as Japanese as it gets.

145640_cars_KJH_10 dealership terms you may not know (Detroit News)
“Be back”, “mini deal”, “pack” and “skate”. These are 10 dealership terms all customers should know.

Ford Focus Electric. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.orgFord to make EV technology patents available to rivals (Automotive News)
Ford is following Tesla’s lead and opening up its portfolio of patents for competing products.

GM First Day as a Public Company CelebrationJudge puts GM suits on hold pending appeal (Detroit News)
The question of bankruptcy immunity will be the deciding factor in a number of ignition switch lawsuits filed against General Motors. A federal judge has put the suits on hold as they await a ruling from another court.

Volkswagen FontVW Changes Their Corporate Font To Something Less Interesting (Jalopnik)
Even Volkswagen’s marketing is becoming more beige as the German automaker adopts a new font for sales materials.

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Piston Slap: The Body Control Module Electric? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-body-control-module-electric/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-body-control-module-electric/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074898 Gary writes: Good Afternoon, Today when I got into my 2002 Saturn SL2, the power door locks started chattering. Each door, over the space of about 45 minutes, had the same thing happen. Sometimes it would be one at a time, other times it would be two or more. I also noticed that the inside […]

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Gary writes:

Good Afternoon,

Today when I got into my 2002 Saturn SL2, the power door locks started chattering. Each door, over the space of about 45 minutes, had the same thing happen. Sometimes it would be one at a time, other times it would be two or more. I also noticed that the inside locks – the “up/down” button, not the little lever you use to manually unlock the car – would not work, only later to work. For now I have removed the lock fuse and that stopped the problem. I wait and plug the fuse back in, and the sporadic chattering once again begins. Sometimes it is completely quiet. Any thoughts?

Thank you!

Sajeev answers:

Whenever a problem like this occurs, I blame something Body Control Module like. When guidance systems break down? When there’s a struggle to exist? To resist?  That’s not a mere switch panel or short in chassis wiring. Oh no, Son, this is some heavy duty FAIL right here.

A body control module that’s scared out of its wits is the only culprit behind such berserk behavior. My apologies to the TTAC mothership (and all Torontonians) for such a shameful riding of RUSH’s coattails.

 

bcm

1-0-0-1-0-0-1… (photo courtesy: saturnfans.com)

If I’m right, the video (below) is helpful. Ditto this Saturn forum link, complete with the body control module’s pinouts for your testing pleasure. A replacement is over $200 at Rockauto, rebuilders on eBay want over $150 for the privilege. So you’d be wise to test the wiring, get a factory shop manual and perhaps learn the proper BCM diagnosis method.

And don’t forget the BCM recall, too!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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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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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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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.

2015 Buick Lacrosse 2015 Buick Lacrosse 2015 Buick Lacrosse 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Trunk 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Interior 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Interior 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Interior 2015 Buick Lacrosse 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Trunk 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Spare Tire 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Engine 2015 Buick Lacrosse - Interior 2015 Buick Lacrosse

 

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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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Editorial: $3.5 Billion And Counting http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/editorial-3-5-billion-counting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/editorial-3-5-billion-counting/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:02:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039937 The final tally is in for the Canadian taxpayer. With the Canadian government unloading the last of its shares in General Motors, the estimated loss is said to be $3.5 billion. For the purposes of this column, the bailout of GM and Chrysler is settled, at least as far as debating whether it should have […]

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GM Oshawa. Photo courtesy unknown.

The final tally is in for the Canadian taxpayer. With the Canadian government unloading the last of its shares in General Motors, the estimated loss is said to be $3.5 billion.

For the purposes of this column, the bailout of GM and Chrysler is settled, at least as far as debating whether it should have been carried out or not. To paraphrase Sean Bean in Ronin, the automakers “got the swag, kept the money, job well done”. American cars have never been better, factories are still humming along, labor costs have come down and may be reduced even further. For the American auto industry, it’s hard to think of a better outcome.

North of the 49th parallel, things are not so rosy. Investment in the auto sector continues to slip away from the Great White North, with Mexico and the United States bleeding away production. While Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota have made investments in their Canadian plants to help retool them for new product, there hasn’t been a new standalone plant built since before the bailout.

On the other hand, the biggest news in Canada’s auto manufacturing sector is the unabated ebbing away of product from GM’s Oshawa plant. Oshawa was once a flagship plant for GM – to this day, they are still known for producing some of GM’s highest quality products. But in recent years, new product that was once built at Oshawa has been awarded to GM plants in the United States, Mexico and even Germany. At the same time, no new products have been awarded to the plant.

While GM claims that it will take them until the end of 2016 to come to a decision on the plant’s fate, a closer analysis reveals a bleaker picture. Two major agreements are set to expire in 2016 – the agreement between Unifor (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union) and GM, as well as the Vitality Commitment signed by GM (which binds GM to producing 16 percent of its output in Canada, as a condition of receiving bailout funds). Once these expire, GM will essentially have no obligations to Canada, save for two smaller plants in Ontario, which build the Theta crossovers and selected powertrains respectively.

Given these circumstances, it would be an opportune time to close Oshawa. The fallout for the town, which is literally dominated by General Motors (the company has its Canadian headquarters and an R&D center located there), would be nothing short of devastating. But in today’s corporate environment, these ties mean absolutely nothing. Canada’s car market is small enough that any anti-GM backlash would mean nothing. If GM can weather the storm following its shutdown of Holden’s Australian plants, it will survive this scenario.

But Australia didn’t help keep GM afloat in a time of acute need. Canada did. Closing Oshawa may be a financially prudent decision when viewed from the RenCen, but it would be an enormous middle finger to Canada. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to imagine any other scenario playing out.

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Bark’s Bites: The Good, The Not-As-Good, and The Ugly: Part Four http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/barks-bites-good-not-good-ugly-part-four/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/barks-bites-good-not-good-ugly-part-four/#comments Sun, 05 Apr 2015 19:56:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1038409 All right, it’s the big close! The one we’ve all been waiting for! Will Bark show his fanboi colors as somebody who owns not one, not two, but THREE Fords? Does GM actually do anything well? Is Chrysler on the road back to respectability? Does anybody really like articles with questions like this? Let’s go! […]

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070

All right, it’s the big close! The one we’ve all been waiting for! Will Bark show his fanboi colors as somebody who owns not one, not two, but THREE Fords? Does GM actually do anything well? Is Chrysler on the road back to respectability? Does anybody really like articles with questions like this? Let’s go!

FCA/CHRYSLER

The Good:

I can go ahead and put JEEP here. Yes, I’m aware of the Compass. I’m even aware of the Patriot.

But the Cherokee has been better than expected, both from a performance perspective and a sales perspective. I’m consistently shocked as I travel the country about just how many of them I see everywhere—they aren’t a regional success, like some cars. They’re everywhere. And the growth is magnificent—the Cherokee continues to climb up the sales charts every single month. It’s come a long way since DK (that’s Derek Kreindler, not Drift King) reviewed it those many moons ago.

To be honest, though, I’d step up to the Grand Cherokee, if it were my money (or my dad’s). It’s the best SUV for the money in today’s marketplace. In fact, you might even be able to take that “for the money” qualifier off of it. We used one to take a crew of four to last year’s New York International Auto Show from Columbus, Ohio to LaGuardia airport. We had to take a Ford Edge back. We were all sad.

And what else can be said or needs to be said about the Wrangler? It’s a goddamned icon. It’s great. We should all be lucky as to have a reason to own one at some point in our lives.

We should all take a moment, as automotive enthusiasts, to recognize that we need to be grateful that the Charger and the 300 still exist. There’s really nothing more American than a full-sized, RWD sedan that can go like hell in a straight line. It straight up befuddles me that Ford and GM just hand over this segment of the business to Chrysler without a fight—if you want a real 300/Charger fighter, you have to go to Hyundai. That just ain’t right, people.

It’s hard to believe that there are now just three vehicles that are sold under the Chrysler brand in America. Luckily, the 200 is no longer an embarrassment to that once-great marque. It outsells the Sonata now, which was probably an unthinkable accomplishment in the last generation of 200s. The rest of the car is now a match for the remarkable Pentastar engine, especially when matched to the 9-speed automatic. My only complaint about the 200 is the dearth of colors that it’s available in. Go build one on the Chrysler site and try to make one that doesn’t look boring as heck. It’s tough.

The Viper goes here. I dare you to tell it that it doesn’t.

Don’t look now, but the RAM lineup is ever-so-quietly sneaking up on the F-150 and Silverado/Sierra twins, and it may have even overtaken them. In fact, if I were buying an entry-level pickup truck today, the RAM 1500 would be my personal choice. There’s a guy in my little Kentucky hamlet who owns a big, yellow “RUMBLE BEE,” and I have jealousy pangs every time that I see it.

The Not-As-Good:

This hurts, but I have to put the Challenger here. Listen, it’s not that I don’t love the Chally, because I totally do. I was moments away from buying one. And I love that FCA has embraced the true nature of the Challenger by building a Hellcat variant of it. But if you stack up the Challenger against its competition—the all-new Mustang and the soon-to-be all new Camaro—it’s genuinely difficult to make a case for buying one. If you have no sporting pretense at all, if you just wanna go fast in a straight line and then have a comfortable cruiser the other 99.9% of your car’s life, then the Challenger is for you. But if you ever have any ideas about taking it to a track that actually has turns in it, then you’d be silly for not buying the Camaro or Mustang. And while the Mustang and Camaro are markedly better on a track than a Chally, the Chally isn’t that much better for daily driving. I drive what is potentially the least comfortable Mustang there is every day, and never once do I think, “Boy, if only I’d bought that leather-seated, softly-sprung Challenger SRT-8 instead.” Does being a very, very good 3rd place out of three mean that you go here, or up there? Oh, boy. I think it means you go here. Sorry, Challenger.

The inventor of the minivan has been surpassed. The Grand Caravan is still a fantastic value, simply because it’s available at under $20K in many parts of the country after rebates and discounts, but neither the GC nor the Town & Country are going to win any comparison tests any time soon. Did you guys know I own a Town & Country, btw? I do. Long story.

The Ugly:

The Journey suuuuuuuuuuucks. It’s so bad. Every time that I have to take one off of rental row, I silently ask God what I did to deserve such a fate. The Pentastar versions are borderline tolerable, but the four-cylinders that are mated to four-speed automatics are miserable places to be. I get why they exist—I mean, special finance has to be available on a crossover somewhere—but, man. The Journey is just light-years behind the competition. Unless you have a beacon score of less than 600, you have much, much better options.

One also has to wonder how Dodge botched the Dart so badly. Terrible engine options and manual-only at launch doomed this car. I’d be curious to know exactly what the market days supply is for the Dart—every CDJR dealership I visit has at least twenty of them on the lot, and nobody’s buying them. Also—why no SRT version? Why not dig up the old SRT-4 Neon engine and throw it in there?

The Fiat 500. I just can’t. A close friend of mine got an Abarth. He sold it six months later and got a Fiesta ST. I think that about wraps up my feelings on that car.

 

FORD

The Good:

It’s hard not to start this list with the Mustang. In order to dislike this generation of Mustang, you really have to want to dislike it. I admit, I was skeptical. But of you who called me out were right—the new Mustang is just better than the old one. Independent Rear Suspension has been a revelation. Ford is providing warranty support for people who want to boost their EcoBoosts through the roof. And the Shelby. Oh, goodness. It’s just pure perfection. I still don’t like the rear end of it, and I’m not 100% convinced that I’ll be trading my Boss for the GT350 when it arrives, but it’s clear that Ford has, dare I say, a game-changer on its hands here. They’re not going to reach their goal of 100K sold this year—they’ll smash it and probably sell 120-140k.

The Fiesta ST/Focus ST. I can’t think of another car that so many people in the automotive journalism field have opened up their wallets to buy new. I don’t think of myself as a journalist in any way, shape, or form, but I certainly think that Zach Bowman and Matt Farah qualify (but does Lieberman’s purchase cancel them out?).  When that many people who write about cars for a living (many of whom have so many testers delivered to them that they have no need to actually buy a car) sink their own money into a car, do you really even need to question its greatness any more? While I certainly think the Fiesta is the better driving of the two, for anybody who actually needs to make his ST into a daily driving machine, the FoST is the better choice.

Is there a better driver in the mid-sized sedan category than the Fusion? I’d say there are equals, but nothing better. Is there a better looking midsizer than the Fusion? No way. Where the Accord, Camry, and Altima blend in, the Fusion is much more likely to make your neighbors think you got a raise, even in SE trim.

The Not-As-Good

When I bought my own Flex in late 2013 (which, by the way, is “Good” but sells like it’s “Ugly”), I also test drove the new Escape. I loved it at the time, but it was just too small for my growing family’s needs. I still would have put it in the “Good” category up until quite recently, however, when I rented an Escape EcoBoost for a drive from Lexington, KY, to Myrtle Beach, SC. OH MY GOD THE FUEL ECONOMY! I think that it would have been cheaper to fly. The EcoBoost 1.6 in the SE is supposed to average 32 MPG—I think I saw around 21. That, combined with the completely non-intuitive version of SYNC that you get on the SE, drops it into the “Not-As-Good” category.

As good as the ST version of the Fiesta is, the regular Fiesta is just…meh. I totally supported Caroline’s decision to get a Sonic over a Fiesta (say, doesn’t she owe us a one-year review of the Sonic?). Virtually none of the fun of the ST makes its way down into the SE. It’s not terrible—although the transmission problems are a bit scary—but I wouldn’t pick it over the competition.

The Explorer is just okay. I would never, ever buy one over a Grand Cherokee, and it’s just about even with the Highlander for me. It’s funny—it’s essentially the same car as the Flex, just lifted up a bit. For some reason, that changes everything. I don’t know why (other than the storage is compromised), but it does.

Here’s the biggest secret in the car business today—Ford dealers are scared to death about the F-150. They’ll whisper to you that Ford made a huge mistake by going aluminum. They’ll privately tell you that the Silverado might be a better value. They worry that the Colorado is eating into their sales. Truth be told, at the end of the year, the F-150 will still come out on top, but I can definitely tell you that Ford dealers aren’t nearly as confident in their halo car as they used to be.

The Ugly:

Will somebody put the Ford Taurus out of its misery? There is literally no reason for anybody to buy this car, or its stablemate, the MKS. The Impala, the Avalon, hell, even the Azera are better—and that’s only if you’re considering FWD! The Charger/300 and Genesis shame the Taurus, too. A rare miss from the Mulally era, the Taurus needs to be replaced immediately. Hmmm, if only somebody had suggested this a year ago.

The Edge needs to die or be replaced. It’s become redundant in its own lineup, and it’s noticeably older than any of its competitors.

I think LINCOLN is going in the right direction. Really, I do. The MKC is a good entry into a crowded marketplace (although, again, that fuel mileage). The rest of the lineup needs help. They need the Continental in the worst way—not because I think it will help sell one more MKZ, because I’m not sure that it will. But if it’s everything that it appears to be, it will be the first step in restoring some “premium” to the brand. Right now, there is literally not a single reason to buy a Lincoln over the Titanium version of the Ford that’s sitting across the showroom from it. Make the Continental. Make a bad-ass, four-door Mustang saloon for around $45k. Then we’ll talk.

 

GENERAL MOTORS

The Good:

Any “Good” list at GM has to start with the Corvette. It’s the best sports car, per dollar, in the universe. The biggest barrier to my purchase of a Shelby GT350 isn’t the cost of the SuperStang—it’s the fact that I have to drive past a GM dealer every day. The dealer where I bought my G8 and my Equinox has been purchased by a friend of mine, and he constantly tortures me with GM employee pricing on a Stingray. I’ve already gotten past the stigma of being a “RUSTANG” owner—I think I could overcome the gold chains and chesthair vibe of the Vette, too. It’s just gorgeous—I’ve yet to see a color that doesn’t look great on it. The fact that I live within a three-hour drive of the National Corvette Museum and its 4200′ straightaway doesn’t help my primal urge to buy one, either. We’ll see.

I predicted earlier in the year that the Colorado/Canyon twins would be a sales failure. Turns out that I’m an idiot. Do they sell as well as the Silverado/Sierra? No, of course not. But GM dealers are literally selling every single one that they can get. Here’s a fun game—go to www.gmc.com and search for Canyons in your area. Now, in theory, they are supposed to start at around $21K. IF you can find one with 50 miles of you, which is a big if unless you live in a big metro area, see, if you can find one for less than $30k. There are 5 within 100 miles of me, and the cheapest one is $31k. Every GMC dealer I talk to says that they haven’t even gotten one on the lot that stickers for under $30k, and most of the special orders are for trucks nearer to $40k. Same thing from the Chevy dealers that I talk to with the Colorado—I was able to find one for $23K, but all of the other examples within 100 miles were at least $34K. I know! I don’t get it either! I drove a GMC Canyon and found it to be just okay, but I’m admittedly not a big pickup guy. The market says they’re good, so I’m gonna take the market’s word for it.

My biggest personal surprise as I have written this series? The fact that I’m going to put BUICK here. Seriously. I kinda dig everything they’ve got going on right now. I’m not sure that I’d actually buy any of them, personally, but I love the fact that the Encore and the Regal exist in this marketplace. And of the full-sized FWD land barges out there, the Lacrosse AWD would be my pick (if I were tied-up, had a gun stuck to my head, and forced to choose one). Did you know that Buick, as a brand, outsells Audi, Acura, and Infiniti? It’s true.

The Sonic definitely goes here. Surprised? I would be too, except that I’ve personally put a few hundred miles on an LTZ hatch, and found it to be very, very good. I think that this might be an example of a car that becomes an exponentially greater value as a late-model, CPO car as opposed to new, more so than your average vehicle. When I see the sticker prices on new Sonics at dealerships, my eyes tend to roll back in my head a bit.

I like the Impala. It’s a shame that such a high percentage of them are sold in rental fleets, because I think that GM has somewhat diminished the Impala by making it seem like a “rental special.” A close friend and colleague has a V6 LT, and it’s a great car. If somebody wants a reliable, powerful car that seats four adults comfortably, and couldn’t care less about driving dynamics…why not pick the Impala?

I am going to reserve judgment on the new Camaro until I see it in the flesh. I would have put the old SS and V6 in the “Not-As-Good” category, and the 1LE and Z/28 in the “Good.”

The Not-As-Good:

The Spark isn’t bad for what it is—I’ve had one or two as rentals, and while they are painfully slow, they aren’t as small inside as you’d think. The interiors are actually quite good, with comfortable seats and gauges that will seem familiar to Millennial types. I think the new one is going to be a marked improvement over the existing model, too.

I struggle with where to put the Cruze. I think I’d pick several of its competitors ahead of it, but would I? Civic? Probably not. Corolla? Definitely not. Elantra? No. Senta? Nope. Focus? Probably. So doesn’t that mean I think it’s the second best car in the segment? So why am I so blah about it? A friend and colleague has been driving his about 50K a year for the past three years with virtually no issues and great fuel economy. I don’t know. I can’t get excited at all about the Cruze, mostly because I every time that I drive one, the seats freaking kill my back. So it goes here.

I think that time has caught up a bit with the Equinox and Terrain. When I bought mine in 2011, I felt it was clearly the best choice in the segment. In 2015, I don’t think I can say the same.  Observed fuel economy has never been what GM claimed it would be. The dash and the infotainment feel old in 2015. I’d definitely pick the CR-V and CX-5 over the Equinox/Terrain now, and probably the Escape, too. That being said, it is absolutely the number one choice of traveling salespeople everywhere.

I really wish that GM would figure out what the heck they’re doing with the SS. They fixed the two issues with it—the lack of a manual transmission and the suspension—and then continued to put zero advertising push behind it. If I were just evaluating the SS based on the car itself, it would go in the “Good” category, no questions asked. I mean, Road and Track dared to compare it to what many consider the greatest sports sedan of all fucking time and it held its own. But I can’t reward GM for this half-baked strategy.

The Ugly:

The Traverse/Enclave/Acadia. Ugh. Gross. Overpriced, unreliable, ugly, old. GM needs to do better in this segment.

The old Malibu would definitely have gone here. It’s mindblowing that GM can’t be competitive in the mid-sized FWD sedan playing field. I guess we’ll all see what the new version has in store for us, but I don’t have high expectations.

I’m sorry, Johan, but I gotta put CADILLAC here. I was in a GM store in Indiana last week that had a genuine, no bullshit price of $24,995 on the windshield of an ATS, against a sticker of $35k. I mean, seriously. Is this what the brand has become? Only Volkswagen is shrinking its market share at a faster rate (which seems impossible, what with the miraculous Golf flying out of showrooms nationwide). If you took the Escalade out of the numbers, Caddy would be down twenty freaking percent year over year in a new car market that is actually up over five percent. You’ve GOT to fix your supposed volume sellers, the ATS and CTS, or whatever the hell you’re gonna call them in your numeric naming strategy that was so successful over at your previous employer. Yes, the ATS-V and CTS-V look pretty impressive, but we all know those things aren’t gonna sell in volume that will actually impact your bottom line in any meaningful way.

———————————————————————————————————————————————

So, there you have it. Eleven thousand words or so from one man’s perspective on every major car manufacturer. You don’t have to agree with me—hell, I’m not sure that I agree with me—but I hope that it helped us all realize a few things:

  1. Every car maker has promise
  2. Every car maker can screw things up royally
  3. Most of the world lies somewhere between “rocks” and “sucks

I would never count out a car maker. Every single OEM we discussed has cars I’d love to have in my own driveway, and cars that I would never dream of buying. Three years ago today, I had never owned a Ford. Today, I own three. I’ve owned (in order) cars from Volkswagen, Infiniti, Porsche, Hyundai, Mazda, Scion, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, and Subaru.

As long as you continue to vote with your dollars, you can shape the automotive world to be whatever you want it to be. If you want sportier cars, buy them. If you want V8s, buy them. If you want manual transmissions, buy them. Somewhere, some automaker wants your business.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GM Retaining Current Malibu, Cruze As Fleet Specials, Diesel Dead For 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-retaining-current-malibu-cruze-fleet-specials-diesel-dead-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-retaining-current-malibu-cruze-fleet-specials-diesel-dead-2016/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:54:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025193 Although all-new versions of the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu are set to debut by the end of the year, GM will retain the current versions as fleet-only vehicles, dubbed the “Cruze Limited” and “Malibu Limited”. While the Malibu Limited will be available in LS, LT and LTZ trims, the lone powertrain will be the 2.5L […]

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2014-Chevy-Cruze-Diesel-46-mpg. Photo courtesy AutoGuide.com

Although all-new versions of the Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu are set to debut by the end of the year, GM will retain the current versions as fleet-only vehicles, dubbed the “Cruze Limited” and “Malibu Limited”.

While the Malibu Limited will be available in LS, LT and LTZ trims, the lone powertrain will be the 2.5L I4. The Cruze will drop the diesel variant, but retain the “Eco” version, as well as the manual transmission option.

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GM Withdrawing Chevrolet And Opel From Russia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-withdrawing-chevrolet-opel-russia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-withdrawing-chevrolet-opel-russia/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:53:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024569 GM is set to significantly reduce operations in Russia, as the once promising auto market suffers under the weight of economic uncertainty and a difficult regulatory regime. According to the Wall Street Journal Global auto makers have long placed a bet on Russia as a top emerging market, but car companies are saddled with high production […]

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GM is set to significantly reduce operations in Russia, as the once promising auto market suffers under the weight of economic uncertainty and a difficult regulatory regime.

According to the Wall Street Journal

Global auto makers have long placed a bet on Russia as a top emerging market, but car companies are saddled with high production commitments under a regulatory scheme implemented earlier in the decade. Faced with a litany of demands on its capital and little indication Russia will turn around, GM executives decided the company’s money is better spent elsewhere.

As part of the plan, Opel will be withdrawn from the Russian market, while Chevrolet’s offerings will be drastically reduced. Chevrolet and Cadillac products exported from America, like the Corvette and Escalade, will continue to be offered. While production of the Chevrolet Niva will continue with JV partner AvtoVaz, GM’s plant in St.Petersburg will be idled idefinitely, putting 1,000 people out of work. GM will take a $600 million charge related to the events in Russia.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport-sedan/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020529 Since we had a 1989 General Motors Junkyard Find yesterday, let’s look at another 1989 GM car today. The Chevrolet Celebrity, sold for the 1982 through 1990 model years, was one of those cars that disappeared from our memories without much of a trace. The Celebrity wasn’t as spectacularly bad as the Chevy Citation and […]

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16 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we had a 1989 General Motors Junkyard Find yesterday, let’s look at another 1989 GM car today. The Chevrolet Celebrity, sold for the 1982 through 1990 model years, was one of those cars that disappeared from our memories without much of a trace. The Celebrity wasn’t as spectacularly bad as the Chevy Citation and its corporate siblings, but nobody loved it (except for these guys) and most examples were fed into the cold steel jaws of The Crusher before the 1990s were over. Here’s an example from the sedan’s final year of production.
01 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eurosport package got you black window trim and an allegedly stiffer suspension. My parents— loyal buy-American Midwesterners who wanted to stick with Detroit cars— bought an ’85 Celebrity Eurosport new, and that car was the last Detroit machine they’d ever purchase. Coming on the heels of a particularly miserable Ford Granada, the unreliable, unpleasant-to-drive Celebrity forced them into the waiting arms of Honda and Toyota, where they have remained ever since. Repeat this process with a tens of millions of Americans like my parents during the 1970s and 1980s and it’s easy to see how GM’s image ended up in such a deep sinkhole for so long.
09 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 mph speedometers were no longer required in 1989, but some cars kept them.


For people who have grown up… without growing old.


Successful businessman “J.B.” knows that the ’89 Celebrity is actually a display of wealth, power, and good taste.

01 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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